Saturday, November 15, 2008

Why I'm So Alone in This World

SIMPLE REASON. I'm reading Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, From the Soviet Invasion to September 11, 2001, by Steve Coll. It's said to be on President-elect Barack Obama's nightstand these days, so I thought it worth checking out. Thus far it very much has been. Charlie Wilson, titular character of the recent book and film, is mentioned in the upcoming pages, according to the index, and I look forward to seeing whether my impression of him as an exacerbating cause of increased Islamist radicalism is based in any reality.

But here's the explanation for the header. The first chapter of the book recounts the 1979 siege of the American embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, by a huge mob of locals, inflamed by the same jihadist spirit that had just possessed students in Tehran to storm our embassy there and take both its staff, and the Carter presidency, hostage. The chapter begins when one American embassy worker is smoked out of his office by the mob when they torch the building. The revolutionaries rough him up, then drive him out of the embassy for a drumhead trial for crimes against the Prophet.

Am I the only one who finds irony in the captive American's last name: Putscher?

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