Tuesday, August 24, 2004
From at least early August, our prime minister in Iraq, former Baathist Iyad Allawi, has been calling the [chose one: young/ambitious/anti-American/fiery/rogue/radical/renegade/rebel/populist] cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and his followers "outlaws." Strangely enough, so has our Secretary of State Colin Powell. It's lovely, isn't it, that Allawi and Powell not only see things in such an eye-to-eye way, but are coordinating in such a mouth-to-mouth manner, linguistically speaking. We know this is so, because translation from the Arabic never gets in the way. Allawi, a former exile who like many of his confreres in the "interim administration," has planted his roots abroad (not to speak of possessing a British passport), expresses himself regularly in English. In fact, as our nightly TV news so often makes clear, the PM gives numerous news conferences in English (as do others among his colleagues). This evidently seems so natural to our press corps in Baghdad that no one even thinks to comment on it. But for just a moment, imagine the unimaginable. The President of the United States steps to the podium to begin a White House press conference and launches into Arabic. Oh well, I know it's too ridiculous to consider. But it certainly tells us something about where Allawi's prime audience lies and where he is trying hardest to solidify his base. Perhaps one day someone in the press will find this curious enough to make something of it.
Bush? Arabic? Whoa, he has a tough enough time with "nucular."
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