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For those who feel the war on terrorism
could use a little "Structural Adjustment".

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Monday, September 15, 2003

I read a great article about North Korea by Phillip Gourevitch where, in an aside, he recounts an "Economist" magazine cover showing a picture of Kim Jong-Il and the words "Greetings, Earthlings".

It looks like Dick Cheney has finally phoned home:

'Cheney vigorously defended the level of U.S. troops in Iraq at a time when lawmakers have said more than the current 130,000 American and 20,000 foreign troops are needed. Asked about his earlier dismissal of Gen. Eric K. Shinseki's prewar view that an occupation force would have to be "on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers," Cheney replied: "I still remain convinced that the judgment that we will need, quote, 'several hundred thousand for several years,' is not valid.'

'In fact, Shinseki had not mentioned "several years" in his testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Feb. 25.'

'Similarly, Cheney argued that the administration did not understate the cost of the war in Iraq, saying it did not put a precise figure on it. Asked about previous assertions by then-White House Budget Director Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. that the war would cost $50 billion to $60 billion and that a figure in the range of $100 billion to $200 billion was too high, Cheney replied: "Well, that might have been, but I don't know what his basis was for making that judgment."'

We're glad to see that Cheney hasn't lost any of his luster while travelling in space. Let's cut for a minute to an article in this week's New Yorker about Bush's speech defending the war in Iraq:

'. . . Back in June, Thomas Friedman, of the Times, wrote breezily, “The ‘real reason’ for this war, which was never stated, was that after 9/11 America needed to hit someone in the Arab-Muslim world.” Well, now Bush has as much as stated it. Friedman went on, “Smashing Saudi Arabia or Syria would have been fine. But we hit Saddam for one simple reason: because we could, and because he deserved it, and because he was right in the heart of that world.”'

And back over to our interstellar traveler:

'Further, Cheney argued that new evidence found in Iraq proved more ties between Hussein and Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda organization, and he argued that Iraq was the "geographic base" for the perpetrators of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. "If we're successful in Iraq . . . then we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11," he said in an hour-long interview on NBC's "Meet the Press."'

We're glad that while aloft amongst the stars, Cheney and Bush et al. determined that we needed to strike at the "geographic base" of terrorism. This strange theory seems to ignore most bits of reality about terrorism (that it's a political, and not a geographic phenomenon) and, as the New Yorker article points out, the resultant administration "war against terror" is skewed towards fighting a brand of terrorism that must exist on venus, because it doesn't exist here. This level of misinformation, and the continued contention by the Bush administration that there were extensive links between Al-Qaeda and Iraq, are on par almost with the misinformation sold in North Korea. Perhaps Bush, Cheney, and Kim Jong Il could all take a starship back to their planet, where the laws of cause and effect are much different than here on earth.


'On the subject of Iraqi chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, which have not been discovered, Cheney said he still believes chemical weapons are "buried inside [Hussein's] civilian infrastructure." Of the weapons search, Cheney said, "We've got a very good man now in charge of the operation, David Kay, who used to run UNSCOM."'

'Kay, who is heading the 1,200-person search group, did not in fact run UNSCOM, the U.N. Special Commission that directed inspections in Iraq from 1991 through 1998; he was for one year the chief inspector for the International Atomic Energy Agency, which handled the nuclear portion of those investigations for UNSCOM.'

Andrew 9:40 AM : |


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