The perfect voice for a down and out in London and Iraq crime novel, with an entry quote by Orwell. Always a good sign, Orwell. Imagine a classic sting by a pretty girl and her boyfriend: girl alone at bar gets hit by her bruiser boyfriend. Retired police detective comes to the rescue, takes girl home. Girl slips him a mickey, empties his wallet, and splits.
But this is more than a crime novel; listen:
The old man blinks at him.
“You are not an Arab?
“What is your religion?”
“I don’t have one.”
“Who is your god?”
“I have no God.”
“What sort of man has no god? What does he believe in? Why does he live?”
“He lives because he is a man.”
“You are American?”
“I was born there. My mother is Iraqi.”
“I like George Clooney and Arnold Schwarzenneger.”
Journalists must either eat or be eaten by more and more information. How to eat? Well, there’s Excel. And if Excel can’t make sense of “the new types of data” that Wikileaks was producing, then maybe a “data visualization expert” could make a pretty picture out of bomb explosion statistics. One might ask: what kind of journalism is being produced when data visualization takes the place of knowing how to read? Leaked, yes; but also wet.
Sad are the chronicled confessional ramblings of the intelligence officer who delivered reams of classified info on Afghanistan and Iraq to Julian Assange. Interview after interview reveals a lost boy, who would have been happy to board a ship with Peter Pan or fight Captain Hook but had no fealty to a real institution.
More annoying is the amount of print a gawkish, horny and supercilious press devotes to a base and baseless rape accusation motivated by a very small soul, albeit female. The “rape” consists of Assange not wanting to put on a condom, then putting on a purportedly ripped condom, all by invitation of a stultifyingly immoral Swedish member of some academically “green” cause. Miss Condom invites Assange to use her one-bedroom Stockholm apartment while she is away. Then Miss Condom shows up “early”, photographs Assange in her bed, and spends the night having “bad sex” (she tells a girlfriend the next day).
Forget Harley Street. The latest design in shrinks is a six foot 250 pound lesbian weight lifter who runs a pub with her bosomy girlfriend, and offers bed, morning after breakfast, and laundry service. This is what the 21st century male patient wants: a powerful, intuitive M.D. who can hoist him effortlessly over her shoulder, tuck him into bed without sexual threat or expectation, wash the blood off his shirt and serve up bacon and egg for breakfast.
Such a shrink, and only such a shrink can handle what the Iraq, the national health service and the Metropolitan police have brewed in ex-Lieutenant Charles Acland, now of London, hateful and harijan: untouchable.
It is not obvious that there are soldiers missing in action from the war in Iraq. It is said that the Arabs do not take prisoners, do not leave Americans alive. So the horror of a category of men archived by the subjunctive, neither real nor unreal, neither past nor present, neither recognizable nor localizable is an emotion associated with Vietnam, not Iraq. This is a mistake.
First, imagine the kind of paranoiac, legalistic, calculating Soviet Russia which could nurse a wounded Marine, but could not admit to his presence in the Soviet Union. Not without confirming their (illegal) presence in Laos. Not without confirming his (illegal) entry into the Soviet Union. Not without confirming his (illegal) imprisonment.
Second, imagine that news of this missing soldier arrives in Washington, but the soldier himself does not. Thirty years after Vietnam, a nosy busybody Jewish-Polish CIA hacker hag, with the chutzpah of someone who’s been around the block on heels, makes friends with a CIA boyscout and helps him find out why.
Iraq is not yet Vietnam, but wait.