Thursday, April 22, 2004

those goddamned nuns!
Just finished Kingdom of Fear, Hunter S Thompson's sort-of-autobiography. I'm not one of those who think he burned out in the seventies, or was just an artifact of the times. His account of the Pulitzer divorce and especially his obituary of Richard Nixon, written in the eighties and nineties respectively, are still classics.

That said, a lot of his nineties stuff was just shoddy - odd bits and pieces lashed together for the benefit of ageing rebellious types. I'm glad to say that his memoirs represent a return to form. I'm also pleased to report that he appears to have a half-decent acolyte, if this Matt Taibibi piece in the New York Press is anything to go by.

"David, you may not have noticed, but we have a serious situation here. And it all starts with the nuns. We've got to get them before it's too late. There's no telling what they might leak to the press. Before we know it, this place will be crawling with reporters—the bastards."

"Sir," I said. "The press is already here. The whole war is on television. And sir, there are no nuns here. We're in a Muslim country."

"Bullshit," he said. "Call General Sanchez. He knows where the nuns are. Call him now, he'll be awake. We pay him enough, he ought to be."

Thus began what for John would be a very painful transitional period of his tenure in Iraq. One morning in that first month, a U.S. supply convoy was ambushed outside of Balad and the bodies of two dozen servicemen were paraded on the streets, their heads ultimately lodged on sticks. The AFP photo was carried all around the world.

"Look at this!" John shouted, when I came into his office the next day. "Front page of the New York Times! Those goddamned nuns are leaking everything! Get Azcona in here!"

Negtroponte? Nuns? For background, try here.