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

April 05, 2008

Joe Biden Shocked To Be Told He's Been Breathing Oxygen All This Time

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, chaired by Joseph Biden, had a hearing on Wednesday called "Iraq After the Surge: Political Prospects." One of the witnesses was journalist Nir Rosen; you can read his prepared testimony here (pdf).

The best part of Rosen's appearance is when he's questioned by Biden. This exchange starts around 58:45 of C-Span's coverage (realplayer):

BIDEN: Based on what you've said, there's really no hope, is there? We should really get the hell out of there right now, right? There's nothing to do.

ROSEN: As a journalist, I'm uncomfortable advising an imperialist power about how to be a more efficient imperialist power. I don't think we're there for the interests of the Iraqi people. I don't that's ever been a motivation. However, I have mixed emotions on that issue. Many of my Sunni friends, beginning about a year ago, many of them who are opposed to the Americans, who supported attacking American troops in Iraq, began to grow really nervous at the idea of the Americans leaving Iraq because they knew they would be massacred. It could be Rwanda the day the Americans leave. The creation of these Sunni militias, the Awakening groups, militates against that kind of a massacre of civilians occurring because now there are actually Sunni safe zones...But I do believe that if Americans were to withdraw you'd seen an increase in violence at least temporarily, until some sort of equilibrium is reached—

BIDEN: But the good news is we wouldn't be imperialist anymore in Iraq, from your perspective.

ROSEN: (smiling widely) Only elsewhere in the region.

BIDEN: Only elsewhere in the region. I'm sure glad we invited you, I tell you. [Bloviates for ninety seconds, then turns to other witnesses.] Gentlemen, to the non-imperialist side of the witness stand...

I think we can guess Rosen won't be invited back anytime soon. After all, when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee meets, the last thing you want is for someone to start telling the truth about America's foreign relations.

MORE UNFORTUNATE REALITY: This is from Rosen's testimony:

Driving to the Amriya district in western Baghdad last month, my friend pointed to a gap in the concrete walls the American occupation forces have surrounded this Sunni bastion with. “We call it the Rafah Crossing,” he laughed, referring to the one gates to besieged Gaza that another occupying army occasionally allows open...Our car lined up behind dozens of others which had been registered with the local Iraqi army unit and were allowed to enter and exit the imprisoned neighborhood. It often took two or three hours to finally get past the American soldiers, Iraqi soldiers and the “Thuwar,” or revolutionaries, as the Sunni militia sanctioned by the Americans to patrol Amriya was called. When it was our turn we exited the vehicle for Iraqi soldiers to search it as an American soldier led his dog around the car to sniff it and I was patted down by one of the Sunni militiamen. Not knowing I was American, he reassured me. “Just let the dog and the dog that is with him finish with your car and you can go,” he laughed.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at April 5, 2008 03:14 PM

Nir Rosen is fine. According to the C-Span site, this portion of the hearings is to be reaired tomorrow (Sunday) at 2:44 PM.

Posted by: catherine at April 5, 2008 03:58 PM

Ever notice how the truth just pisses people off. (avoid it as much as possible within the borders of the US and YOU'll get along much better)

Posted by: Mike Meyer at April 5, 2008 05:07 PM

Joe Biden is inarguably the world's biggest poontang.

Posted by: Peter at April 5, 2008 05:07 PM

Hm. So by "non-imperialist side of the witness stand" he actually means "the crypto-imperialist side..."?

Posted by: buermann at April 5, 2008 08:23 PM

I suppose this means Nir Rosen won't be Obama's running mate?

Posted by: Rob Payne at April 5, 2008 08:44 PM

Joe Biden is a pimple on my ass. But the staffer who arranged for Rosen to testify - my god, intelligence in D.C.! I'm sure he has had to scrape and bow since.

Posted by: roger at April 5, 2008 09:57 PM

I haven't been so cheered up by anything that's happened in Congress since... well, I don't know since when. Thanks so much for posting it.

And my deepest thanks to that staffer. Wonder who it was...

Posted by: Nell at April 5, 2008 10:03 PM

Considering that Rosen could probably be considered a "non-imperialist" or "anti-imperialist", shouldn't Biden's quote have been more accurately: "Gentlemen, to the pro-imperialist side of the witness stand..."?

Posted by: darrelplant at April 6, 2008 01:03 PM

Rosen wrote a piece on how Iraqis say they are nice and agreeable to the US soldiers, and then call them the hind end of a donkey when they are not around - and some right wingnut said that shows the Iraqi people are not "trust-worthy".... with zero ability to see that this is how anyone would respond, unless they had a death wish.

Posted by: Susan - NC at April 6, 2008 03:15 PM

Rosen's appearance before the Senate calls for one of my all-time favorite ATR headlines: "Information bubble only 99.99% effective"

Posted by: SteveB at April 6, 2008 09:31 PM

Huh. At 1:23:XX there is a lady in the background wearing a pink "PEACE" crown. The US is a strange place.

Posted by: saurabh at April 8, 2008 09:53 AM

Kinda bizarre that you would compare the blatantly illegal American occupation of Iraq with Israel's attempts at self-defense. No Iraqi ever attacked the US or advocated the complete elimination of Americans. The Palestinians, on the other hand, have engaged in well over 10,000 attacks on Israelis, dating back well over 100 years. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the least violent in world history, with fewer than 10,000 deaths, while the US occupation of Iraq is one of the worst, with over two million deaths (including those under the imperialist and terrorist Clinton-Gore administration).

But I guess it's important that citizens of one of the world's most violent countries do everything they can to distract attention from their crimes, especially since it was Christians that did it. Better to blame the Jews, that will accomplish a lot.

Posted by: mike at April 11, 2008 04:54 PM