Tuesday, April 1
Man who would be 'king' of Iraq
The Observer, March 30, 2003

Oliver Morgan has a profile of Jay Garner, the hawkish head of the Pentagon agency that will be handling lucrative reconstruction deals

President, viceroy, governor, sheriff. It is difficult to know what to call Jay Garner, the retired US general who will run Iraq if and when Saddam Hussein is deposed.

The 'call me Jay' 64-year-old would prefer 'co-ordinator of civilian administration'. That's the bland description of his job heading the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, the Pentagon agency preparing to govern Iraq's 23 million people in the aftermath of war, provide humanitarian support and administer the lucrative business of reconstruction. [...]

The smell of war
Philip Caputo, Los Angeles Times, March 30, 2003

It is said that our most evocative sense is the sense of smell, and after the names of the villages and the numbers and the dates have grown dim in your memory, the thing you can never forget about a battlefield is the smell.

... Something like 8,000 corpses lay out there amid the Golan's rocky fields. Their putrefying flesh overwhelmed the odors of smoke and diesel fuel and burned tanks, trucks and armored personnel carriers.

When we got to the front and saw them -- lying at the roadside or in their mangled vehicles or hanging out of tank turrets, some yellow, some blue, some as green and bloated as well-fed blowflies, some headless, some eviscerated, some charred into mere outlines of the human body, some with legs or arms or legs and arms blown off -- their stink made us gag and our eyes burn and wove itself into our clothes. No amount of laundering would wash out the smell after we got back to Tel Aviv, and some of us had to toss our shirts and trousers into the hotel incinerator. Even so, it stuck in our nostrils and memories, and years later we could wake up at some nightmare hour and there it would be, in bed with us, almost visible.

... The smell, like names and numbers, turns abstract words and phrases like "disarmament" and "regime change" and "preemption" and "national credibility" into obscenities.

I wish it could be bottled and the bottles placed on desks in the White House, the Capitol, the Washington think tanks, the editorial board rooms of magazines and newspapers whose cheerleaders called for war with Iraq, and the studios of the talk-radio hosts fulminating about French quislings and unpatriotic antiwar protesters.

... The concrete realties, names and numbers. Those are the only arguments that mean anything. Here's a number for you: 16. Here are the names: Gautier. Guzman. Fankhauser. Fernandez. Levy. Lockhart. Manning. Muir. Page. Reasoner. Sissler. Simpson. Snow. Sullivan. Warner. West.

I knew them all. If you wish to meet them, you can find them on a black granite wall in Washington.
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