A Mind That Suits What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Friday, August 29, 2003 :::
Drip, drip, BANG. Drip, drip, WOW. Drip, drip, OOOF.The webservices bring the horrible news about the bombing at the very holiest of shrines for Shi'ite Muslims in Najaf, Shi'ism's most holy city. At least 75 are known to be dead, including a cleric who advocated cooperation with the US and prayed for unity (in an Islamic context). His brother served on the Governing Council.

First, our thoughts go out to those who were killed and to their loved ones.

For those who have done no reading on Islam since 9/11, Shi'ites revere the Imam Ali, son-in-law to the Prophet himself and the only person we know that he really wanted as a successor. Ali was, however, only the fourth successor, because of the tremendous competition for the honor, and he was assasinated as power slipped into a family with dynastic plans. The "unified" Caliphate following Muhammed's death lasted only 28 years, if memory serves, and the death of Ali was the death of the dream of Muslim unity. The Shi'ites recognize no Muslim caliph after Ali, and the blast was at the Mosque of Ali.

If you scroll down, you will see that this morning's post was killed because of a wrong button. That may have been all to the good. Here is a less discursive version of it.

A brief notice in this morning's Washington Wire column in the indispensible Wall Street Journal was the starting point for the previous blog. A Mind That Stuits recalled that, during a weekend stay at a rich friend of his uncle's, he had several long discussions with the indomitable Clare Booth Luce, inventor of Life magazine and photojournalism, congressman, ambassador, brilliant playwight and writer, and one gorgeous woman, though she was a little long in the tooth on the weekend in question. It was she that taught A Mind That Suits to read newspapers carefully, as she herself had noticed, in a small article in the New York Times, that the Roosevelt Administration had, in 1941. declared war on the Japanese empire by cutting off its oil supplies. She supported the war, but thought that Roosevelt should have been open about joining it. She, as a congresswoman, was trying to warn America--through its press--about what was to come when Pearl Harbor was announced.

A Mind That Suits was reminded of this ancient memory by a two-paragraph piece in the Washington Wire. The Army War College has released a report saying that, in Afghanistan, the Pentagon was so hell-bent on "no nation building" that it did no preparation for the peace. A Mind That Suits has a sinking feeling that this is what happened in Iraq: Donald Rumsfeld wanted to prove that a light army could win out over a paper enemy, and did not want to get into the business of "nation-building," even though the Commander-in-Chief, in a largely ignored speech at the American Enterprise Institute annual dinner, shortly before the war, had said that this is what we were doing: building a new nation.

The same report in the Journal says that the blue-ribbon panel that released a grim report on the occupation in July is going back in November. One has to wonder why, as none of their sensible recommendations have been accepted, least of all the need for more troops---NOW. It hasn't happened, and we are seeing the results right now. And so the endless dripping of horrifying and depressing news from Iraq.

Have a good one.

::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 4:48 PM



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What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

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