Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Thursday, June 22, 2006
In Ayman al-Zawahri’s fetching new video, I suspect we are seeing glimpses of the mental instability American and Pakistani forces first saw, according to Ron Suskind, shortly after kicking-down Abu Zubaydah’s Faisalabad door in a March 2002 capture.

As George Bush, apparently thanks to Suskind, politically milked the man he called “one of the top operatives” running alQaeda, I wonder if this glammed-up Ayman, too, might soon feel the cold PR fingers of the President’s milking hand.
This 6th Zawahiri video, released today on the web, is slickly produced with a jazzy slo-mo’ed wavy curtain opening graphic and a thumping muezzin audio track.
In the May 30 video, at this Washington Post link, evil but man-tanned Dr. Zawahri, sits comfortably in a modern television studio and before a black cyclorama while wearing a Sony ECM-77 (PDF) lavalier microphone.
As evil Dr. Z talks and moves his head, the upper rim portions of his prescription lenses clearly show multiple sets of studio grid lights.
The evil doctor is modeled with light in a flattering and classically theatrical multiple lamp configuration.
Zawahiri’s trusty and ever visible automatic rifle is set further back from the plane occupied by our make-up wearing terror leader.
The rifle is being illuminated by another separate studio lighting fixture.
Is this triumph of the alQaeda TV production budget to herald some major threat?
Well, uh, no.
Doctor Zawahiri thinks May 29’s Kabul US/Afghan car accident was a “bitter incident…fresh proof” of the Great Satan’s same-old blah, blah, blah.
The evil doctor needs to regularly drive my deadly chunk of crumbling and over crowded American interstate to get an appreciation for what a roadway “bitter incident” is really all about.
Pretty sad when all a supposed “major terrorist” and known bomber has to bitch about is a gruesome car accident.
Naturally the Z man milks the Bush/Cheney dark side gift of torture and also finds time for other former glories from the Islamo-fascist hit parade including holy book defacements, European humorists and cartoonists, Salmon Rushdie and a fresh and curious aversion to flags.
In short, the doctor seems more fey than frightening.
The video does make me wonder if crack Homeland Security forces could make time between domestic wiretaps and molester investigations to track high tech TV and theatrical equipment purchases bound for a mysteriously modern television studio buried in the Hindu-Kush.

Photos: AP, Reuters
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
If, over the years, you have only just casually surfed to this humble blog, I still feel certain you would already know that I hold the current Secretary of Defense in a very, very low regard.


An article in this morning’s Washington Post adds an intriguing gloss to that dirty ball of low, low regard.
The article reports on a transcript of Rumsfeld’s sworn April 1, 2005 questioning by DOD investigators looking into the Boeing Procurement Scandal, a transcript strangely missing from the June 2005 IG Report and requiring a FOIA request and year-long wait by the Washington Post.
While today’s Post story is filled with little shock ‘n awe blasts of Rummy’s brand of lying and evasion, I was most intrigued by this flat and rather stunning statement by the SecDef:

"I spend an overwhelming portion of my time with the combatant commanders and functioning as the link between the president . . . and the combatant commanders conducting the wars."

Here we have a key piece of information relating to a vital and rarely discussed element within 2003’s Iraq invasion and the resulting rapid drive to Baghdad.
Mr. Rumsfeld is the combat “link” for “an overwhelming portion” of his billable hours.
The summer of 2002 was heavy with pundit tales of Rummy’s lean and mean transformational strike forces.
It all sounded so action comic.
I know I first envisioned ordinary unarmored HumVee’s transforming, with blasts of red and blue lightening, into giant, heavily armored killer robots.
But what Rummy actually meant by that no doubt focus-grouped gerund was his plan for the lucrative privatized plundering of the entire DOD supply chain.
An organizational theft now slowed somewhat by scandal.
The drive to Baghdad was to be a tactical showpiece driven home by embedded video.
Rummy’s “overwhelming” military control and tremendous political needs must be the key element in a variety of perplexing and widely unreported events from the early days of April 2003.
Soldiers were abandoned with broken-down vehicles and ammunition stores ignored amid scattered reports of shortages of water, food and other provisions including blankets.
There were also a few stories describing a desire by some ground commanders for a regrouping pause in the advance.
For a brief period the military command shut down satellite phone and embedded contact.
Once restored, the scattered reports of trouble, like pesky sat phone static and sworn SecDef testimony, vanished.
Until Col. Joe Dowdy’s honor and courage also ran smack dab into Rummy’s PR campaign.
Then and more quickly, Colonel Dowdy, too, vanished.
Lean and Mean had to look, well, lean and mean.
Money was there for the taking as well as added pressure from ultra-wealthy and well-connected collectors lusting for certain rarified artifacts from the Iraq Museum.
Rummy’s “overwhelming” control seems to have dominated certain unmilitary behaviors observed between March 20 and April 14, 2003 and, by the Secretary's sworn statement, is directly and tactically responsible for the tar pit ensnaring America today.
Our brave young soldiers as well as certain equally brave but grayer noncoms and COs deserve far better.

An exciting TV offer...Folk Songs of the Far Right!

Modified Image: DOD, Reuters
Monday, June 19, 2006

As the press pool watched dumbfounded, the President, with each step, sank deeper into a suddenly yielding South Lawn...


When i wrote last week's Connie update, I never in a million years could have imagined her jaw-dropping swan song broadcast to an almost non-existant audience this past weekend.
I'm imagining, for those wondering, that the piano player didn't accompany Connie due to the lack of a musicians union card.

Modified and Unmodified Images: Reuters,

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