Archive for October 22nd, 2007

Belter of a Quote

“We’ll renew the base on one condition: that they let us put a base in Miami — an Ecuadorean base,” Correa said in an interview during a trip to Italy.“If there’s no problem having foreign soldiers on a country’s soil, surely they’ll let us have an Ecuadorean base in the United States.”

Washington seldom makes passes at subaltern smartasses, Señor Correa.

A Slip of a Man

Slugger has a story about people being stopped from wearing pyjamas outside their homes. I stopped wearing pyjamas when I was 7, and I don’t intend to start again, unless I get hospitalized.

It seems to me that there are people who hate their jobs and wish they could be lazing about at home, and they don’t like getting reminded of that fact be people who see no need to wear work clothes. And then you have employers who don’t like their workers to be reminded of the fact that doing nothing has its conveniences.

Many’s a time I crashed out on a floor snattered, then woke up the next morning fully clothed and headed out to the shop for a bottle of lucozade. No-one ever passed any remarks about that, even though that may be considerably worse -in terms of hygiene and that- than going down the street in your PJs.

If they’re going to ban pyjama wearers from the streets, maybe they should also install cameras in people’s houses to check that they’ve changed their underwear.

Leave the Wee Willie Winkies alone.

On Balance

Tyranny in Iraq was worth defeating

– Dick Cheney.

You bet your big bare ass it was, Dick. Indeed, if this Jim Holt character in the London Review of Books is to believed, it would appear that, on balance, the programme to liberate Iraqis has gone according to plan.

The occupation may seem horribly botched on the face of it, but the Bush administration’s cavalier attitude towards ‘nation-building’ has all but ensured that Iraq will end up as an American protectorate for the next few decades – a necessary condition for the extraction of its oil wealth. If the US had managed to create a strong, democratic government in an Iraq effectively secured by its own army and police force, and had then departed, what would have stopped that government from taking control of its own oil, like every other regime in the Middle East? On the assumption that the Bush-Cheney strategy is oil-centred, the tactics – dissolving the army, de-Baathification, a final ‘surge’ that has hastened internal migration – could scarcely have been more effective. The costs – a few billion dollars a month plus a few dozen American fatalities (a figure which will probably diminish, and which is in any case comparable to the number of US motorcyclists killed because of repealed helmet laws) – are negligible compared to $30 trillion in oil wealth, assured American geopolitical supremacy and cheap gas for voters. In terms of realpolitik, the invasion of Iraq is not a fiasco; it is a resounding success.

Hosannah! For a minute there, I was worried that Dick Cheney’s fevered and unceasing dream of freedom and opportunity for all was all going horribly pear-shaped. Fortunately, our emperors in their infinite wisdom had already figured that a million or so deaths was a price worth paying on the Iraqis’ part for our access to their oil. Actually, they probably didn’t factor the Iraqi deaths into their cost-benefit analysis. They were so concerned with delivering democracy that they probably forgot.

But anyway, which side of the culture war are you on: are you a cargo-pant and t-shirt wearing warrior for democracy, or a mullah-worshipping cringer for Islamo-fascism?

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October 2007