Political Animal


BATHING FOR CHRIST….May I please join the chorus of people whose jaws are hanging open after reading this story? Via Atrios, the San Jose Mercury News reports on a special brand of war profiteer:

In this dry desert world near Najaf, where the Army V Corps combat support system sprawls across miles of scabrous dust, there’s an oasis of sorts: a 500-gallon pool of pristine, cool water. It belongs to Army chaplain Josh Llano of Houston, who sees the water shortage – which has kept thousands of filthy soldiers from bathing for weeks – as an opportunity.

“It’s simple. They want water. I have it, as long as they agree to get baptized,” he said.

….First, though, the soldiers have to go to one of Llano’s hour-and-a-half sermons in his dirt-floor tent. Then the baptism takes an hour of quoting from the Bible.

….He calls himself a “Southern Baptist evangelist,” and justifies the war and killing with a verse from the Gospel of Matthew, which he often recites: “Give unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.”

Why does this guy have 500 gallons of water? Why is he allowed to proselytize on the government’s dime? Why does the army put up with this?

This guy must be reading a different version of the Bible than I read when I was a kid. He’s a disgrace to Christians everywhere.

MORE POLLS….I don’t want to

MORE POLLS….I don’t want to be responsible for a mass wave of people jumping off buildings after they read about the poll results below, so I should add that there were a couple of pieces of good news:

  • Two-thirds of Americans think we should kill Bush’s tax cut entirely. You know, wartime and all.

  • Most of the poll respondents think the UN should take the lead role in postwar Iraq.

Sorry, that seems to be it for good news today. Full poll results are here.

THE LATEST POLLS….It’s predictable that

THE LATEST POLLS….It’s predictable that support for the Iraq war has risen since the war started, but even so the latest Los Angeles Times poll is just depressing:

Most Americans now express support for an expansive U.S. role in the Middle East, with….half endorsing military action against Iran if it continues to develop nuclear weapons, according to a new Los Angeles Times poll.

….More than three-fourths of Americans ? including two-thirds of liberals and 70% of Democrats ? now say they support the decision to go to war. And more than four-fifths of these war supporters say they still will back the military action even if allied forces don’t find evidence of weapons of mass destruction.

….Americans are divided almost in half when asked whether the United States should take military action against Syria, which Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has accused of providing Iraq with military supplies. Syria has denied the accusation. But 42% said the United States should take action if Syria, in fact, provides aid to Iraq, while 46% said no.

With a mere whisper from Donald Rumsfeld, apparently, Americans are now in favor of expanding the war to Syria and Iran, and virtually none of the war supporters even pretends to care whether Saddam really had WMDs in the first place.

So maybe I’m wrong. Not only would Americans not be scared off by the neocon grand plan if they knew about it, they might even think the neocons were a little too prissy in their goals.

And elsewhere in the Times, it looks like we can add Saudi Arabia to the list:

Young Saudis Eager to Battle Americans

“Here, 60 people I know have already gone to Iraq, and more will go if they can. Not only me. Everyone in my age and group,” said a 17-year-old student who would give only his first name, Badr.

….At the Al Rajkhi mosque in the heart of the city, hundreds of men listened to Sheik Suleiman Alwan’s booming voice as he condemned the war:

“Since the 11th of September, the Americans have been fishing in murky water. They called Muslims barbarians, Tatars. They called them every ugly name they could think of.

“But look at them now, what they’re doing. The American Army and government — are they doing any better? Are the blood and the organs of Iraqi people less precious, or are they children of a different God?”

Bill Kristol must be a very happy man right now.

ANALYZING BUCKLEY….Yesterday I wondered aloud

ANALYZING BUCKLEY….Yesterday I wondered aloud what William F. Buckley’s latest column was all about. Reader Jon Malkin suggests the following:

I think it’s an attempt at computer-generated column writing. Specifically, I think it’s n-gram column generation. The program analyzes his previous columns to get the probability of each word given the previous two, three, or four words, and then uses that information to generate new sentences.

On the other hand, uggabugga doesn’t think there’s any mystery about the column at all, and has a nice little chart that explains the whole thing.