Thursday, April 10, 2003


Kesher received fan mail this week. Really. Steve writes about a scandal of Israel bashing among... librarians. He says it is very serious. I remember that on Seinfeld Kramer had an affair with a librarian and got in trouble with the library's security guy, the aptly named Mr. Bookman. Here is an article from the infamous Jewish Post and a comment of the librarians. You decide. Then go read a book and stop wasting time on the internet.

So, the statue in Baghdad's Tahir Square is down. Everybody's happy, right? Everyone suddenly loves GWB and America and hates Sadaam. The neo-cons look like geniuses. At the same time, the looting, work for building, feeding and healing will give every opportunity to screw things up. Also, where are the masses? I am still not seeing the thousands of Iraqis celebrating. The pictures in the square showed tens or maybe hundreds. Why is that? This still does not look like the old pictures of the Allies driving into Paris. A most likely scenerio is that they are still at home scared waiting to see which way the wind blows in the end.

Was interesting to read Robert Kagan in yesterday's Washington Post call on the government to NOT support Chalabi and not to punish Europe (especially Turkey and Germany). Interesting to hear Kagan call for compromise. What are the Syrians, Saudis, Egyptians thinking today? Are they seeing their regimes and central squares being threatened? Are they putting reinforcements in their own statues? Hamas's spokesman Rantisi said that Palestinians are sad to see what happened in Baghdad and hoped that Iraqis will start an intifada against the "American Zionists". See article. Barry Rubin writes in today's Jerusalem Post optimisticly about the "new Middle East".

A joke: After the bombing the other day, one of Sadaam's sons calls all 30 of the Sadaam doubles together for a meeting. Uday says: I've got good news and bad news. Good news is that Sadaam lives. Bad news... he lost an arm.

Mets lost in the ninth inning again. Will this become a problem as the season goes on?

Wednesday, April 09, 2003


A key question for Israelis is how the next stage of the war in Iraq will effect Israel. Note that debkafile thinks Sadaam lives. That is less of concern and the war part of the war in Iraq is almost over. What will come next?

There has been a clear and not unsuccessful effort - especially in Europe - to link the issues. The idea is that there are two huge problems for the international community to deal with: first Sadaam and then the Israel-Palestinian issue. (Note that some read that to be first Sadaam and then Sharon!). While it is clear that the issues are markedly different, there is a will to package them together. While it is a false analogy (the Economist wrote so much last October), there is a feeling that "something must be done" about the situation here.

While I would not be unhappy to see movement for the better here, the linkage is inappropriate. The Europeans are often problematic in their balance towards the matter from our perspective. The German FM is here now and leading the charge of Euro leaders rushing to Ramallah to meet Abu Maazen and Arafat. See article. According to reports from the German media, he wanted to swing attention away from Iraq back to here. Last week the British FM talked about linkage in a problematic way, too. Israeli are not paranoid to be wary of the motives of European leaders here. A former French FM spoke yesterday about Israeli and Iraqi violations of international law in one hugely wide stroke.

A more reasonable message would be that there are a number of positive factors in the region (naming of Abu Maazen as PM of Palestinian Authority, Sharon's stable government, a mutual exaustion of Israelis and Palestinians alike, signs of American success in Iraq) which could lead the sides to an end to this round of violence. An interesting new initiative is a document signed by Ami Ayalon (former head of Israel's Shin Bet) and Dr. Sari Nusseibah, Al Quds University President. See the web site. They are meeting with Israel's President next week to present their proposal. As Akiva Eldar points out (see second part of this article), the proposal is much more radical then the Road Map. While I am not sure where this effort is going, it is positive to see joint Israeli-Palestinian efforts.

Isn't that a better thought then only talking about how we will continue killing each other forever? I still think that we need Al Sahhaf here.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003


More American Intel lead them to try another "hail mary" pass to end the war. GWB seems to me to be that kind of quarterback, one who likes the big play to change the tempo of the game. Of course, it looks like the USA is leading this game by 30 with two minutes left, such a play is showboating. At this stage, a key concern should be, davka, not to show up the Iraqis and make them feel like losers. The massive next stage of rebuilding Iraq is so key to winning the bigger picture that I am not a fan of such big plays. We'll see. Maybe I've gotten conservative at the the ripe old age of 39. Really 39, not the Jack Benny version.

An interesting description by Gerson Gorenberg of Israel's gas mask etiquette in Slate. I've described some of these issues (schoolchildren and ministers are two examples) in past days. Worth a read. Somewhat related, an avid reader of ours, Bill from Manhattan (by the way, Hi Amira!) is working on an interesting art project called "the Art of War". While some of the work tends towards the "all war is wrong... always", maybe thats what artists should say. Take a look.

It seems that everyone is joining my Iraqi Info Minister bandwagon. Slate offers today: PR Tips for Mohammed Al-Sahhaf, UPI calls him Sadaam's "jester" and Australia's Daily Telegraph calls him out of touch and his words "propaganda". A word in AL-Sahhaf's defense (besides the fact that he is hillarious): he's doing his job as best as he can. No one else is taking the heat (except for Sadaam, if the bombing last night worked, but that's another type of heat, if you know what I mean). I saw pictures of him sleeping on the floor of his office and he's still working the crowd.

Congrats to Mike from Fort Lee on 'Cuse's big win last night. I warn him, though, of a pet peeve. He can't say "we won" unless he scored in the game or is on Jim Boehiem's staff. Having paid tuition a decade ago doesn't count. I had more faith than he did at the start of the tourney. I even finished 37th of 538 participants in an online bracket contest. Not bad for someone over 7000 miles away who is meant to work once in awhile.

Monday, April 07, 2003


I really hope that there will be a way, in one form or another to keep the Iraqi Information Minister. He is too much fun to let go. Today he told CNN how the end was drawing near for the Americans. "The soldiers of Saddam Hussein have given them a lesson they will never forget" is another highlight. Someone has to find a way to keep him on the screen. Maybe CNN can give him 30 minutes a week to continue lying about the news. Denying, fabricating and basicly creating parallel universes as are needed. That denial is sometimes healthy. We raising children and upping the ante in Casino Israel sometimes call it compartmentilization.

An interesting article in today's Haaertz looks at American Jewry's role in the Iraq was. It isn't the usual secret Jewish cabal nonsense as inanely described by that soon to be ex-congressman from Virginia but what kind of relations with Jews and Israel might be expected with a new Iraq. I think that this should not be a high priority issue. Enough shock (and awe, to turn a phrase) has been put upon the Arab world from America for one month. A benign Iraq which is not a threat to its neighbors (read: us) is enough for me now. In time, somehere down the road(map) it might be feasible to imagine that Iraq could be a positive example of coexistence with the Zionist entity. But for now? Whats the rush? Why cause whatever new leadership an additional internal Arab struggle. Won't it have its hands full getting legitimacy?

In short, while I have some friends looking for work, that job can wait.

Mets have a road trip to Miami and then San Juan, Puerto Rico. With a snow storm approaching in NYC that sounds like a good plan. A sorry loss yesterday (Benitez blew a save in the 9th) was not great but having Piazza back and seeing Tony Clark go yard were positives.

Sunday, April 06, 2003


Did anyone notice that Al-Jazeera was kicked out of Baghdad the other day. It surely was not because they were reporting with too much of a pro-West slant. Could it have been because the Iraqis know that the end is nigh and it is not something the want the Arab world to see? Saw that at this morning's cabinet meeting the PM told the media that the cabinet would not be dealing with the Road Map because... anything said would immediately be passed on to the media. This is our new and improved, all-of-one-mind government that has been in charge for only one month or so.

I have to admit that I enjoy the press conferences of the Iraqi Minister for Information, Mohammad Said al- Sahhaf. He says it so the media writes it: Coalition troops forced out of the airport (India's, the Hindu), no incursion into Baghdad (Australia's ABC) or even the suburbs (South Africa's It must be cool to have a job where you can say anything, anything, and it is reported. Then again, he probably won't have the job much longer.

Mets put two wins together over the weekend against Montreal. My personal idol, David Cohen (i know, I know, but doesn't his name look better this way?) pitched five plus shut out innings on Friday. Syracuse made the finals of the NCAA's and face Kansas tomorrow. Anthony is an amazing player - maybe the Knicks can get him if they get lucky with ping pong balls next month.