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Of one thing, however, there can be no doubt. Iraqi barbers are, hands down, the fastest in the world. You can’t see the blades on the scissors because they are going so fast. Just like the blades on an airplane propeller. It reminded me of one of those Japanese restaurants where the chef is slicing and dicing the shrimp right in front of you. The knife blade can hardly be seen and the guy always finishes up with a big flourish, as if performing a grand finale at the Fourth of July fireworks.
That is how he finished my haircut — with a sharp crack on the top of my head with the side of the scissors. One of the women in the office says I look “much younger.”
4) Arabs write “backwards,” that is, from right to left. Book pages are also numbered from “back to front,” at least by our standards. The way I have noticed this is that manila folders containing our files are all placed “backward” in the filing cabinets!! I can’t find a thing!
5) The temperature outside our office yesterday was 129 degrees!!! That is hot! Thank God it’s dry heat. All you feel is very deep, searing pain without any of the stickiness that accompanies humidity.
6) A few moments ago the following story came across my computer from the AP:
“A militant strapped with more than 100 pounds of explosives and disguised in an Army uniform blew himself up in a crowded mess-hall Wednesday…The blast killed 26 soldiers.”
How the hell does ANYONE get into ANYPLACE with 100 pounds of explosives strapped to himself?! He must have looked like that Michelin tire character. Where are the sniffer dogs? Where are the security checks? Where are the magnetometers? How many times must the Iraqis fall prey to this same kind of attack before they wise up and start to protect themselves? This attack illustrates the reckless stupidity of some Iraqi commanding officers.
7) One of the untold stories about the war and its immediate aftermath is that we may never know or understand the extent of the damage caused by the wholesale looting carried out by Iraqis after Saddam was ousted.
Post-war looting was savage and absolutely breathtaking in its scope. It resulted in the destruction of much of Iraq’s industrial infrastructure. I believe that the looting resulted in far more damage than was caused by the U.S. Air Force during the war itself. Personal observation has shown me the Americans did engage in “surgical” destruction that brought a lot of truth to the meaning of that overused term. They destroyed what needed to be destroyed for purposes of winning the war. The rest was left untouched. MANY “stones were left unturned.” If someone in the targeting office decided we didn’t need to break this building or that bridge, the thing was left alone, even if everything else around it was knocked down.
We all saw lots of looting on TV after the end of the war. Thousands of people walking off with furniture, mattresses, TV’s, computers, and God knows how many other things. That was bad enough but the looting I am talking about is the senseless destruction of factories and power plants with explosives and sledgehammers and whatever other weapon was available.
We now receive proposals “to rebuild, replace, and rehabilitate” hundreds of millions of dollars worth of electric power sources that were in working condition even after the war. Then the looters arrived! All the proposals very frankly point out that much of the damage in need of repair was caused by looters. No one seems to really know exactly why it happened, but it is very clear that a great deal of the damage in Iraq was caused by the Iraqis themselves in some paroxysm of destruction. Obviously, it is the Iraqis themselves who today are paying the price for that fit of insanity.
Somewhere in the Defense Department there must be someone (I hope there is someone) who is asking the question: “How the hell did nobody think of the possibility of looting?”
8) You may recall my driver Osama. He is the guy who almost got both of us killed when he tried to pass a convoy of Humvees.
It turns out that Osama is the world’s most brilliant handyman. He can literally fix anything — a car, an electric generator, an M-5 carbine, a clock, a vacuum cleaner, an oven, a cell phone or all the plumbing in the house. No matter the size or nature of the problem, or the extent of the damage, Osama can have it working again in no time.
At one time only the outlets on the north side of my room worked. After a short house visit from Osama, everything works. Osama is now my best friend in Iraq.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?