August 6th, 2006

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Green Helmet Hero

The man with the Green Helmet is a topic of much discussion in the blogosphere lately. He's a good looking guy with a nice high pitched panic voice and he reminds me of nothing so much as the Iraqi Minster of Information who so enchanted us several years ago.

Of course I'm not suggesting that the deaths in Qana are completely fabricated, they're not, but rather that truth in the Middle East is a very tricky thing to unpack. We all recall the battle of Jenin where the IDF was accused of slaughtering 500 innocent civilians and the total number turned out to be under two dozen (Not that those deaths don't count.) Arab groups love to play the victim and they love to display the corpses of their brethren, to the point of perversity.

Of course they are not alone in this. Israel is guilty of lying for its own benefit, as is the United States (Weapons of Mass Destruction anyone?) but it seems like the Arab world is particularly proficient at announcing untruths.

The best theory I've heard about this is that Middle Easterners are bargainers. You know the stereotypical idea of a Middle Eastern bazaar:

"How much is this?"
"$60, my friend, and a steal at twice the price!"
"I'll give you $10."
"Sadly I cannot go any lower than $50. I am losing money, I assure you."
"$15"
"I like you, so $45. I should call the police. You are robbing me."
"$20"
"At $40 you are taking food from my childrens' hungry mouths. They will starve. But I will do it. You have won. $40. It is my final offer."
"$25"
"My father is sick. If I sell this to you at $35 I will be unable to buy him his medicine. He will suffer. But I will do that for you. I will simply have to tell him to live with the pain."
"$30"
"Alright my friend! Thank you. Please come again!"

If this is how they conduct business, and from the Israelis I have known it seems to pretty much be, then it is not that surprising that they would do casualty reports the same way. "I say 500, you say 25. We will compromise. 220." Except that there is a specific accurate number of casualties. And to the western world that number is all that matters. It's the same thing with the way diplomacy is conducted by Middle Eastern nations. They make outrageous claims or demands in the U.N. and wait for a counteroffer, which never comes, because America and its allies are too busy treating everything said as absolutely serious. I think, in part, the thing with Saddam Hussein was that he didn't understand how serious Bush was about invading. He thought that there were still bargains to be made.

So what can be done about this? Well the mainstream media can stop accepting ludicrously inflated casualty reports as if they were serious, but also the western nations either need to start dealing with the Middle East on its own terms or figure out a way to get them to deal on ours. We need to stop making our final offers our first ones. We also need to make it absolutely clear that there are certain areas where there will be NO negotiation. Terrorism is mostly about negotiation, and Hezbollah's capture of Israeli soldiers was an attempt to start negotiations for the release of their prisoners. Any such negotiations are simply going to lead to more bloodshed.

If our societies cannot communicate in a manner comprehensible to both then we will inevitably end up at a point of war. This is unacceptable. It is time for America to stop hating the playas and start learning the game. As for the Middle East, well, it would be best served by a switch over to a post-enlightenment Western logical point of view. But uhh...that's not going to happen right now.

I leave you with both an accurate and an inaccurate quote from Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf

Inaccurate:

"Today I have visited whole Baghdad city, no invaders found. You go and see how we have ousted them from this city. They are cying outside and waiting to receive bullets. They will be killed shortly."

Accurate:

"The midget Bush and that Rumsfield deserve only to be beaten with shoes by freedom loving people everywhere."
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MOSCOW

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Jesus cannot get you a great deal on a Dodge

Hi folks. Buck Malone of Malone Motors here, and I want to talk to you about someone near and dear to my heart. Jesus Christ. Now if you're like me you love and respect Jesus Christ like no other person, living or dead. He gave his blood to forgive our sins and it is only through His Grace that we can reach Heaven in the next life.

That being said, while there's a lot that Jesus can do for you, he can't do everything. For example he cannot sell you a good condition 1991 Dodge Minivan for 15% less than the bluebook value. The reason for this is that Jesus does not run the biggest Used Car emporium in the Tri-State area, and although He has knowledge of all things He has not specialized in selling quality automobiles at affordable prices for the past 25 years. We have.

If what you are seeking is eternal salvation and the grace of an omnipotent deity then Jesus is your man. Malone motors does not traffic in matters of the soul. If, on the other hand, you are looking for a quality used Oldsmobile so you can travel to work in both comfort and style, well, Malone motors has over 20 in stock right now.

Now I know what you're thinking. "Buck," and yes, you can call me Buck. Everyone does. "Buck, if Jesus loves me with a love that is eternal and limitless, why wouldn't he provide for my automotive needs?" It's a good question. While God does, indeed, work in mysterious ways I think in terms of this there is a simple explanation. By allowing you to hear this message Jesus IS making sure that you can get the car you need at a price that won't crucify your wallet. He is working THROUGH Malone Motors to get you that Chevette you've had your eye on but just weren't sure you could swing the financing of. At Malone Motors, you can.

It may seem like hubris for a used car salesman, even one who has received not one, not two, but three awards of excellence from the Lafayette County Car Vendor's Association, to claim to be an instrument of God. I don't think it is. The fact of the matter is that I can't tell you the number of people who have prayed to Jesus for a car and then found the answer to their prayers on our 8 acre lot. Rich or poor, black or white, fat or thin, at Malone Motors we have the answer to YOUR prayers too.

Folks, Christ loves you. He wants you to have a brand new previously-owned automobile. He's tired of you driving around in that old rustbucket. He wants you to upgrade. Malone Motors is the answer. We have a saying here, Let Jesus take care of your soul, we'll handle the wheels. And for you single guys out there, we've got what you need to. Come down and let us put you in something sporty, like a Cherry Red 2001 Ford Fiesta. If you want to catch the eye of the woman you will eventually join in holy matrimony, you have to drive something that catches the eye, as well as having a Consumer Reports three star safety rating!

So come on down to Malone Motors. There may not be such a thing as heaven on earth, but that's not what you'll think when you're driving away in your Town and Country with only 57,000 miles on it. Let us be your transportation salvation.