December 14th, 2003


Where Everybody Knows Your Name

There's an interesting divergence between news reports on the press conference where Paul Bremer delivered his Ciceronian address "We got him". I was in the bath, a little late in the day perhaps, and the cheers that sounded had a distinct American tone to my ear. I've since heard recordings of other cheers in other places that sounded more Iraqi to my ear. The BBC currently claim the cheers at the conference were largely Iraqi and CNN doesn't. Aljazeera doesn't mention any cheering at all. Pravda hasn't woken up to the fact of the capture, I guess they're sleeping Saturday night off.

So he's alive. I was fairly convinced he was dead. Well, what happens now? A lot or not much? There'll be some deaths from celebratory rifle fire discharged into the sky, I could organise a very callous sweepstake. There'll be some more terrorist attacks against US and other foreign targets. More or less? Place cynical bets now. I wonder how long they've known where he is and how much his capture is a pawn in the manufacture of US domestic opinion over Iraq-based concerns? Don't know. If it's Bush's trump card (I more reminded of the Eurohit TV series 'It's a Knockout/Jeux Sans Frontières' and the playing of the Joker that would 'double it up to n' that Eddie Waring would announce, where n is 'it' multiplied by 2, so n is it over 2, you can see why I flunked additional mathematics, possibly through my inappropriate use of n, although I've got a great grasp on topology, as the world's only existing Klein bottle slips from my hand to smash on the kitchen floor), he may have played it too early to ensure re-election. There's a while to go yet and more unfortunate and sacred life to be lost in the meantime.

In the bath, I ruminated about the alternate universe where Gore Vidal is President and Britain is led by an Provisional Revolutionary Government entirely composed of the Carry On team, so Kenneth Williams is Prime Minister. But the subject was too serious to maintain that line of thought (What position would Stanley Unwin hold?). Recent announcements on the award of contracts for reconstruction and development being handed out to supporters of the war had my blood pretty much boiling. So, this will have nothing to do with the quality of tenders or the long term security of the country? How much are we going to overcharge and suck Iraq dry like an Enron cashcow? Let's not mix the metaphors too heavily now. Above all, just who wants to go and work in Iraq given your life expectancy as a foreign visitor? Surely many of these contracts need to be going to those countries that stand a lesser chance of being blown to shreds. Iraq will need to have close links with those nearby like Iran, Pakistan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Russia even. Why not China? Oh yes, the spoils of war. I was never too convinced about the war being about the control of oil rather than the more frightening notion of moral certainty. Someone is trying to wake up the horsemen, but I guess even the horsemen's outfits are going to be emblazoned with words from our sponsors. Bush is entirely right to address this issue as soon as possible. I guess there's no chance of some space for La Vache Qui Rit?

My head is filled with Little Russia. I can see these mishaped Gogolian characters stumbling thorugh muddy lanes and arguing in the streets. They don't know anything about this world. They shake their fists at each other and sometimes at God. I would do anything to live among them currently.