Things As They Are: Juxtapositions
Wednesday, May 07, 2003
Thomas Pynchon on Orwell's 1984:
Orwell was amused at those of his colleagues on the left who lived in terror of being termed bourgeois. But somewhere among his own terrors may have lurked the possibility that, like Galsworthy, he might one day lose his political anger, and end up as one more apologist for Things As They Are. His anger, let us go so far as to say, was precious to him.
A German diplomat expressed concern that the US government is becoming too authoritarian:
The strained relations between Germany and the United States took a turn for the worse yesterday after a senior Berlin diplomat was reported to have told Foreign Ministry colleagues that America was turning into a "police state."
The comments of Jrgen Chrobog, the State Secretary, reported in the German Focus magazine, threatened to disrupt intense diplomatic efforts to repair the relationship between Gerhard Schrder, the Chancellor, and President Bush.
Herr Chrobog is said to have given a blistering critique of the US-German relationship during the annual meeting of German ambassadors, complaining that America was "restricting more and more its civic liberties at home."
The German Government said that Herr Chrobog's comments had been misrepresented, but at least one participant was struck by the "distanced, even sceptical tone he used when talking about the US Administration."
The US Embassy, sensing another brewing scandal, was unhappy. "If true, someone's made a big mistake," a diplomat said.
Chrobog was also Germany's ambassador to the US from 1995 until 2001.
Senator Byrd tells it like it is:
"I am loath to think of an aircraft carrier being used as an advertising backdrop for a presidential political slogan, and yet that is what I saw," Byrd said on the Senate floor.
A Bush spokesman clarifies that the President was seeking thrills:
President George W. Bush's dramatic jet landing aboard a US aircraft carrier last week was unnecessary, but he wanted to experience the risky maneuver, his spokesman said.
MEANWHILE, the US finds documentation that Iraq declined to buy uranium for weapons production because of the UN sanctions:
What began today as a hunt for an ancient Jewish text at secret police headquarters here wound up unearthing a trove of Iraqi intelligence documents and maps relating to Israel as well as offers of sales of uranium and other nuclear material to Iraq. . . . Of even greater interest to MET Alpha was a "top secret" intelligence memo found in a room on another floor. Written in Arabic and dated May 20, 2001, the memo from the Iraqi intelligence station chief in an African country described an offer by a "holy warrior" to sell uranium and other nuclear material. The bid was rejected, the memo states, because of the United Nations "sanctions situation." But the station chief wrote that the source was eager to provide similar help at a more convenient time.