Just a few odds and ends for tonight; I’m whipped. Nocturnal recluse that I am, I’m still not used to this up-first-thing-in-the-morning business, and I’ve been averaging about four or five hours of sleep. By the time Friday rolls around all I can see is a great Eye, rimmed with fire.
First, a fantastic high-resolution photograph (make sure you are viewing it full-size) of our astronauts slap-hammering a few dents out of the International Space Station. Take a look here. (I wonder what those suits cost; I’ve always thought they’d be just the thing for New York summer weather.)
Next: a transcript of the opening remarks of Dr. Barham Salih, the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, to an audience at the Brookings Institution. Salih, who has been a fierce opponent of the Baathists for decades, is not pleased with how things have gone, but is still glad to be rid of Saddam:
It has become traditional in Washington DC to start any speech on Iraq with an acknowledgment of mistakes made and regrets for errors past. Apparently we live in a world of perfection in which it is only the mistakes that democracies make that are visible, and in which it is only the mistakes that democracies make in such difficult ventures as the liberation of Iraq that are worthy of comment. Well, it is true that missteps, many missteps—by the Coalition and indeed by Iraqis—have been made.
What we must aim for is far less imperfection than has been the case in these tough years of transition. Unlike dictatorships, however, we must learn from our mistakes because we have open debate. We can also put them into context. No error in Iraq should detract from our progress. Quibble the rationale for our liberation as much as some people may, nobody who has seen the mass graves, and we discover more of them almost every month, nobody who has met the victims, nobody who knows of our decades of suffering can look Iraqis in the eye and tell us that we would have been better off with Saddam Hussein still in power.
Oh, and by the way:
The alliance between the Ba’athists and jihadists which sustains Al-Qaeda in Iraq is not new, contrary to what you may have been told. I know this at first hand. Some of my friends were murdered by jihadists, by Al-Qaeda affiliated operatives who had been sheltered and assisted by Saddam’s regime.
You can read the whole thing here. Feel free to bombard me with vituperative comments; I can take it.
Finally, some news that is probably the last thing that I need to hear: drink and ye shall prosper. Learn more here.