Tuesday, August 1, 2006


No, this isn't the latest axis of evil, just an acknowledgement of the Sorcerer's Apprentice type situation the US is in: not enough mops, not enough buckets, for the myriad streams that threaten to engulf an administration that thought it had magic powers.

In my book "When the Revolution was Young" currently available on Amazon, readers will find an interview of Raul Castro as well as the other barbudos who, with Fidel Castro, made the revolution starting in 1953.  They can also read the article in last week's New Yorker entitled "Castro's Last Battle" by Jon Lee Anderson, a preview of today's news.

Back with more later.

......The big news of course is still in the Middle East.  Starting a couple of days ago, US broadcasters have been showing how the Arab media presents the conflict, and yesterday, for the first time, CNN actually showed gore, prefaced with a warning.  This is an indispensable lead-up to any future distancing from Israel, although it is difficult to imagine it actually happening.

Robert Fisk, on Democracy Now, pointed out that notwithstanding multiple attacks on British soil by the IRA, it didn't bomb Northern Ireland, as Israel is doing to Lebanon.

Just think: Fifty years ago, Israel was "the only democratic country in the Middle East", so we were on solid ground.  Now Israel has become - and is largely perceived to be - a bully.  Avi Pazner's defiant attitude, as government spokesman, was overlaid with disdain, his assurance that "they will lose this battle" evidence of palpable panic.  (There is a great deal of "them and us" on both sides, but notice that the Arabs always refer to the Israelis as "the Israelis", while the Israelis tend to refer to their neighbors as "them".)

An attack on a Jewish entity in Seattle underscores the frustration Arab Americans have been feeling since 9/11.  It looks less and less as though our two oceans protect us when we stir up trouble elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Little Havana, Miami, is gearing up for an expected regime change in Cuba.  Yet a knowledgeable Cuba hand on CNN, without prompting, remarked that the regime has considerable support.   I don't think the exiles should be packing their bags just yet.

.....(later) After listening to the second part of the interview of Mozzam Begg, a British Muslim who was arrested while working in a humanitarian capacity in Pakistan, where he had brought his family, about his three-year long internment in Kandahar, Waggram and finally, Guantanamo, it occurs to me that the significance of the events in Cuba is also linked to the fact that the US has just completed a sixth, and permanent, prison facility on the island.....

.....The ironies pile up: the Lebanese are being bombed (and Free Speech TV just announced that President Bush today again refused to press Israel for a cease-fire) because 40% of them support Hezbollah, as indicated by "free and fair elections".  The Cubans will probably not be asked whether they are in favor of regime change.  At most they will be granted "free and fair elections" within the scope of a capitalist economy.  Judging by the continued support for ex-communist or still-communist parties in Eastern Europe fifteen years after the fall of the regimes they were associated with, we shall not be able to say that we brought democracy to Cuba.

P.S. Mozzam Begg's book is entitled: "Enemy Combattant".

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