Saturday, January 6, 2007

Good winds in Washington

It’s reassuring to see a female Democrat of Italian origins in charge of the US Congress. As soon as she took her stand on Capitol Hill, Nancy Pelosi reminded George W Bush that "it is the responsibility of the president to articulate a new plan for Iraq that makes it clear to the Iraqis that they must defend their own streets and their own security". It was nice too, from a folkloric viewpoint, to see a converted Muslim congressman taking the oath on a copy of the Koran that once belonged to Thomas Jefferson... although I feel that this swearing-in rite, performed using an allegedly sacred document, is a ridiculous concept in the context of US politicians, many of whom have proved themselves to be outright liars.

Yesterday in Paris, speaking to foreign diplomats, Jacques Chirac used exceptionally strong language in his criticism of US policy in Iraq. He referred to the war as "an adventure started in March 2003 by the USA", and he affirmed: "As France foresaw and feared, the war in Iraq has sparked major changes that have not yet unfolded all their effects." In particular, according to Chirac, that war has "offered terrorism a new field for expansion". In simple words that echoed those of Nancy Pelosi, the French president concluded that "the priority, more than ever, is to give back to Iraqis their total responsibility".

In the light of the current situation in Iraq, I look back with interest upon a small satirical website that I started to build in May 2003, at the beginning of the conflict in Iraq. Back in those days, Bush and his friends were talking nonstop about mythical things referred to as WMD (weapons of mass destruction), and this empty talk reminded me of medieval Christian knights in their perpetual search for the Holy Grail. So, I tried to create a modern version of this quest. The website is still sitting there where I started to build it, at, but it wasn't particularly funny (and not even very meaningful unless you happened to be familiar with the legends of the Holy Grail). So, I never publicized it. And today, it probably belongs to the category referred to by a nice-sounding Internet expression: legacy sites.

In the near future, it will be interesting to see how the term "legacy" is applied to events of the Bush era. While awaiting the main dishes, which countless journalists and intellectuals are no doubt starting to cook up, I love the following cocktail item (complete with pretzels):

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