Monday, May 22, 2006

The Lie of Progress in Iraq

The right-wing press is full of soft-focus stories of the "things are looking up in Iraq and boy, if only the mainstream media would cover it, maybe Bush's approval numbers wouldn't be so low" variety.

These stories are lies. I have proof. It's not the daily bombings and massacres; it's not the sectarian feuds or even the threat from Iran—it's something much more insidious.

According to ABC News, one of the most popular recording artists in Iraq is Lionel Richie. Yes, my heart sank when I heard it, too. Apparently this story was the subject of an episode of Nightline that I didn't watch (who watches Nightline, anyway?) from Friday. What could be more dangerous to a fragile society than repeatedly having to hear "Dancing on the Ceiling"? Even one viewing of that video is enough to spark a spate of kidnappings and a mosque bombing or two.

Unfortunately, it doesn't stop with Iraq. The article notes that Richie has performed all over the Arab world, including Morocco (site of numerous recent terror bombings) and Libya (I don't even have to tell you). When reached for comment, Richie said, "I'm huge, huge in the Arab world. The answer as to why is, I don't have the slightest idea."

Well, the answer is obvious. Much of the Arab world is hooked on rage and violence. No doubt the jihadists, like hockey players getting psyched up for a game by listening to Metallica, listen to "Say You, Say Me" to whip themselves up into the homicidal frenzy necessary to immolate themselves at a checkpoint or a resort hotel frequented by Jewish tourists.

We should help the Iraqis form a government and rebuild their infrastructure, yes, but perhaps the best thing we can do is send them a boatload of pre-programmed iPods. Lionel is bad enough. If they ever discover Nicole, we're all doomed.
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