Monday, March 05, 2007



I drove across Asia-- Istanbul to Columbo-- in 2 years. That's Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal in 2 years. I took my time and managed to get acclimated to each place. Well... not Pakistan; I couldn't get out of that hellhole fast enough. But all the others... I loved them all and wished I could have stayed for years in each one. (I write about them at my travel blog from time to time, the Around the World Blog.

I can remember this one day in Agra, home of the Taj Mahal. I had slept in my VW camper for nearly two years. I hadn't seen the inside of a hotel in all that time but I was on my way back to Europe. I had been so impressed with the subtle beauty of the Taj that I had decided to return for one last sunrise and one last sunset at one of the most exquisite accomplishments ever executed by Man. In between I had decided to splurge and relax in a swimming pool at some fancy brand-name hotel, just like the tourists. And, in fact, I ran into some.

It was a gaggle of Americans on an around the world flight. They were exhausted after a day of heavy duty shopping in Hong Kong the day before and they had decided to ignore the Taj and spend the day at the pool, recuperating from the rigors of Hong Kong before getting back on their 15 countries in 14 days airplane ride. I didn't try to dissaude them; after all it was only the most incredible thing ever built. At least they weren't destroying it.

That brings us to George W. Bush. A couple weeks ago I mentioned how Bush and Hulagu Khan will go down in history as the two savages who destroyed, several centuries apart, the great city of Baghdad. Iraq, it turns out, was only the first on Bush's ambitious agenda of destruction and devastation.

My friend David hipped me to an interview Amy Goodman did with Wes Clark at Democracy Now on Friday. It's a lot more ambitious than my 6 countries in 2 years or those tourists' I met in Agra 15 in 14 days. Turns out the Bush Regime had some well-laid out, at least to look at-- plans to attack 7 countries in 5 years. I expect that one day the transcript of Clark's interview will be entered into evidence at a War Crimes Tribunal for Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, et. al.

He talks about a visit to the Pentagon about 10 days after 9/11. After seeing Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz he went "downstairs to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to work for me, and one of the generals called me in.

He said, "Sir, you've got to come in and talk to me a second." I said, "Well, you're too busy." He said, "No, no." He says, "We've made the decision we're going to war with Iraq." This was on or about the 20th of September. I said, "We're going to war with Iraq? Why?" He said, "I don't know." He said, "I guess they don't know what else to do." So I said, "Well, did they find some information connecting Saddam to al-Qaeda?" He said, "No, no." He says, "There's nothing new that way. They just made the decision to go to war with Iraq." He said, "I guess it's like we don't know what to do about terrorists, but we've got a good military and we can take down governments." And he said, "I guess if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail."

So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, "Are we still going to war with Iraq?" And he said, "Oh, it's worse than that." He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, "I just got this down from upstairs" -- meaning the Secretary of Defense's office -- "today." And he said, "This is a memo that describes how we're going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran." I said, "Is it classified?" He said, "Yes, sir." I said, "Well, don't show it to me." And I saw him a year or so ago, and I said, "You remember that?" He said, "Sir, I didn't show you that memo! I didn't show it to you!"

This morning's Washington Post complains Bush's doomed plans for Iraq have no back-up strategy. There is no Plan B. Let's hope.

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