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Wednesday, December 8, 2021
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A tissue of lies about tacos

Most everybody understands stretching. Extra water was what the philistines used to stretch the soup for Oliver and his friends at the orphanage. It’s simple arithmetic. More water in the soup means less gumption. Less gumption means more profits for the owners of the orphanage.

That story about tissue in the tacos, that’s fib. There are many ways to stretch tacos filling, and the healthiest choice for that would be cabbage. For all who don’t know, there is absolutely no reason for cabbage to be anywhere near $1.50 per pound, and tacos sellers could purchase their repollo at wholesale price. They could actually go cheaper than English cabbage; Chinese cabbage is even less costly to produce, and it’s equally healthy.

Boo to China’s revenge story

One of my heroes, Bill Lindo, is bowled over by the achievements of mainland China, and I am too, especially when I think of what effort and discipline and genius had to be applied, employed to lift a country with over a billion people. I like to think of myself as capable, when I have the resources and the environment, but I have never tried to wrap my mind around China, or India.

There’s nothing daunting about extrapolating — what you need for one citizen you multiply by a hundred for a hundred citizens, but I will consider it sport to take up my machete and chop grass before I lie in my hammock and think about being involved in the business of China, or India.

I’ve read horror stories about how the leaders of China, beginning with Mao, went about implementing their vision. There were some ruthless things done; people who bucked the system were forcibly brought in line, to heel. The Chinese we now know as Taiwanese, under the leadership of General Chiang Kai-Shek, and I know his name from my primary school reader, yap, fled China after the communist takeover by Mao in 1949. It has been a long time now that mainland China has had designs on disciplining them.

There is geopolitics here, Taiwan on the doorstep of China and being such a good ally of the Americans. The US is in a kind of bind, wanting to protect the capitalist state, Taiwan, and at the same time being in on the business that the giant China brings. China keeps flexing over Taiwan being outside of the Chinese fold, and Taiwan keeps insisting that it is a sovereign nation.

Simplistically, we could say it’s about revenge, China not being able to accept an island that was formerly theirs running off and having such a cozy relationship with the Americans. There’s some similarity in the stories of Taiwan and Belize, but we don’t share the same feelings about our different aggressors. There are only a few people in Belize who don’t insist, “No Guatemala!” In Taiwan there are people who are blasé about China and what will come of the aggression.

Timothy Rich and Andi Dahmer, on the website jamestown.org, reported on research by Emerson Niou which showed that public feelings in Taiwan are not settled over unification and independence. The research said, “46.38 percent of respondents indicated willingness to accept either outcome under ideal conditions—i.e., either peaceful independence, or unification under circumstances wherein both sides were politically and economically similar.”

I don’t know how accurate that poll is, maybe our Taiwanese friends here could explain; however, I’m not with China bullying, and I’d like our government to call them out. I haven’t forgotten that some PUP bigwigs went to the mainland before the last election, but it has to be that our friendship remains contingent on them, the mainland, respecting the will of Taiwan.

Powell wasn’t a war criminal

Condolences are pouring in to Colin Powell’s family and his supporters, and there is great respect and honor for his memory. Bitter comments are also raining down on his mortal remains. Powell died over the weekend, and what most Belizeans will remember him for is the classy way he carried himself while in the US government, and his boldness in crossing the line to give a nod to Barack, and to defend him against the sometimes notorious Trump.

Many are calling Powell out for his involvement in the US decision to blow Iraq to bits in their last shock-and-awe military campaign. Powell has apologized for the Gulf War. One of my mentors (I forgot to ask him if I could call his name) sent me a piece, “Colin Powell, Politely Anguished War Criminal, Dead at 84”. The story is written by a lady, Jacobin columnist Liza Featherstone, and in it she skewers Powell for using his tremendous credibility to legitimize a war he “almost certainly” knew was wrong.

Featherstone says Powell privately opposed invading Iraq after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the US, but he allowed the American president, George Bush II, to use him to make the case for war at the UN. Featherstone says Powell later told ABC’s Barbara Walters that it was “painful” for him to make the speech, but she has no pass for him, because the speech persuaded many to get onboard with the war initiative. She cites data which shows that 10% of Americans were swayed from an opposing position when they heard Powell’s speech, and that after the speech there was “a 30 percent jump in the number of people who falsely believed that there was a connection between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda.”

Last month, when the US was remembering the loss of some 3,000 Americans, a few of them Belizeans, who died in the savage September 11 attack, some on the Arabian side were reminding the world to not forget the many innocent children, women, and men who died when the US bombed Iraq and other countries in the region, and the economies and landscape they shattered. To counter that, the US points out the trillions they spent, and the many lives, some of them Belizean, that were lost on their side since.

Based on the information I have, I blame Saddam Hussein for what happened. This story goes back to his invasion of Kuwait in 1990, a move made to increase Iraq’s control of oil, the western press says. That part of the world is as hot as the desert sands under which lie the world’s most vast supplies of oil. The lesson I got from the movie, Lawrence of Arabia, is that it would take a hell of a lot of research to get a good understanding of how the world works there.

The website history.state.gov says: “On June 19, 1961, Kuwait became fully independent following an exchange of notes with the United Kingdom that terminated the Anglo-Kuwaiti Treaty of 1899 and therefore provided for Kuwaiti independence.” So, if Iraq believed it had legitimacy to invade and take over Kuwaiti oil, its beef predates 1900.

Daring Saddam invaded Kuwait, and in 1991 the US led a coalition of 35 countries and kicked them out. A festering story in the US after that war, which the record shows lasted from January 17 to February 28, was that they should not have gone home until Saddam had been removed from power. He wasn’t, and when after 9/11 his country was charged with possession of weapons of mass destruction, he denied it but did not eagerly throw the doors open to let the inspectors in.

Saddam knew that the Americans hadn’t forgotten his invasion of Kuwait, and his intelligence must have told him that the Americans were not thinking straight after the 9/11 attacks.

I won’t go into any conspiracy theories. We know the Americans thought Saddam was unfinished business. Saddam showed no concern about his innocent people becoming war collateral. Powell’s crime was defending an inevitable war.

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