Potpourri

Ernest Cassara


Aftermath of Saddam’s Hanging

The taunting of Saddam Hussein, while the rope was being placed around his neck, has continued to cause consternation.  In the inevitable TV coverage, one sees recurring film clips of Hussein, in his days of authority, shooting a rifle into the air.  It would be more revealing were the networks to pull out of their film archives, Donald Rumsfeld, among several U.S. officials, visiting him in Baghdad, shaking his hand.  How about reminding the public that the U.S. supported him in his war against Iran.

Pity the young people, who are trying to learn history, and being constantly misled by television.


Saddam’s Brother Decapitated

We’ve all heard how, when they hanged the gentleman, his head was separated from the body.  Aside from the brutality of the new Iraqi regime, a thinking person must ask whether, were Iraq to win the war, we would want our leaders strung up.


Winning Hearts and Minds

It is very useful to see the oft-repeated shots on TV of American soldiers kicking in the doors of Iraqi homes.  Mind you, once they get inside, they cannot communicate, for they do not know the language.  Just like Americans to assume that everyone else knows our tongue.


Israeli Settlements

Well, now, when Condoleeza Rice stopped by Israel and Palestine, hinting that the U.S. might actually get off its duff and reopen peace talks, she no sooner went on her way that the Israeli government began the expansion of a Jewish settlement in the West Bank.


The Revolving Door

On C-Span the other day, I saw a panel masticating a particular topic.  Could not stay through the discussion, since I had to leave the house on an errand.  But, one of the faces on the panel looked so familiar that I lingered briefly.  Finally, the caption named him.  It was the handsome visage of former Congressman Bob Livingston, who, you will recall, was in line for the Speakership of the House of Representatives in the days when Gingrich was bowing out. Then, it was revealed that Bob had had serial mistresses.  This finished him.  Apparently, a congressman cannot have fun unless it is carefully concealed from the eyes of the voters!

And, by the way, note that he did not go home.  He stayed on and established a lobbying firm.  They never leave Washington!

Cogent Quote

“The only real question about the planned ‘surge’ in Iraq - which is better described as a Vietnam-style escalation - is whether its proponents are cynical or delusional.” Sen. Joseph Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, thinks they’re cynical. He recently told the Washington Post that administration officials are simply running out the clock, so that the next president will be ‘the guy landing helicopters inside the Green Zone, taking people off the roof.” (Paul Krugman, “Quagmire of the Vanities,” New York Times, 1/8/07)


The Oddities of TV

Question!  Who was the first talking head who stood up, rather than sitting down during a public affairs program?

Notice that Wolf Blitzer obeys the latest style, standing throughout his program.

I am happy to see that Keith Olberman is not to be bullied into doing so.  Another delightful reason to tune him in on MSNBC at 8:00 P.M. eastern time.


More Wisdom of G. W. Bush

“Recession means that people’s incomes, at the employer level, are going down, basically, relative to costs, people are getting laid off.” (Washington, D. C., 19 February 2004)

“Will the highways on the Internet become more few?” (Concord, NH, 29 January 2000)

“We ended the rule of one of history’s worst tyrants, and in so doing, we not only freed the American people, we made our own people more secure.”  (Crawford, TX, 3 May 2003)

“I think there is some methodology in my travels.” (Washington, D.C., 5 March 2001)

“The march to war hurt the economy.  Laura reminded me a while ago that remember what was on the TV screens - she calls me ‘George W.’ - “George W.’ I call her ‘First Lady.’  No, anyway - she said, we said, march to war on our TV screen.” (Bay Shore, NY, 11 March 2004)

“I was raised in the West.  The west of Texas.  It’s pretty close to California.  In more ways than Washington, D.C., is close to California.” (In Los Angeles; quoted in the Los Angeles Times, 8 April 2000)

“He was a state sponsor of terror.  In other words, the government had declared, you are a state sponsor of terror.” (On Saddam Hussein, in Manhattan, Kansas, 23 January 2006)



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Harvard Square Commentary, January 22, 2007