Monday, April 05, 2004

TODAY'S TOP FIVE: Big Trouble in Little Fallujah.

Yikes Over the weekend, eight American soldiers were killed in fighting with Shiite militias in Baghdad. This is a huge deal: although the militia, the Al-Mahdi Army, is an extreme fringe group, this marks the first time that Shiites have been drawn into major armed conflict with the US. The Shiites, who make up 65 percent of the population, have so far been non-violent: If this is an indication that their stance is changing, it means huge problems for the Americans. Also, as I type this, Marines and Iraqi police are sealing off the restive city of Fallujah for what looks like a major assault.

Stop Him Before He Kills Again Ariel Sharon, Israel's 100 year-old, 500-pound mafioso of a leader, is now backing away from a promise he made to George Bush not to harm Yasser Arafat. Although I'm no Arafat fan, it's hard to see how killing him would help the peace process in Israel. Perhaps, as Israel's puppetmaster, it's time for George Bush to cut Howdy Doody's strings.

Taking Responsibility for Fuck-ups: It's the Taiwanese Way Taiwan's Interior Minister and head police official are resigning because of the assassination attempt on the current president and vice president during a campaign last month. That's right: They fucked up, and so they're quitting their jobs. That's what's known as the "right thing": It may not be familiar to Americans, who live in a country where the people in charge of intelligence and security on September 10, 2001 are still the people in charge of intelligence and security today.

Worst. Paramilitaries. Ever. The news from Iraq is coming fast and furious: This morning, US troops and the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps, an American-trained paramilitary group, entered Shiite districts in Baghdad hunting for members of the Al-Mahdi Army. When the Shiite militia began firing on the incursion, the members of the ICDC turned on the Americans and began shooting at them. I think we have to reconsider our "hearts and minds" strategy if even our paid mercenaries are turning on us.

Insult to Injury On that TV commercial they have for the National Guard where the soldiers are illustrated video game people, one of the big benefits they suggest is that Guard service gets you a college education: one of the video game people is shown with a cap and gown. Guess what, though? The federal program that is supposed to pay for college for Guard soldiers is broke. That's right: Go to Iraq for two years, get shot at, come home, get the gas face from the federal government. You're better off with mountainous student loan debt.

-Consider Arms