to Mr. Wright's
"Blacksburg: The mask of tears"
Meanwhile, back at Dead Man's Gulch
By DAVID T. WRIGHT
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While the Blacksburg massacre provided the Little Emperor with a welcome respite from the unrelenting torrent of bad news from Iraq, it came a little too late to blot out the latest major embarrassment. That was a bomb explosion the previous Thursday, killing eight people in Baghdad's heavily protected, locked-down Green Zone in the Iraqi Parliament, no less.
The Green Zone is the only part of Baghdad that's considered safe, and
apparently that's not saying much these days. On
One of Maliki's subordinates later brushed off the incident, saying essentially, "No big deal; this kind of thing happens all the time." Well, that's rather the problem, isn't it?
Senator John McCain is the most enthusiastic warmonger among the pretenders to the Imperial throne, and as the war has lost popularity, so has he. Once the "conservative" darling of Red Guard-dominated Minitrue because of his willingness to trash other Republicans and his affection for "social" programs, he has rapidly transformed himself into the Elmer Fudd of the current crop of candidates. He was roundly ridiculed for his recent remark that "there are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through those neighborhoods today. The U.S. is beginning to succeed in Iraq." So he got together a Congressional Delegation to go over and prove it. Unfortunately, one of the tame congressmen he took along was Republican Mike Pence, of Strakon and Neff's own state of Indiana.
Pence wins the Hasn't Got a Clue Award for April, hands down. It seems that as part of the dog-and-pony show, the Congressoids were taken to an open-air market in Baghdad and allowed to walk around there without their helmets! Sure, they still had their body armor on, but who notices that kind of thing? The market, said Pence, at a press conference, was "like a normal outdoor market in Indiana in the summertime." Of course, in Indiana, markets usually don't have half a squadron of attack helicopters circling closely overhead and lots and lots of armored fighting vehicles and heavily armed soldiers, all ready to blast anything remotely suspicious to smithereens, but who notices that kind of thing, either? Not only that, Pence boasted to reporters, he got five rugs for only $2 each! What a screaming deal! When he got back, he presented a report to the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette that included this heart-warming little gem:
Before I left for Baghdad, my 12-year-old daughter asked me to buy her a souvenir and I had responded by reminding her gently that I was visiting Iraq and that wouldn't be possible. As I stood on the street, I decided to come through after all. I bought my kids some rugs in Baghdad, Iraq. The merchant almost refused to take my money. He kept touching his heart and shaking his head no. His eyes, like so many others, radiated with affection and appreciation. He wanted to give me the rugs. I insisted that he accept my ten dollars and, happily, he relented.Awww! Later the rug merchant explained to an NPR reporter why he'd been so generous. "After all," he pointed out, "we are occupied by these Americans, and they are accompanied by a lot of U.S. security."
NPR had no word on whether the Iraqi's eyes were still radiating "affection and appreciation" when he said that.
In any case, after the junketeers returned home, on
To top it all off, before the hoots and giggles had died down around the wretched Pence, McCain grabbed the spotlight by bursting into song in public, singing "Bomb Iran" to the tune of the Beach Boys' "Barbara Ann" (AP story). Despite such behavior, there are no reports that McCain will be sent in for psychiatric evaluation, although his staff may well be doing its best to keep him away from firearms and black baseball caps, with a view to preventing a Blacksburg-style rampage on the Hill.
April 21, 2007
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