Saturday, March 15, 2003
This morning while in the steam room of our ancient YMCA I eavesdropped on a conversation between three men who work at some of our city's finest restaurants and hotels. One of them was explaining a new job that required a lengthy absence from the city. A new Asian resort company had hired him to teach "Western concepts of hospitality to their employees." There was a pause, all three erupted in laughter and one said, "Sit down, shut the f___ up and eat!" I guess the current anti American climate is having an effect on the 5 star restaurant crowd!
Also, another interesting story buried deep in yesterday's New York Times. If you are a fan of stories about Truman's legacy, otherwise known as the Central Intelligence Agency, A Tyrant 40 Years In The Making adds to our growing pile of gleaned news nuggets. Among other things the article says:
Forty years ago, the Central Intelligence Agency, under President John F. Kennedy, conducted its own regime change in Baghdad, carried out in collaboration with Saddam Hussein...on Feb. 8, 1963, the conspirators staged a coup in Baghdad.
Washington immediately befriended the successor regime. "Almost certainly a gain for our side," Robert Komer, a National Security Council aide, wrote to Kennedy the day of the takeover.
As its instrument the C.I.A. had chosen the authoritarian and anti-Communist Baath Party...among party members colluding with the C.I.A. in 1962 and 1963 was Saddam Hussein, then a 25-year-old who had fled to Cairo after taking part in a failed assassination of Kassem (the then Iraqi leader) in 1958...But it wasn't long before there was infighting among Iraq's new rulers. In 1968, after yet another coup, the Baathist general Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr seized control, bringing to the threshold of power his kinsman, Saddam Hussein. Again, this coup, amid more factional violence, came with C.I.A. backing.