Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Lexus And The Olive Tree Ball Cap And The Browning












According to a BBC report from Sirte, the Libyan rebel who discovered Qaddafi, a kid named Mohammed al-Bibi, was wearing a New York Yankees baseball cap at the time. That's him in the photo, holding up a gold-plated Browning P-35 pistol that he took from Qaddafi. (An excellent pistol, by the way; I used to have one myself, but just in plain blued steel.)

There are surely more important things to say about the end of Qaddafi, but I'm kind of struck by the weird mashup of cultural artifacts in that photo: dusty peasant militiamen, designer sunglasses, American ball caps, and a pimped-out pistol made in Belgium. There is a story about globalization and consumption somewhere in there, twisted around a political narrative about oppression and post-colonial violence.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think the WH delayed confirming this for so many hours because they had to make sure he didn't have a signed picture from Condi Rice. gwb

Anonymous said...

TSB: On the same day we rid ourselves of that Libyan guy we finally get the scoop on the real reason for the War in Iraq... from Chirac!! gwb

A French Revelation, or The Burning Bush
JAMES A. HAUGHT
http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=library&page=haught_29_5

TSB said...

It's pure historical revisionism to say "for six years, Americans really haven’t known why [Bush] launched the unnecessary Iraq attack."

Bush didn't (and couldn't) act alone, and the reasons for the war were never a mystery. The War Powers Resolution of 2002 listed a dozen causes such as Saddam's non-compliance with the 1991 ceasefire, the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, the brutal repression of the Iraqi people, the use of chemical weapons against the Iraqi people, the payment of bounties to suicide bombers, and so on. Alleged WMD programs were only one of the causes. Both houses of Congress voted for it; in the Senate, the majority of Democrats did.

Many people had buyers remorse later (although apparently Bush has not), and they have indulged in convenient amnesia.

Anonymous said...

TSB: I'm not revising, just reporting what Chirac recently said about Bush's personal appeal to him. It's the 1st time he's confirmed the 2007 story.

Subsequently, ex-President Chirac confirmed the nutty event in a long interview with French journalist Jean-Claude Maurice, who tells the tale in his new book, Si Vous le Répétez, Je Démentirai (If You Repeat it, I Will Deny), released in March by the publisher Plon.

Anonymous said...

It looks to me that Chirac did everything he could to prevent the war and thought Bush was a religious nut case. The French lost 51 soldiers thru 2007 and Chirac spoke his mind when he was out of office. Viva La France! gwb

Neil said...

TSB-

I was also struck by the artifacts of globalization. I keep coming back to the photo and contemplating its deeper meanings. I enjoyed your post.

CN

TSB said...

Neil,

Thanks very much for your comment. It's a funny world, but it seems like Western consumer products are a common language now.

TSB said...

GWB,

Chirac's "revelation" seems to be that Bush spoke in a Protestant idiom, which is no revelation at all since Bush's public rhetoric was obviously strongly influenced by the language of the King James Version). And even then you have to dial it down to account for Chirac's own dubious history and his likely motivation. Plus, you have to wonder why Bush spoke this way to Chirac alone; why not to Tony Blair and the many other leaders that he was far closer to?

My complaint is with the author of that piece, who is gliding over major historical facts - like the 2002 vote and the actual language of the resolution that passed - to make a phony case for Bush as some kind of Joan of Arc mystic who was able to invade Iraq all by himself with no hindrance from the administration, Congress, Pentagon, press, etc.

I'd prefer that he just honestly ridicule Bush for being a religious believer - which was obviously his only motive - instead of presenting his sneer as a 'Now It Can Be Told Why Bush Invaded Iraq' exposé.

Anonymous said...

Ok TSB: Sorry to bring up that old argument. Someone said Romney has had 5 positions on Libya; on Afghanistan he said he'd appoint a committee to study it. But all the R candidates are definitely for that war on Iran!
(Except for that invisible guy who keeps harping on the fact that we're broke.) gwb

TSB said...

GWB,

Yeah, and it looks like the other Republicans, and half of the news media, are ready to declare war on Ron Paul because he won't declare war on Iran.

Anonymous said...

TSB: I wonder how much State projected to spend on this a few years ago? 25% of the total overseas budget?? gwb

the State Department is looking to spend upwards of $30 billion on Iraq over the next five years, and that diplomatic relations in the 2012 fiscal year alone with accumulate for around a tenth of that, which The Atlantic reveals is around one-fourth of the Department of State’s global operations budget. (This was in Ruskie Today)

TSB said...

Congress dictates what mission will be funded in Iraq, and they appropriated 5.2 billion for next year, and another 3 or so billion for Af/Pak. The rest of the foreign affairs budget was cut by 20%.

I don't think that Iraq effort will continue beyond a year or two, since all the congressional (and public) interest in Iraq will end when the military leaves. The circus is leaving town, and the money will go with it.