Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 25, 2006


Just got back from my brother's. So what's the news of the day?

Checking World News headlines on Yahoo I find these:


  1. Christmas sermons urge peace but Mideast violence rages on
  2. Ethiopia to use 'any appropriate means' against Somali Islamists


  1. Worship God not technology, Pope says on Christmas
  2. Ethiopian jets strike Somali airports


  1. Pope offers Christmas prayers for peace
  2. British troops kill 7 gunmen in Iraq
  3. Ethiopian jets bomb Mogadishu airport

So who did the Pope threaten with excommunication today? Did I miss something?

Posted by b on December 25, 2006 at 19:40 UTC | Permalink


So it's "gunmen" in Iraq now.

Merry Christmas.

Posted by: beq | Dec 25 2006 22:22 utc | 1

And James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, died early this morning. Rest in funk.

Posted by: catlady | Dec 25 2006 23:58 utc | 2


I think the Pope, like the Archbishop of Canterbury in Bethlehem, has been reduced to the "good cop" role in the goodcop/badcop, criminal farce playing Xmas day as everyday in the Middle East.

Their roles are to tsk-tsk and do nothing. Confirming the "quaintness" of spirituality in the "real world". Sort of like the Geneva Conventions. They both dress in funny, cute old costumes, like the Hula girls in Hawaii, to remind us of the good old days, before the death of our culture and civilization.

Posted by: John Francis Lee | Dec 26 2006 1:41 utc | 3

If you leave me, I'll go crazy.

RIP James Brown.

Posted by: Dismal Science | Dec 26 2006 1:50 utc | 4

one down, another how many to go. twas a succesful christmas, home early, not too drunk, not late.

recievd a cool palesinian book. grilled kambize, our iranian friend , a dr, on every imaginable aspect of life in america w/axis of evil on the doorstep. inhaled drugs,, drank enough/too much (not?), immersed in science debate since (don't know why) all my friends are scientists, feel well loved, my son is present.

slept in, ahh, a few days to go. i'll be in hamburg, another few days, holidays will be gone.. til next year..

wishing you all a successfull recuperation..

Posted by: annie | Dec 26 2006 4:41 utc | 5

Ethiopia Steps Up Attacks on Somalia

"The feelings are very bad, very confusing -- everywhere, it's confusing," said a businessman in Mogadishu who did not want to be identified. "I didn't expect this scale of war, but most Somalis, even if they were fighting each other before on a clan basis, they are united now against Ethiopia. And there's a feeling that the international community is not helping."
AP also reported that airstrikes hit a second airport, Baledogle Airport, outside Mogadishu.
But some analysts have expressed fear that Ethiopia's military calculation is seriously flawed, and that even if its superior military initially routs the Islamic movement, the ideologically driven militias will become only more motivated to pursue a guerrilla-style war or terrorist attacks across the region.
"Hasn't anyone heard of Iraq?" said John Prendergast, a senior analyst with the International Crisis Group in Washington. "A military strategy of 'countering terrorism' never works and will likely blow up in their faces."

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has maintained, however, that this is a war of self-defense and that dialogue has only bought the Islamic movement time to expand its control. He has repeatedly accused the Islamic movement of supporting secessionist Somali groups inside Ethiopia, and, along with the United States, has accused the movement of harboring terrorists, an allegation it has denied.
Analysts said the current crisis stems from another failure of U.S. policy in an increasingly vulnerable region. "All this could have been averted," Prendergast said. "If the U.S. joined a serious diplomatic effort aimed at finding a compromise between Ethiopia and the Courts, negotiations could have had a much better chance. Once the serious punching has started, it's going to be increasingly difficult to stop this brawl."

So what is this about?
Somalia - Natural resources
uranium and largely unexploited reserves of iron ore, tin, gypsum, bauxite, copper, salt, natural gas, likely oil reserves

Posted by: b | Dec 26 2006 6:37 utc | 6

The Ethiopian army is by far the best armed troops in sub-Saharan Africa. America has long seen Ethiopia as its major ally in Africa, and a staging ground. It's where the US Air Force can land its planes to sort of, you know, spy on the Middle East.

Earlier this year, Washington provided covert aid to an alliance of secular Somali warlords in a failed bid to prevent the Islamists from seizing Mogadishu, the capital. U.S. officials confirmed to McClatchy Newspapers that one recipient of the CIA payments was a leader of a Somali militia that killed 18 U.S. troops in 1993 in fighting in Mogadishu, which was portrayed in the film "Black Hawk Down."

One recipient of the payments was Abdi Hasan "Qaybdid" Awale, a former top aide to Mohammad Farah Aideed, the late militia leader whose forces killed 18 U.S. troops in the Battle of Mogadishu in March 1993, said U.S. officials, who requested anonymity because the matter remains classified.

Posted by: Sam | Dec 26 2006 11:03 utc | 7


what's so strange about that paradox? We allied ourselves with Stalin to drive out Hitler. We supported Saddam when he was at war with Iran.

Politics are the same in the international scene as they are for voters: you choose between the lesser of two weevils.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Dec 26 2006 12:52 utc | 8


what's so strange about that paradox?

Nothing strange at all Rlaph, they armed bin Laden too.

Posted by: Sam | Dec 26 2006 13:31 utc | 9

Just an aside, since someone else brought up Benedict...

It's been noted in other places that unless this photo has been significantly photoshopped, Ratzinger seems to be transforming into the evil Emperor from the Star Wars films. Seriously. "Separated-at-birth" kind of likeness going on there.

Posted by: Monolycus | Dec 26 2006 15:06 utc | 10


Ratzinger seems to be transforming into the evil Emperor from the Star Wars films.

With Henry as an advisor:

Pope Benedict XVI has invited Henry Kissinger, former adviser to Richard Nixon, to be a political consultant and he accepted.

he can’t go wrong

Posted by: Sam | Dec 26 2006 15:55 utc | 11

"what's so strange about that paradox?"

Nothing "strange" about arming bad guys and future enemies, in that it is quite common in US history. However, I don't see it as a "paradox". I see it as both immoral and stupid beyond belief. It only benefits the arms manufacturers and kills untold millions.

We have got to stop them.

Posted by: Susan | Dec 26 2006 20:35 utc | 12

The ethnic-religious divide in Africa runs roughly through 12-14 degrees N. latitude and pretty much bisects countries like Sudan and Nigeria where there is ongoing conflict, and forms the approximate boundary between Saharan and sub-Saharan Africa. It helps to explain what is going on in Darfur and I think is also expressed in the tensions now erupting between Somalia and Ethiopia. I am no authority on this but a fascinating book by Harm De Blig entitled "Why Geography Matters" goes into this in considerable detail.

The older I get the more cynical I get about the impact of religion on the world.

Posted by: RWH | Dec 26 2006 21:13 utc | 13

Monolycus: Ratzinger seems to be transforming into the evil Emperor from the Star Wars films. Seriously. "Separated-at-birth" kind of likeness going on there.

Gee, you don't say? ;-)

Posted by: Sizemore | Dec 27 2006 11:03 utc | 14

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