Tuesday, May 18, 2004


Just Wait 'Til We Get YOU in a Naked Cheeramid, Sistani! Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric, Ayatollah Al-Sistani, is demanding that U.S. troops leave the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala, where militiamen loyal to radical, pudgy cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr have been installed since an uprising in April. This could be a sign that we're forcing the formerly moderate Shi'ites to the side of extremists like Sadr. Or, as White House spokesman Scott McClellan would put it, "Everything is awesome! We need a tax cut!"

The Decline and Fall of Western Civilization, Part 3537 Remember the old movie "Network," where a savvy executive uses a charismatic but nutty anchorman to turn a staid, respectable television network into a vapid, infotainment-based parody of its former self? Remember the shows devoted to crystal ball-reading swamis and real-life SLA-style terrorists? Well, as it turns out, the real problem with Paddy Chayefsky's masterpiece is that it vastly overestimated the quality of television. Just ask ABC, which plans to launch a new reality show called "Wife Swap" this fall. Again, further demonstration that satire can no longer lay a glove on real life.

New Search Terms: "Those Assholes" AND "Who Run the Website" Fans of free speech may note that Google is now blocking ads for a deck of playing cards critical of George Bush while allowing ads for playing cards critical of John Kerry (note: by 2008, the dominant form of human interaction and America will be the manufacture and exchange of themed playing cards), despite claiming that "Google policy does not permit the advertisement of websites that contain language that advocates against an individual, group, or organization." Unless, apparently, that indvidiual, group, or organization is Democratic.

This Sad Burlesque It's time, once again, to play the American media's favorite Iraq game: "WE FOUND WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION!!!/(no we didn't)." In play this time is a single artillery shell dating from the Hussein era (which is a dumb designation, because basically everything in the country dates from the "Hussein era," which only ended last year) that contained sarin gas. Conservatives are trumpeting this single artillery shell as proof that all the administration's elaborate claims about WMD were correct. Once again, we are here to pour cold water on this ridiculous fable: (1) No one knows where the Sarin came from, and there's speculation it could have been smuggled in from another country or manufactured in Iraq since the fall of Saddam (2) In any event, this artillery shell was likely tagged and marked for destruction by the UN inspection team that was in Iraq before the war (3) I don't recall any speech by any administration official saying something like, "We must not allow Saddam Hussein to stay in power any longer. He possesses a single artillery shell with some nerve toxin in the top" (4) Most importantly, even if all of Bush's claims were correct, that still wouldn't have justified a unilateral war of pre-emptive aggression. Okay, back to your corners.

War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning Here is a truly chilling interview with a Marine who was just honorably discharged after serving in Iraq. He's repented of what he did in Iraq, but the tales of massacring civilians who were urged by US propaganda to flee the cities are harrowing. The orders to kill civilians, according to this Marine, came from up the chain of command: "I talked with my commanding officer after the incident," he says, talking about how he and some other Marines shot up a car full of civilians at a checkpoint. "He came up to me and says: 'Are you OK?' I said: 'No, today is not a good day. We killed a bunch of civilians.' He goes: 'No, today was a good day.'"

-Consider Arms