Friday, July 25, 2003

Uday in the Park

Strange but there are some people who are actually upset that Uday and Qusay are dead.

Check out this letter to the editor of the San Francisco Chronicle:


Editor -- I assume the Hussein brothers were as evil as they are painted in today's San Francisco Chronicle. Yet the heartless gloating over the deaths of these men, accused and killed without due process and trial, is unworthy of your editorial policy.

They apparently were killed in retaliation for defending themselves from our armed American soldiers surrounding them.

Justice does not come with a victorious shootout. This is one more instance of teaching our children that violence is the best way to bring justice.

San Francisco

Huh? Due process? Defending themselves? Even if you correct for the writer being from San Francisco, this is some fuzzy logic alright.

My only disappointment with the demise of the Hussein brothers was that it wasn't televised live with a special Uday-cam®.

Actually this was one of the best lessons in justice a frightened Iraqi kid could ever learn.

And yes, Bob , there are times when violence is the best justice delivery method. It worked against slavery, Nazism, Communism, and seems particularly effective against fascism.

As entertaining as a trial against Uday and Qusay would have been, American-style litigation would only have tarnished our reputation.

If there were ever a time to gloat this would be it.

Unless, of course, you don't want the liberation of Iraq to succeed.

My greatest concern now is that they be given a proper funeral. Perhaps a shallow unmarked grave in a park someplace.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Uday Without Sunshine

Rumor has it that the rascally fun-loving Hussein boys were visited by grief counselors from the 101st Airborne Division this afternoon.

Saddam's beloved cut-ups were playing ping-pong in the basement rec room of a garish mansion in an upscale neighborhood of Mosul when misguided, demoralized and lied-to American soldiers shot them both dead in a gun related incident.

Authorities are no doubt looking into charges that the death of the Uday and Qusay Hussein has be exaggerated, or "sexed up" according to the BBC.

Today's violence is sure to further tarnish President Bush's reputation for veracity and puts beseiged Prime Minister Tony Blair in the uncomfortable position of confirming the ongoing success of the unilateral invasion of Iraq by a coalition of American, British, Polish, Australian, Dutch, Italian forces.
Funny How Some Stereotypes Endure

"The men who have migrated to the United States have not been rich people. They went there to make a living. They were prepared to work, their purpose was to improve their condition, and they were willing to undertake any manual or mental labor to accomplish their object.

They were hardy and strong and could bear a heavy strain. Their children inherited their good qualities, and so an American is generally more hard working and enterprising than most of the people in Europe and elsewhere."

America Observed Through the Spectacles of a Chinese Diplomat, Wu TinFang, 1914

Saturday, July 12, 2003

Hurray for Larry Summers

Will Ferrell delivered the Class Day Address as part of Harvard's Commencement in June.

Just found a transcript via Catchdubs. Not only Ferrell a talented actor, he's also a pretty funny speaker.

I'm not one of you. Okay?

I can't relate to who you are and what you've been through. I graduated from the University of Life. All right?

I received a degree from the School of Hard Knocks. And our colors were black and blue, baby. I had office hours with the Dean of Bloody Noses. All right?

I borrowed my class notes from Professor Knuckle Sandwich and his Teaching Assistant, Ms. Fat Lip Thon Nyun.

That's the kind of school I went to for real, okay?

It gets better.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

European Slap Fight

Worldwide outrage against the insulting remarks made by an Italian official against the Germans continues to spread . . . not.

Actually, the sound you hear is of the world silently jabbing elbows at each other and barely suppressing a snicker. “Germany,” said Italian tourism minister Stefano Stefani, is a "country intoxicated with arrogant certainties."

"We know the Germans well -- these stereotyped hyper-nationalistic blondes, who have been indoctrinated... to feel top of the class whatever the situation. They noisily invade our beaches."

If anything, global reaction to such harsh words has been a mumbled, “hear, hear.”

The fact is, you can’t go too wrong accusing Germans of excessive arrogance and blondness. But it helps if your ethnic stereotype is the complete opposite. The Italians, after all, are a friendly and swarthy people.

Some might be tempted to say, “what’s up with those Euros all of a sudden? They’re acting like . . . Europeans!” All that nationalism was supposed to be passé . . . so 20th century. (and 19th, 18th, 17th, 16th, 15th, and so on).

The Euros, after all, are in the final stages of creating a United States of Europe . . . now is not the time to air ancient grievances.

But there is the rub.

Europe will never be single united nation . . . there is simply too much history.

Indeed, the Europeans who found the burden of history too much to bear left the Old World long ago and came to the New World where nationhood is defined by shared aspirations, not shared bloodlines.

Anyone can come to the United States, for example, and be as American as the Kennedys – a notable immigrant family – within a generation if they truly believe in the ideals. How many generations would it take someone to become French, or Swiss, or Belgian?

A more obvious question would be, why would anyone want to become Belgian? In fact, even Belgians can’t be Belgians . . . only Flems or Walloons.

Now imagine a “nation” populated by provincials fiercely proud to be called “Walloons” or “Apenzells” or “Twerps.” You can’t move from one town in Europe to another without being viewed with the utmost suspicion . . . yet to the rest of the world they are all basically pasty faced slackers.

Now compare that to a real “universalist” nation. Just moved here from Indiana? Great, welcome to Florida. I’ll show you where to get the best alligator McNuggets.

There’s enough physical and philosophical room in the United States to absorb millions of refugees from the stagnant societies of Latin America without most people even taking notice. And rather than run these “forners” out of town, we open a chain of Taco Bells where we can all share bastardized versions of our most cherished foods.

In Europe, meanwhile, they’re still throwing eggs at McDonald’s outlets.

The Euros are undergoing “The Great Change.” By finally articulating their long-concealed envy of the United States, the Europeans are now forced to confront the barriers that keep them from enjoying the same success and vitality as America . . . their comforting prejudices, their stifling conformity, their sloth.

It’s not a good time to be a “European.” But as always, it’s a great time to be Italian.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Peaceful Non-Existence Watch

According to former Egyptian ambassador to the United States, Abdel Raouf el-Reedy, Hamas is the crucial player in the shaky Mideast “ceasefire.”

It's now a tripartite agreement — Israel, of course, the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian groups, Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Hamas is the key to this whole agreement."

So what kind of organization is Hamas anyway?

Hamas does not seek a sovereign Palestinian state living in peace with Israel. In fact, such an outcome would completely contradict Hamas’ reason for being.

Hamas considers all of Israel to be occupied territory. The only acceptable outcome of any “peace process” is Israel’s destruction through violence.

But don’t take my word for it. Read for yourself. Yale University has helpfully posted a translation of the Hamas Covenant on this website.

Article Six

“The Islamic Resistance Movement is a distinguished Palestinian movement, whose allegiance is to Allah, and whose way of life is Islam. It strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine . . .”

Note that Yassir Arafat’s PLO is a secular terrorist movement while Hamas is an intolerant fanatically religious terrorist movement. Subtle difference, I know.

Article Eleven

“The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until judgment Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up.”

No mention of Gaza or the West Bank. Nope, these guys want the whole thing. Moreover, I strongly suspect “Waqf” is not the Arabic word for “theme park.”

Article Thirteen

“Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement . . . There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.”

So, all roadmaps to peace are pointless because violence is the point.

Even if Israel were to cease to exist and all its citizens voluntarily drink cyanide laced Kool Aid® this would still not be enough. The only acceptable solution is the one that climaxes in a SamPeckinpah-esque orgy of violence.

Even if you assume that this is just a tough opening position, it’s pretty extreme even by the standards of French labor unionnegotiators.

Article Fifteen

“The day that enemies usurp part of Moslem land, Jihad becomes the individual duty of every Moslem. In face of the Jews' usurpation of Palestine, it is compulsory that the banner of Jihad be raised.”

So these are the guys who hold the key to peace in the Middle East? Well, that’s not very reassuring.

My guess is that one of these hot heads will take issue with the ceasefire and give Israel a good excuse for obliterating Hamas once and for all.