Tuesday, April 22, 2003

I am now a few days into my Easter break. What have I achieved? Little. Perhaps ten pages of reading for a looming politics essay. My day has been one fairly typical of the holidays: I rose at 5:40pm, ate breakfast outside so as to soak up what little remaining sun there was, and then settled into a night of slothful television watching. I am now typing at my sister's laptop. It is 3:07am, and my pyjamas are beginning to smell rancid. I love it. I really do. In short amounts - days of this becomes soul-destroying - such removal from a world of schedules and personal hygiene is edifying.

But that's not really what I want to post about. What I wanted to comment on, briefly, is what I consider to be one of the stranger parts of America's post-war activities in Iraq. I am referring to the sets of 'Iraq's Most Wanted' playing cards that have been distributed amongst the American soldiers. You've seen them on the news. With Saddam as the Ace of Spades, his son-in-law Jamal Mustafa Abdallah Sultan as the Nine of Clubs and various others in-between, the deck is the U.S. Government's way of showing the media and the world that they mean business - Las Vegas-style, as it were.

My qualm about the deck is that it seems - to say the least - a flippant choice, and even a cynical one. After all, it's not like America hasn't already been accused of having a Hollywood-style approach to foreign policy. It's all fine and well that they may have a list of wanted men from the former regime, but playing cards? Does this mean that we're soon to see a set of "OPEC Leaders We'd Like To Assassinate" commemorative plates? And how about a "Jacques Chirac" doormat for the Presidential ranch? I'm sure Franklin Mint and eBay would really appreciate the business.

(As an afterthought, it strikes me as a pity that George W. and the Iraqi Information Minister, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, weren't included as jokers in the now-famous deck.)

Meanwhile, in other news, Paul McCartney has called for a ban on cluster bombs. Will anyone care? Will anything be done? And will Bono move to sue for breach of trademark political action? Only time will tell.

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