Thursday, April 10, 2003

I join Bruce Rolston (permalinks still broken; see below) in saying that the "Monty Python Black Knight" jokes are not the best way of making fun of Iraq's former Information Minister, Muhammed al-Sahhaf, particularly with all of the genuinely dismembered Iraqis crowding the hospitals in Baghdad.

It's not just tasteless, it's unoriginal.

I was actually starting to look forward to seeing al-Sahhaf explain personally to American infantrymen on patrol how, as members of the cowardly, infidel invading forces, they would die a coward's death in the city that would be their graveyard, after which they would spend eternity in a thousand hells. I'm sure that, with their personal interest in these matters, they would have asked a few questions that didn't occur to members of the working press.

And he only missed his chance by a day. Such a pity.

Then again, there's the joke now reportedly circulating among his fellow Arabs, who know him better than us: "When al-Sahhaf died they sent him 63 angels. Three of them are asking him questions about his life, and 60 are trying to convince him that he's really dead"...

By the way, if you read French, these portraits of American soldiers are worth a look. One of their reporters spent three weeks with the Third Infantry Division, and met some interesting characters: A batallion commander who plays den mother and drill sergeant by turns as need requires; she may be the only female batallion commander in the division, but she doesn't know for sure, and doesn't much care. A sergeant with a mischievous look and a carefully guarded stash of cologne for whom the Army is less an adventure than a job -- a good job for blacks, he hastens to add, but he's not sure there'd be a war on if rich kids got drafted. An angel-faced nineteen year old fuel-tanker driver from Arizona, "in her element" in the Iraqi desert, who trusts in Jesus to keep enemy artillery away from her cargo; after military service, she'd like to be a nurse -- she can be very gentle, she says, and has nothing but fisticuffs for the "mockers" in her unit who dare to disagree. Very worth a read.


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