You may only read this site if you've purchased Our Kampf from Amazon or Powell's or me
• • •
"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

September 22, 2006

O My Beloved People, How I Loathe You And All Your Kind

More from Hubris by Michael Isikoff and David Corn:

[In 1995,] John Mcguire, the CIA specialist in paramilitary operations, was dispatched to the Kuridish region to figure out what had gone wrong [with a coup attempt against Saddam] — and what Chalabi was doing with the agency's money. Chalabi, he discovered, was living out of a large house with a fleet of luxury cars in the driveway...When Maguire went to the INC's CIA-funded newspaper office, he found two men working there but no newspaper...The entire Chalabi effort, Maguire concluded, was a sham. In January 1996, an indignant Maguire confronted Chalabi in a meeting in London and demanded an accounting of the agency's funds...Chalabi, caught off guard, accused the CIA officer of being impossible to deal with and "thinking like an Arab."

I'm not sure what "thinking like an Arab" entails. Maybe it means "thinking like someone who does not enjoy being ripped off by Ahmad Chalabi."

In any case, Maguire's story rings true. Back in 2003, Cambridge's Glen Rangwala visited Chalabi's Baghdad headquarters — located, appropriately enough, in the former "hunting club" of Udai Hussein. Glen reported that it was "bizarre," with "waiters bringing you free cocktails under (Udai's) elaborate chandeliers, whilst an INC goon tells you about how stupid Arabs are."

As I've noted previously, hatred and contempt for the people they want to lead seems to be a standard feature in leaders. The weird thing is they do this while constantly shrieking about how much they luv! luv! luv! their country.

For instance, you generally can only truly love America if you hate other Americans. Likewise, those who like other Americans always turn out to hate America.

Posted at September 22, 2006 02:11 AM | TrackBack

I'm not sure how much the death of the king of Tonga was covered Stateside, but here in New Zealand it was front page news. The new king is a classic case of what Jon is saying about leaders despising their subjects.

Here's quote from David Barber, Deutsche Presse-Agentur: "A journalist has quoted him as condemning his people, saying that 'left to their own devices, they would urinate in the elevators. As it is, they see nothing wrong with allowing their pigs to run all over their townships, leaving pig droppings everywhere.'

As for political reform, the king, who has the right to make lifetime appointments of 10 members of the 14-man cabinet, including the prime minister and his deputy, has been quoted as saying, 'We don't want a Third-World democracy; it's quite laughable, unstable and in some cases perfectly dangerous.'

King Tupou V is no less dismissive of Tonga's 33 nobles, who enjoy a privileged life and are guaranteed nine seats in the 32-seat parliament alongside the cabinet, leaving only nine members elected by popular vote.

He considers them, 'on the whole, a degenerate lot,' the New Zealand diplomat said."

Posted by: Brett Larson at September 22, 2006 02:35 AM

Brett, thanks for that. That's great stuff. I'll have to use it in the future.

Vote Tupou V! I Will Stop You From Giving Into Your Natural Inclination To Urinate In The Elevator!

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at September 22, 2006 02:40 AM

No satire can match Charles Taylor's actual campaign slogan: "He killed my ma. He killed my pa. I'll vote for him."

Even Karl Rove can go no further.

Posted by: Cal at September 22, 2006 04:14 AM

why, thinking like a arab surely means thinking as one besieged by enemies real and much more real than imagined, and getting all pissed in the premises, as those clever lawyers would be wont to say.

meantime, here in texas, our very own candidate for governor kinky friedman of "kinky friedman and the texas jewboys" country band fame, known for their signature hymns "they don't make jews like jesus anymore" and "proud to be an asshole from el paso" - think i'm kidding? -

has descended into the dark (no pun intended and i hope none taken) realm of racial humor; his latest, and ugly as they come, is his assertion that he went bowling in houston but couldn't find any bowling balls because the staff, thinking they were "nigger balls", had thrown them away - and in my god forsaken state, notwithstanding this crap, he and democrat chris bell stand at 23% behind perry's 35% or so - god help us all, 'cause i just stopped believing in santa claus, a benevolent god and the devil, in no particular order. p.s. my shiftkey is busted, but typing without caps ain't all that bad.

Posted by: Jesus B. Ochoa at September 22, 2006 08:24 AM

It also rings true because the Jordanians (also apparently thinking like Arabs), convicted Chalabi in absentia in 1992 on 31 charges of embezzlement, theft, misuse of depositor funds and currency speculation, and sentenced him to 22 years in jail.

Unfortunately, unlike fellow con man/Bush friend Ken Lay, Chalabi didn't have the decency to immediately die of a heart attack. Think of the trouble we might have been spared if he had.

Posted by: Whistler Blue at September 22, 2006 01:27 PM

I'm thinking I should buy a bus ticket for DC and a dishdasha and headdress, so I can go get an appointment to see Bush or Cheney to ask for some money for a proposal for a coup d'etat.

If I could see Bush I could stick with a made-up country, like Khemed from the Tintin comics, but unfortunately I think the proposal would have to be for a real country if I saw Cheney. I think I'd prefer to see Bush.

"Forgive me for the posterboard presentation, but mine are a humble people who do not have powerpoint. Also forgive me for the elevator. It smelled like freedom, and I was exhilerated like a Nubian mountain goat and could not help myself. Can I have ten million dollars?"

Posted by: Jonathan Abu el-Versen at September 22, 2006 11:17 PM

'Hate' is a word that seems to come quite frequently from the mouths of Bushies. They seem to know who and what we hate. This is just a question but could there be a reason for this? It is kind of an admission of guilt if you ask me.

Speaking of Chalabi, our good friend Colin Pinocchio Powell is probably quite fond of Chalabi for it was Chalabi who provided the good as gold intelligence that Powell used to try and persuade the United Nations that little Iraq was a threat to the entire world.

In a way you have to admire Chalabi in that as the Bushies were so intent on screwing the Middle East it was only very late in the day that they found Chalabi was actually screwing them. Actually I believe the Bushies knew Chalabi was feeding them bogus information but it fit in so nicely with their plans for the Middle East that they did not balk at paying Chalabi for his efforts.

What ever the case may be many of the major players that got us into Iraq have moved on like Wolfowitz who is now president of the World Bank. Wolfowitz is no longer much interested in Iraq because now he is in another position of power and influence where he is able and willing to screw poor nations by withholding much needed funds. Compare and contrast, Wolfowitz and Chalabi seem to be two of a kind.

Do you ever wonder how a guy like Wolfowitz, who was a major player in landing us in Iraq, gets to move on to being prez of the World Bank? I believe it is because the real war is the one between the haves and have nots and the game is always stacked as in heads I win, tails you lose.

Posted by: rob payne at September 23, 2006 01:40 AM

rob, consider this:

John "milk moustache with an attitude" Bolton is the United States ambassador to the United Nations.

and then wonder if Wolfie at the WB is such a stretch.

Posted by: almostinfamous at September 23, 2006 09:42 AM


Agreed, nothing amazes me any longer. I am waiting for the day Bush announces he is emperor of space and time and then declares war on Mars.

Posted by: rob payne at September 23, 2006 08:19 PM

Rob, I seriously doubt the Bushies cared about Chalabi being a conman. It may have comforted them to be dealing with someone on the same wavelength.

Unfortunately I don't think contempt is unique to the Bush administration, and maybe that was part of Jon S's point. (Although for my part I would only pee in the white house elevator while Bush/Cheney are in power. I've got standards.)

Posted by: Jonathan Versen at September 23, 2006 11:09 PM

Jonathan Versen,

Yes, that they knew but did not care would be my own personal take on their dealings with Chalabi. After all Chalabi told them exactly what they wanted to hear which is what con men do.

On the topic of urination I would just like to add that that is why I like dogs because one can often see them pissing on a Bush.

Posted by: rob payne at September 24, 2006 12:09 AM