Category Archives: USA

Afghanistan, September 11, 2002 and Land Mines

Afghanistan signs the Ottawa Convention banning anti-personnel mines on September 11, 2002 while Iraq, Israel and the USA (and 46 others) still have not.

With North America (at least) dwelling on commemorative events surrounding the first anniversary of September 11, 2001, odd ironies were at play elsewhere in the world as that day, Afghanistan signed the Ottawa Convention banning anti-personnel mines.

There are still unanswered questions about who is functionally in charge of Afghanistan (and if the big W is pulling strings, or the big W’s string pullers, whatever) and why that day was chosen. What kind of political value would there be, and for who, to orchestrate that event on that key day? Is it a sign of the White House’s total domination of the enemy that is/was Afghanistan that they signed on that day?

146 countries have signed, ratified, or agreed to be bound by the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, also known as the Ottawa Convention banning anti-personnel mines. They are listed here.

49 countries haven’t signed the treaty as of this month, including some notables: Iraq, Israel, and the USA.

And while political posturing prevents more countries from signing, Canada’s light shines as an example of how other states COULD operate.

Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham attributes, “much of the remarkable progress achieved to date to an unprecedented level of cooperation and coordination between governments, international organizations and NGOs.”

I wonder who will sign on September 11, 2003.

Is George W. Bush a Moron or a Poet?

Wednesday this week: the big W comments on his status as a poet while Chretien’s press secretary uses the word moron. Who’s right?

I’m not a fan of the big W’s folksy self-deprecating mask. It makes me nervous.

In an excerpt below from the text of joint statements made Wednesday at NATO meetings in Prague by the big W and Vaclav Havel, former jailed playwright and current President of the Czech Republic, the big W is initially addressing Havel, then he begins to take questions from reporters.

[Beginning of excerpt.]

“PRESIDENT BUSH: Mr. President, thank you for having us. This is an historic meeting, an historic city, an historic country led by an historic figure.

“I’ll answer some questions.

“Q: I have one question for President Bush, and a second question for President Havel.

“President Bush, you have said some lofty words here. The Czech Republic —

“PRESIDENT BUSH: I said some what?

“Q: Lofty words. (Laughter.)

“PRESIDENT BUSH: No one has ever accused me of being a poet before, but thank you. (Laughter.)”

[End of excerpt.]

Also on Wednesday in Prague, Chretien’s press secretary, Françoise Ducros, was overheard by reporters calling W a moron in a seemingly private conversation with another reporter. Today, Chretien refused to accept Ducros’ resignation.

Good for him.

The question that remains is this: is the big W and poet or moron or (terrifyingly) neither?