Thursday, March 18, 2004

TODAY'S TOP FIVE: Can You Think of a World Leader Who Doesn't Want to See Bush Lose the Election?

High Noon at Hanukkah Fresh on the heels of what may become the highest-grossing film of all time, Mel Gibson is planning to make a movie about another Biblical story: Chanukah (it's in the Book of Maccabees, my Protestant brothers). Perhaps alarmingly, Gibson says the story of Jewish resistance to the apostate Hellenist emperor Antiochus is "like a Western," but I have to admit: I would love to see a Chanukah movie. Also note Gibson's Bush-bashing comments: I don't think his right wing admirers are going to be so happy about that.

The Internet: Continuing to Justify its Existence With Stuff Like This From Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman, here's something you will soon be unable to live without: a searchable database of key Bush administration figures' misleading statements and lies about the Iraq war. Want to see what Don Rumsfeld said about Saddam's nuclear program on May 29, 2003? ("We believed then, and we believe now, that the Iraqis . . . had a program to develop nuclear weapons, but did not have nuclear weapons. That is what the United Kingdom's intelligence suggested as well. We still believe that.") It's on there! Trying to remember whether Condi Rice ever said that an Al Qaeda "poisons network" operating in Baghdad was "spreading poison" in Europe and Russia? (She did, on Feb. 16 last year) It's on there! Go to town, kids.

The Terrorists Have Already Won. Wait, No They Haven't A grotesque spectacle presents itself for your delectation: Christopher Hitchens, who began his public life as a slim, witty Trotskyite, looks up from his six martini lunch long enough to bewail the election of a Socialist government in Spain. Why? The script currently being read by Right wingers all over America - that Zapatero's victory on Sunday was an example of the Spanish people "giving in to terror." This article pretty convincingly refutes that. The election, which was always close, was won by the Socialists not because Spaniards are afraid of terrorism (lest we forget, Spain has more experience with terrorists than we do: The Basque ETA does plant bombs, even if they didn't plant these bombs), but because they were mad the Spanish government lied to them.

Kay: Iraq Wasn't Worth It In my dedication to you, the MLWL faithful, I even do things like read the Arms Control Today web site. These oft-dull back alleys occasionally produce the odd pearl, though, like this story in which David Kay says bluntly of the Iraq war, "It wasn't worth it." Kay, who (remember?) was once touted by the Right wing as the answer to their WMD prayers, now says: "Most intelligence reports from around the world said that the Iraqi chemical and biological programs had already been restarted and that they had weapons. Turns out, I think, those reports were wrong, and now we know they were wrong because inspections were more of a hindrance, and [the Iraqis] feared them more in the mid-90s than we anticipated."

Was What Worth It? Some perspective, from today's BBC: "A car bomb has exploded in Basra as violence in Iraq shows no sign of letting up a day after a big car bomb destroyed a Baghdad hotel. The explosion, which happened as a UK military patrol was passing, killed four civilians but it is not clear if one was the bomber. Mortar attacks, one near the Syrian border and another at a base north of Baghdad, killed three US troops. The US Army now says seven people died in Wednesday's Baghdad hotel blast. On Thursday, three people also died in an attack on staff at a US-funded TV station in Baquba, north of Baghdad."

-Consider Arms