Monday, March 20

Happy Anniversary!

Dear Ones,

The traditional third anniversary gift is leather (source: New York Public Library Desk Reference; vegetarians may avail themselves of the "modern" alternatives, crystal or glass). Caring for leather is very important, and here's a helpful household hint: don't buy expensive leather polishes and creams. Go to the drugstore and find good old-fashioned castor oil. Apply liberally, let soak in a few minutes, then wipe up the excess. Once a year should be sufficient. Without proper care your leather will begin to look like this:
Monday, March 20, 2006

Qaeda failing to foment Iraq civil war: Cheney

WASHINGTON: US Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday that Al-Qaeda is failing in its effort to spark a civil war in Iraq, insisting that the group has reached a “stage of desperation.”

Speaking to CBS television, Cheney rejected the idea that the country had descended into civil war, despite a “clear attempt” by Al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi to start such a conflict. “That’s been their strategy all along, but my view would be they’ve reached a stage of desperation from their standpoint.

“What we’ve seen is a serious effort by them to foment civil war but I don’t think they’ve been successful,” Cheney said. The vice president insisted that US efforts to establish a stable government in Baghdad are going well. “I think we are going to succeed in Iraq. I think the evidence is overwhelming,” he said.

or this:
What We've Gained In 3 Years in Iraq

By Donald H. Rumsfeld
Washington Post Sunday, March 19, 2006; Page B07

Some have described the situation in Iraq as a tightening noose, noting that "time is not on our side"and that "morale is down." Others have described a "very dangerous" turn of events and are "extremely concerned."

Who are they that have expressed these concerns? In fact, these are the exact words of terrorists discussing Iraq -- Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his associates -- who are describing their own situation and must be watching with fear the progress that Iraq has made over the past three years.

The terrorists seem to recognize that they are losing in Iraq. I believe that history will show that to be the case.
See what I mean? That stuff's so decrepit they would have refused to make soup out of it in Leningrad.

My wife and I like to celebrate our own anniversaries privately (wink, wink!), but for many people there's nothing like a gathering of friends and family to mark important occasions, so I was glad to get the opportunity to share a few minutes with Cokie, Sam, George, and Lil' George yesterday morning, even if it was by long distance, and even if I could only stay a few minutes before I had to scream. My, my, how that group has grown in just three years! You wouldn't know those were the same people who were so gung-ho about the project back in 2003. It's especially nice to see George F. figuring out for himself that maybe things in Iraq aren't going all that well. It raises hopes that someday he'll figure out what really happened in Vietnam.

And, of course, no anniversary would be complete without breaking out the scrapbook. This one is particularly hefty, isn't it? Rather than try to touch on all the highlights, I thought we'd just take a look at a couple of snapshots from the honeymoon:
Cheers, Tears and Looting in Capital's Streets
New York Times, The (NY)
April 10, 2003

Saddam Hussein's rule collapsed in a matter of hours today across much of this capital city as ordinary Iraqis took to the streets in their thousands to topple Mr. Hussein's statues, loot government ministries and interrogation centers and to give a cheering, often tearful welcome to advancing American troops.

After three weeks battling their way north from Kuwait against Mr. Hussein's hard-core loyalists, Army and Marine Corps units moving into the districts of eastern Baghdad where many of the city's five million people live finally met the kind of adulation from ordinary Iraqis that American advocates of a war to topple Mr. Hussein had predicted.
Amid the celebration, many of Mr. Hussein's troops and officials simply abandoned their posts and ran away.

Much of Baghdad became, in a moment, a showcase of unbridled enthusiasm for America, as much as it metamorphosed into a crucible of unbridled hatred for Mr. Hussein and his 24-year rule.

Oh, and this one:
Looting and a Suicide Attack As Chaos Grows in Baghdad
New York Times, The (NY)
April 11, 2003

It was a day of widening anarchy in Baghdad today as the jubilation accompanying the collapse of Saddam Hussein's rule gave way to a spree of violence and looting.

A suicide bombing attack on a checkpoint manned by American marines left at least four of them severely injured, Marine officers said. The attack took place on the east bank of the Tigris River about a mile from the central Palestine Hotel. Mr. Hussein, before his fall, had promised a wave of suicide bombings against American forces.
For many Iraqis, the scenes of adulation that greeted American troops in east Baghdad on Wednesday, when whole neighborhoods turned out to cheer and wave at the Americans and to shout abuse for Mr. Hussein, began to give way to misgivings as a tide of looting grew.

The power vacuum in the city appeared almost complete, with no immediate prospect of a new order rising from the old.

For the second day, bands of looters had the free run of wide areas on both banks of the Tigris, breaking into at least six government ministries and setting several afire, as well as attacking the luxurious mansions of Mr. Hussein's two sons and other members of his ruling coterie.

Looters made off with liquor, guns and paintings of half-naked women from the home of Uday, one of Mr. Hussein's sons. They also took the white Arabian horses he kept.

Although there were some reports of American troops firing into the air to discourage the marauding bands, most of the looters were able to pick targets at will in plain view of American units, without fear of any American response.

One Marine officer standing atop a tank at a checkpoint in east Baghdad said that he had been asked repeatedly by Iraqis why his unit had done nothing to stop the looting and that he had explained that he had no orders to respond. "I tell them the truth, that we just don't have enough troops," he said.

Wow, what a difference a day makes, huh? Let alone three fucking years. I guess we should be thankful we found enough troops to protect the Oil Ministry, huh?

Bye for now, darlings.


Anonymous said...

Man, that's cynical. Allow me to help.
In fact, when buying anniversary gifts, I skip the "traditional" fare and go for glass or crystal every year, so that the parties have something to throw at each other during fights. The third anniversary is actually what I like to refer to as The Blunt Instrument Anniversary. The fifth is The Jagged Edge Anniversary, the tenth The Alibi Anniversary.
We're practical people, though.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could take credit for this quote - but it came from a economic e-newsletter:

"What civil war?" asks the man who mistook a lawyer for a duck, "I don't see any civil war."