Trenchant Lemmings
Pointed missives thrown blindly into the void, there to pass unnoticed and unloved.
Nothing of Interest Here

First, an epigram:
At the same time, I learnt that you always lose. Only the bastards think they win.
Jean-Paul Sartre*
"Yeah but what would that commo surrender-monkey know about it?"

Trawling through various newspapers' letters pages on Friday, I couldn't help noticing that only a few of the pro-war writers could celebrate the fall of Saddam without turning such into a gloating attack on the anti-war movement. This approach to jubilation gives the impression that the liberation itself occurs some way down the list of what these people are actually celebrating. Let's hope that's a false impression. The opportunities pro-war commentators are taking to settle ideological scores entirely unconnected to the situation in Iraq contrasts neatly with their scorn for anyone on the anti-war side who devotes even a skerrick of attention to anything other than triumphant proclamations of Iraqi liberation.

I'm not complaining though. I've been taught a salutary lesson about assessing the potential costs of war - a lesson that will save me a lot of time spent needlessly reading and thinking for myself. The next time we decide to liberate someone, I'll know to ignore the assessments of humanitarian agencies, military experts, veteran war reporters, public officials and intelligence agencies, and open myself, innocent and accepting, to the soothing words of those who know best, and hope that they're right. Because there's no reason to believe they won't ever, ever be wrong, regardless of how many, many opportunities they pursue to be so.

Here's Peter Preston in the Observer talking about the "I told you so" position in the UK.

I notice in passing that on Friday (3:26 PM post) Tim Blair was still trying to nail Media Watch for Insect Metaphor Hypocrisy. Let it go, Tim.

If you're into conspiracy theories (and old news), this is a beauty.
Saddam Hussein's secret archives could already be in Moscow despite American Central Intelligence Agency's bid to block their evacuation by firing at the Russian diplomatic convoy near Baghdad on Sunday...
From the Times of India, found via William Gibson's collection of web bric-a-brac (scroll down).

* I hasten to point out that I discovered that in a book of quotes while looking for something else, not wanting to give an impression of well-read intellectualism.
† Those of you who have anything of value to do should probably skip this. As for the rest of us, let's find our pin head, line up those angels and watch 'em dance.
Mr Blair notes that Paul McGeough used the term "locusts" to describe the actions of looters in Baghdad and expects therefore that David Marr will serve Mr McGeough up with the same benign scolding MW gave Miranda Devine for her description of non-Iraqi volunteers as "cockroaches". Well, let's see -
A cockroach is generally understood as the verminous insect infesting domestic living areas. As a metaphor, it is a general pejorative, or a more specific pejorative enfolding the concepts of "unhygienic things" and "unpleasant things hidden or about to hidden from view". It is always an insult, and has no other metaphorical usage with the possible exception of "things capable of surviving a nuclear war".
A locust is a type of grasshopper, best known for migrating in voracious swarms. As a metaphor, the term is used to refer to the kind of fast and/or massive resource stripping associated with the swarm. It can be pejorative: "They're like locusts. They're moving from planet to planet...their whole civilization. After they've consumed every natural resource they move on...and we're next." Or not: "Those children went through that table of cupcakes like a swarm of locusts!"
So, kids, here's your starter for ten: you're a deadline-pressed foreign correspondent looking for a pithy figure of speech that clearly conveys the speed and completeness with which a group of people have stripped a building of everything in it. What word do you choose? Careful now, you'll lose marks for mentioning arthropods!
A-a-nd we're done.

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