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August 29, 2003
Iraq, The Restoration, Angelina Jolie

Yesterday's second entry was lost due to a software bug - said bug being that the software is in use by an idiot - so I'm clicking buttons very carefully today.

Some days, it's an oddly mixed bag of headlines that attract me.

Maybe I'm just not flexible enough but it seems to me that every time I read what we're doing or considering doing in Iraq to get the country back on its feet, I disapprove.

At a deeper level, the wobbling credibility of the occupation undermines that occupation's financing. American officials still hope to raise money by selling off state-owned enterprises to foreign investors, though they have backed off on proposals to sell power plants and other utilities. But after the bombing of U.N. headquarters, who will buy? Officials have also floated the idea of pledging future oil revenues in return for loans, but it's far from clear whether an occupying power has the right to make such deals, let alone whether they would be honored by whoever is running Iraq a few years from now.

Selling off their economy is okay as long as you don't sell the oil? Maybe it wasn't All About The Oil, but every conversation about the country comes back to the subject, doesn't it?

It's a pity there weren't any regulations in place, or any farsighted elected officials prepared to do battle to protect our future from being mortgaged for the Administration's deeply flawed fantasy of world-wide democracy, isn't it?

This morning on NPR, I listened to them interview a woman who, with private donations from around the world, has send hundreds of air conditioners to Iraq. She was motivated by a story from her son who is on night patrol there and who complained that in his tent, during the heat of the day when he was supposed to be sleeping, it was so hot that his soap melted.

The military head honchos are, you understand, casually debated whether or not it was such a good idea after all to outsource most of their non-gun-toting functions to civilian contractors. They're not all convinced and most of them are insisting that things are getting better all the time, but a few of them have been heard to mumble doubts.*

(* For those curious, in spite of my earlier mockery, this wasn't actually a plan to save money. It's just that it takes a lot of people to support each fighting soldier. If you outsource the support functions, you leave more of your cannon fodder enlisted bodies free to actually, you know, go out and kill someone. It's a way to maximize the fighting impact of a limited fighting population. And it's not actually that bad of an idea. It just seems, now that push comes to shove, they overestimated civilian enthusiasm for entering a war zone.)

If you're an anglophile, or a history buff, you'll be interested in this. (Requires registration)

A Puritan's journal written in cryptic shorthand to foil the King's men paints a vivid picture of 1600s London, reports Will Bennett
A remarkable million-word account of life in late 17th century England which is as vivid as Samuel Pepys's diary has been transcribed by experts after lying largely forgotten for more than three centuries.

I'd read all six volumes if I could lay my hands on them.

Looks like if you read the right publications, the Russian press can be as bitchy as any decadent Western publication.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:34 AM


Oh, my Angelina! You put this in for me, didn't you?

Posted by: Mel at August 29, 2003 10:30 PM