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What Kind of Kook Has a Blog About The New Yorker?

Filed under: Letters & Challenges   Tagged: , , , , , ,

Why, the kind with a mom like mine. From this morning’s mail (I like the idea of email coming in tidy, triumphant bursts throughout the day, like the old postal mail, rather than alarmingly incessantly):
I’ve been keeping the April 10 2006 New Yorker on my bedside table, because I like to contemplate the cover (people looking across city rooftops; each rooftop has a Scrabble tile on it). Switch to…yesterday. I had just finished reading George Packer’s scathing article in the current N. Yorker about our betrayal of Iraqi translators etc loyal to US forces. Then Packer appeared on Charlie Rose - same topic - and again on Terry Gross, ditto plus his thoughts on the Surge, troop withdrawal etc.

Switch back to…the April 10th ‘06 issue. I idly glanced at the Index. Ha! a “Letter from Iraq,” by George Packer, titled “The Lesson of Tal Afar,” about Col. H.R. McMaster’s efforts a year ago to embed troops in an Iraqi community and “really listen to people,” rather than move in, shoot up the bad guys, and then leave. “Is it too late for the Administration to correct its course in Iraq?” asks the subtitle. Same Packer, same arguments, same frustrations, same war only worse - ALMOST EXACTLY A YEAR LATER! So now I have the Scrabble cover plus the vet cover on my table, for reference in the spring of ‘08.
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This American Life’s March 9 episode featured an Iraqi translator as one of its “acts.” Here’s the description, from the site:

Act Two. Kill the Messengers. Basim, an Iraqi national, worked as an interpreter for the U.S. Army. He talks with host Ira Glass about the time he had to purposely mistranslate in order to keep a situation from turning violent, as well as the day interpreters became the prime targets for insurgent assassins—even more prized than American soldiers. (22 minutes)

And here’s the link: This American Life episode #327.

That article was truly heartbreaking, as were the photos that accompanied it.

Sort of makes you wonder if anyone in the White House actually reads the magazine. Maybe they should receive a complimentary subscription, down the throat. Of course, I mean that in a nice, polite way.

This entire administration feels like the Twilight Zone sometimes. Every day I feel like I read the same articles, the same criticisms, the same drivel coming out of the mouths of the administration…and nothing changes. It’s eerie.

notbatgirlMarch 24, 2007
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