Mourning In America

A New York Democrat on politics, journalism, and the Mets

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Tuesday, December 23, 2003
Still Too Good to Check Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo seeks to debunk the reports that Saddam was actually captured by the Kurds, not the U.S. However, while he raises some very strong points questioning the credibility of the reporter who originally wrote the story in Britain's Sunday Express, he concedes that he hasn't done any additional reporting on his own.

In the absence of that proof, I prefer to cling to the fantasy that it might be true -- if nothing else, as a Christmas gift to conspiracy theorists everywhere.

Monday, December 22, 2003
Scenes From a City on Alert The Grand Central subway station is known as home to a wide cast of rotating entertainers as part of the MTA's Music Under the City program. Today, however, passengers descending the stairs got some unplanned entertainment, from a 40-something African American woman who had positioned herself between the escalators. Here's a sampling of her schpiel:
Bush attacked America, and now he's going to feel our justice! Tom Ridge said there's a female suicide bomber in New York City. I am the female suicide bomber!

Gotta love the fact that, despite coming less than 24 hours after the terror alert was raised, the woman's pitch barely rated a raised eyebrow from the assorted salarymen and women, who were focused only on getting downtown.

Later today, outside the Borders bookstore on Wall Street, this was overheard, proving that people in New York (can't tell from the context whether it was a tourist or a native), still have their proper sense of proportion:

... and I'll tell you another thing I don't like about the Four Seasons...

Sunday, December 21, 2003
Too Good to Check Proto-blogger Mickey Kaus uses this line for stories that seem a bit fanciful, but go so far towards advancing massive conspiracy theories that they're too much fun to dismiss out of hand. This wire story (the second most-emailed story on Yahoo today) definitely falls into that category. Making it better: Although the original source for the story is a "British Sunday Newspaper," Yahoo's version is from an organ of the Axis of Weasel: Agence France-Presse.
Saddam Hussein was captured by US troops only after he had been taken prisoner by Kurdish forces, drugged and abandoned ready for American soldiers to recover him, a British Sunday newspaper said.

Saddam came into the hands of the Kurdish Patriotic Front after being betrayed to the group by a member of the al-Jabour tribe, whose daughter had been raped by Saddam's son Uday, leading to a blood feud, reported the Sunday Express, which quoted an unnamed senior British military intelligence officer.


An unnamed Western intelligence source in the Middle East told the Express: "Saddam was not captured as a result of any American or British intelligence. We knew that someone would eventually take their revenge, it was just a matter of time."

Is Dean Owed an Apology? The background color change isn't just to pay homage to the Mets. Tom Ridge has raised our nation's terror threat assessment. For those keeping score at home, that's one level higher than when Saddam Hussein was captured. Let's spell it out: We're at higher risk of a terrorist attack today than when Hussein was captured. Sounds like Howard Dean wasn't too far from the mark when assessing the practical importance of Saddam's capture.