Oh dear. The lame-duck White House wants to deal with the calamity in Gaza by having Condoleeza Rice cancel a planned trip to China (sadly deferring her acquisition of a new suite of cheap Chanel knock-offs) and devote herself entirely to the hourly magnifying humanitarian crisis--after having sabotaged a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire. How precious.
One must stop for a minute here and stand in grateful awe before the leaders of the free world at work, as they provide the most effective conflict-resolution brokerage since Whitehall decided to use the Red Devils as moderating interfaces between thuggish Ulsterites and Catholic civil rights marchers.
To justify the craven American rejection of the proposed cease-fire, U.S. deputy ambassador Alejandro Wolff risibly suggested that such a resolution might not work (would have no "underpinning for success", as he put it). Yes, I suppose the U.S. prefers to put its power and prestige behind safe, sure-fire, can't-miss projects, like invading Iraq, invading Afghanistan, and deposing Haitian presidents. I mean, why gamble on something that just might help, especially when failure would do no harm, when it wouldn't carry the fascinating drama of thousands of dead and maimed, and when it wouldn't reduce the "liberated" folks to eating dirt?
Closer to home (far too close for my comfort), we see that a Muslim family, all Americans, got ejected from an AirTran flight for being overheard making a "suspicious remark about airplane security". Apparently, two of their number were discussing what the safest seat on a plane is, a fairly common topic of discussion, I'll warrant--on planes and elsewhere. In today's America, though, you can talk about that sort of thing while holding a Rosary, but broaching that topic whilst wearing "funny-looking" headgear is deeply ill-advised. Now, given that AirTran is the new name of ValuJet, defunct purveyor of discount flying coffins, the bitwits who ratted the family out may have actually done them a huge favour.
What's fascinating here is the philosophical approach to airline security implicit in the family's ejection. This flight crew apparently believes it a terrorist habit to discuss the details of the operation, openly and loudly, whilst awaiting take-off, which leads me to wonder how much faith I should have in airport security methodologies. Frankly, I'm not sure I want to know how many airports have decided not to waste money on expensive luggage and cargo screening technologies because it's so much easier to catch incendiary miscreants by just waiting until they start yapping away about how much fun they're going to have when their shit blows up.
I must confess to wanting my air authorities to be on guard for the smart terrorists, not just the clueless ones. I doubt very much if any of the 9/11 hijackers enplaned wearing a T-shirt reading, "One Of My Seven Wives Went to Medina, And All I Got Was This Plastique And Five Feet Of Primer Cord", and none of them, I think, stood up and said, "Hi. I'm Mohamed, and I'll be your radical Islamist terrorist for the flight. I'll be detonating a massive charge lodged in the cargo hold in, oh...about an hour or so, sending the mangled bodies of you filthy infidels ploughing into the earth below. So until then, sit back and enjoy the last fifty-five minutes of your sacrilegious lives. I strive to be the best homicidal maniac I can be, so, please, feel free to ask me any questions you may have and provide me with any constructive criticism that you think would me help improve the service I'm providing to you, the dying customers".
Dear airlines: crow-bar your heads out of your collective ass, and give them a shake.