One of the things I really miss here in Thailand is English language reading material. There is a dearth of it since few Thais read English very well, or at all for that matter. About the only place that has a good selection of English language books and magazines is Asia Books in Bangkok. As a result, I do almost all of my reading online. But it’s nice to have a book in hand when there is time to kill, a real book not one of the new e-readers that requires you to purchase DRM-infected content.
Today I was having lunch at a nice little coffee shop and restaurant that recently opened in our area. The Khao Yai land boom is stimulating a lot of new development of things that we actually like, such as eating places. This little place called Coffee Memories is pretty good and the added bonus was they have a tiny little book sharing space that had a couple of English language books. So I borrowed Michael Moore’s “Dude, Where’s My Country”.
I wouldn’t say that I’m much of a fan of Michael Moore but his stuff makes for a good read mostly because I enjoy seeing scumbags being called out. And U.S. bureaucrats are undoubtedly the biggest scumbags on the planet. Whether or not you subscribe to Moore’s line of thinking his books do give plenty of references to his sources. Today I particularly enjoyed the section about how cozy the U.S. government was with Saddam Hussein prior to them deciding he was the biggest evil on earth. It was the U.S., after all, who provided him with all the chemical and biological weapons and technology that he had. That was during the Iran-Iraq war – the U.S. wanted Iraq to win. The U.S. government is famous for that kind of thing, arming one group against another to achieve some political goal, and then turning against them later, much to Saddam’s dismay as he found himself dangling by the neck.
But that’s sort of old news and everybody in America who isn’t clueless knows it already, which is to say very few Americans. The part that was new to me and sort of entertaining is that during the Bush story-telling frenzy after the start of the war there was a little video clip shown on the Oprah show of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld hugging Saddam Hussein when they had met years earlier. I guess Oprah popped it as a surprise on the audience and there was an audible gasp when they saw the two being chummy. After all, Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld had painted Saddam as such an evil monster and the ignorant American masses had bought the whole story. Little did they know that Saddam was a key ally just a few years prior.
So like I said, Moore’s books give plenty of references and with the wonderful world of Google it’s usually pretty easy to check other sources to corroborate. I could not, however, find the video of Rumsfeld hugging Saddam. I did find a number of videos of the two of them meeting and shaking hands. Pretty boring stuff with no sound track, but here it is.