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"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show
"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author, Adverbs, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket
"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming
January 31, 2005
I Would Like To Be Happy But It's Not Working
In 1996, Madeline Albright was asked about the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children under sanctions. She famously replied, "We think the price is worth it."
This was a statement of almost berserk cruelty. But it was the norm as far as Iraq goes: berserk cruelty has been continually visited on Iraqis over the past forty years, both by other Iraqis and by outsiders. I sometimes think of writing a book called "The Price Is Worth It": How Bill Clinton, Saddam Hussein, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, Leonid Breshnev, George H.W. Bush, and Helmut Kohl Crucified The People Of Iraq.
And I don't just pull that list out of my ass. I think if you made a list of the seven people responsible for killing the most Iraqis, it would be them, in that order. Killing Iraqis in volume has been a group effort, and wouldn't have been possible without everyone pitching in.
The circumstances of the massive bloodletting have varied, but the ultimate reason has remained the same: oil. Oil has been a terrible curse for IraqisÃ¢â‚¬â€even more than it's been for Saudis and Iranians and many others.
Anyway, this is all to say I can't feel optimistic about yesterday's elections. I wish I could. And I'm truly moved to see Iraqis trying to do what they can to improve their circumstances. But I doubt the elections will change anything whatsoever. As long as they have that oil, I suspect life in Iraq will continue to be horrible.
Still, that certainly doesn't absolve outsidersÃ¢â‚¬â€particularly AmericansÃ¢â‚¬â€of trying to change that. There's an interesting interview with Naomi Klein here in which she proposes some things we might do.Posted at January 31, 2005 06:58 AM | TrackBack