Withdrawing Bush – My new favourite quote…

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Just had to write this down somewhere:

“Just his being there for five hours makes a statement. It told the Iraqi people: ‘I’m with you.
I stand behind you. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m getting the fuck out of here.'”
— Rob Corddry, on George Bush’s surprise visit to Baghdad Tuesday.

Evening Standard photo

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“On 9 April 2003, the front page of the London Evening Standard (circulation: 400,000) contained a blurry image supposedly showing a throng of Iraqis in Baghdad celebrating the toppling of Saddam Hussein. What we are really looking at is an incredibly ham-fisted attempt at photo manipulation.”

First Day in a Hotel

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I spent my first night in an Oxfordshire hotel last night. It was an eery time, especially in the imposing manor that would be my home for 4 days. Sunday nights in hotels are apparently the quietest time, according to the receptionist and as I looked around, taking in the huge ornate drawing room and dark wood of the reception’s balcony, I hoped that I would find something to occupy my mind.
As it happens, I didn’t find anything remotely interesting, so I trundled off to the restaurant for my evening meal. It was pleasant enough, but once again the place was deserted – my only company was a couple of old age pensioners and a rather underworked waiter. The high point came during my main course, when, from the kitchen, the chef enjoyed possibly the largest sneeze I have ever heard, followed by an anguished cry: “Oh Christ, has anyone got a tissue?” I thanked god that my main meal was already on the table, and pitied the poor sods next to me as their meal came out seconds later.
As I watched the latest bombing on Iraq after I’d returned to my room, I began to feel a little isolated. My particular room block was as far as possible away from the main building, and I felt a little vulnerable, being one of only 5 residents in the hotel. As a particularly loud and devasting bomb was filmed landing in Baghdad, the lights suddenly went out. My entire room was in darkness, and it took a full five seconds for me to assume the worst – the Iraqi army had arrived in Oxfordshire. I scrambled to get my shoes on, and bumped my way out of the room. The whole place was in darkness, and as I reached reception, I found bunker mentality had already set in – the old dears were discussing the war, their entire lives, and demanding milk for their tea, which must have been luke warm at best. The manager informed us that this was the first test for the backup generator. It dawned on us that it had blatently failed. The imposing architecture of the building’s interior just looked plain scary, and for the next 30 minutes, we huddled in darkness. Finally, after one old girl regailed us with a ‘hilarious’ tale, the lights turned on again, and we tottered back.
And that was only my first day…

Baghdad Blogger

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I posted a couple of days ago about a weblog called Dear Raed, written by a man in Baghdad observing the current war. Since then, the website have become very popular, with loads of hits a day. Now there appears to be a great deal of debate about whether he’s real or not: Paul Boutin has posted his latest analysis, and comes out in favour.

Nick’s Housewarming

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My new clean-living lifestyle has only one side effect: when I do actually go to party and drink recklessly, I feel utterly, utterly dreadful the next morning. I took Nick’s housewarming party last night as a clear opportunity to drink most of a bottle of vodka, as we partied in his lovely new house. The 42 inch TV in the corner gave us the surreal situation of slowly getting leathered while watching bombs dropping on Baghdad. The US forces’ ‘shock and awe’ tactics of bombing the hell out of Iraq went into action – the shock was somewhat numbed by the alcohol, but I was certainly in awe. This war is being televised more than any other conflict, and it’s grippingly horrifying.

An iraqi perspective

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The war must be on – my dad hasn’t left the chair in front of the television since 7am this morning. A different perspective from the usual dramatic TV news is an Iraqi weblog from inside Baghdad. “Raed” writes an online diary, and updates it whenever he can dodge the bombs. Visit his website – “Where is Raed ?“.