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November 30, 2003

Coming home to roost...

This is interesting:   a Saudi columnist writing in response to the murder of a well-known Saudi poet and member of the ruling family.

"...A few days back Prince Talal Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Rasheed of Hail was murdered in Algeria while on a camping trip. He was 40 years old and his son, Nawaf, 13 years old, was with him. At the time of this writing, we only know that the father was killed, while the son's condition is to be verified.

"It is easy to get on one's soap box and pontificate; to tell humanity that we suffer from terrorism too. That is too easy though; and perhaps too intellectually cowardly. Talal was a well-known poet in Saudi Arabia. He comes from a family that ruled Arabia long enough to be recorded in history. He was and will always be a beacon of Art, whatever that word means.

"Those who killed him are those who want the word silenced. The young man left it open whether he was with this or that, but he was adamant to tell all and sundry that to be is to talk and exchange. I grieve, I must admit, and am beyond reason because of the trauma of it all, but I do maintain a semblance of reason to see where all of this is leading.

"We have bred monsters. We alone are responsible for it. I have written as much before my personal tragedy and will continue to do so for as long as it takes. We are the problem and not America or the penguins of the North Pole or those who live in caves in Afghanistan. We are it, and those who cannot see this are the ones to blame.

Here is an BBC report on the murders as well as an Arab News report.   Evidently, Islamist rebels are suspected in the ambush and murder of the hunting party.

November 30, 2003 at 10:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Toast of the town?

Sputtering would be a charitable characterization of General Wesley Clark's campaign.   Here is how the would-be leader of the free world is spending his time:

After a 90-minute policy discussion with Madonna in her Los Angeles home recently, a friend of the star was authorised to disclose that "Madonna was very impressed with Gen Clark's intelligence and his vision for America". Another associate added: "Don't under-estimate this. Madonna is often ahead of the curve."
This strategic dialogue followed the General's appearance on-stage with 1970s pop group The Eagles at a concert to benefit his campaign.
Dressed in black, the general told the audience that Hotel California had been his favourite song since the days of his military service in the state. The Eagles obligingly placed it first on their playlist. According to a campaign aide, "Gen Clark and his wife, Gert, stood by the stage, holding hands and singing along."

The concert, hosted by the original founder of the Hard Rock Cafe, Peter Morton, attracted sympathetic film stars such as Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck, and raised $500,000 for the campaign. Ms Lopez spent a quarter of an hour with the candidate and reportedly emerged a confirmed Clark fan.

Mr Morton, who has also thrown a dinner party for Gen Clark with Aaron Sorkin, the creator of the hit television series, West Wing, said: "I haven't been this moved by a politician since I had lunch with Bill Clinton prior to his becoming President. Clark is the Democrat's best chance."

After the concert, Gen Clark and his wife went directly to Madonna's mansion, where the discussion ranged from Iraq to President Bush's recent tax cuts.

Too bad Jackson Browne wasn't available.   He could have sung his hit "Running on Empty".

November 30, 2003 at 09:25 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A peek at what the Israelis are up against...

Little Green Footballs has a sobering look at pictures of Palestinian children posing with guns, suicide bomb belts, training to attack Israeli settlements, etc.   Even more appalling is the fact that most of the pictures come from Palestinian propaganda and Islamist extremist (is there any other kind?) websites.

Viewing them definitely calls to mind this famous quote from the late Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir.   (Click on the link to go see the Dissident Frogman's banner featuring that quote.)

November 30, 2003 at 12:48 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hillary not making much of an impression in Baghdad...

Yet another US blogger writing from Baghdad has a first hand account of Hillary's "lunch with the troops" on Friday.   Evidently, they let her eat her lunch in peace.   (Via Instapundit.)

November 30, 2003 at 12:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 28, 2003

Chasing turkeys in Iraq

Now this is something you don't hear about every day.   (And from a new military blogger in Iraq, no less.)   (Hat tip to Silent Running.)

November 28, 2003 at 09:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Has the Onion been planting stories in the NYT again?

I thought this was quite amusing:

Six unions representing some of the Foreign Ministry's 9,500 foreign service, civil service and professional staff members are asking the diplomats — from ambassadors on down all around the world — to protest cost-cutting measures by stopping work on Monday. It would be the first time all the ministry's employees walked out at once. How long such a walkout would last has not been made clear.
Apparently, working conditions are Dickensian (or the appropriate Francophone equivalent):
Belt-tightening at the Quai d'Orsay has meant the elimination of jobs, cultural programs and allowances, as well as restrictions on foreign travel and the stingiest of bonuses. Things got so bad at the Foreign Ministry recently that in many offices there was no paper for copying machines and computer printers for three days. Some employees were asked to donate their own paper. And some of the elevators are not working in the elegant 19th-century palace that houses the ministry.
I sense an important human rights struggle here.   Is there any way ordinary Americans can help support the French diplomats in their strike?   Personally, I think the brave men and women of the Quai d'Orsay should stand firm in their demands and refuse to do any work until their demands are met.   (A process that will, hopefully, last several years.)

November 28, 2003 at 08:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 27, 2003

No war for oil...

An interesting photo montage of Saddam's legacy, and the human cost thereof.   (Via Healing Iraq.)

November 27, 2003 at 12:05 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 26, 2003

Chloropeth maps?

This is cool: maps shaded to highlight the geographic distribution of donations for different candidates (or parties).   (Via the Guardian.)

November 26, 2003 at 04:53 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

A time of thanksgiving...

From Karl Zinsmeister, journalist, editor and author of Boots on the Ground: A Month With the 82nd Airborne in the Battle for Iraq, in today's Opinion Journal:

It's easy for critics on both the left and right to convince themselves that the U.S. is a decadent society, that our young people have gone soft, that we will never have another generation like the men who climbed the cliffs at Normandy. That judgment, I'm here to report, is utterly wrong. We've got soldiers in uniform today whom Americans can trust with any responsibility, any difficulty, any mortal challenge.
Go read the whole thing.

November 26, 2003 at 03:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Australia: Love it or leave it!

Who was it who said this:

"Australia is our compassionate mother, and I say to every person living in Australia, from the person in the highest office down to the ordinary man in the street: love this country or leave it, shape up or ship out."

A) The leader of a right wing group addressing an anti-immigration rally?

B) A Nationals party MP?

C) Australia's top muslim cleric during a sermon to mark the end of Ramadan?

If you answered C, you'd be right, at least according to this article on Al Jazeera.

November 26, 2003 at 10:07 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack