Friendly Arabs are the easiest people to bond with I’ve ever met. It takes no time at all to forge friendship if they’re willing – and they so often are. Despite our spat with the Iraqis (and who knows, perhaps in part because of that fight) I felt like those of us at the table were like old friends. Thank God and Allah for that. It gave me hope for the future, not only for our individual countries, but also hope for a future Iraqi-American alliance untainted by any distorted neo-imperial arrangement.
At one point, apropos of something I can’t remember, Ahman said to me: “I can tell you in one sentence how my country feels about your country.”
“Really?” I said. “Can you really boil it down to one sentence?”
“Yes,” he said. “And it is this: Thank you for coming, now please leave and take us with you.”
‘Those are the Socialists’ (meaning the P.S.U.C.), I was puzzled and said: ‘Aren't we all Socialists?’ I thought it idiotic that people fighting for their lives should have separate parties; my attitude always was, ‘Why can't we drop all this political nonsense and get on with the war?’ This of course was the correct 'anti-Fascist' attitude which had been carefully disseminated by the English newspapers, largely in order to prevent people from grasping the real nature of the struggle. But in Spain, especially in Catalonia, it was an attitude that no one could or did keep up indefinitely. Everyone, however unwillingly, took sides sooner or later. For even if one cared nothing for the political parties and their conflicting ‘lines’, it was too obvious that one's own destiny was involved. As a militiaman one was a soldier against Franco, but one was also a pawn in an enormous struggle that was being fought out between two political theories. When I scrounged for firewood on the mountainside and wondered whether this was really a war or whether the News Chronicle had made it up, when I dodged the Communist machine-guns in the Barcelona riots, when I finally fled from Spain with the police one jump behind me — all these things happened to me in that particular way because I was serving in the P.O.U.M. militia and not in the P.S.U.C. So great is the difference between two sets of initials!
MCDERMOTT: It certainly is an improvement for the women of Afghanistan. But you've got to remember that of American policy, we put the Taliban there. We gave the money to the..
CARLSON: I beg your pardon?
MCDERMOTT: ... Pakistanis.
CARLSON: You're breaking news here, Congressman. I don't think this has ever been reported before in the United States.
MCDERMOTT: Oh, yes, it has been. We funded the Taliban through the Pakistanis, and all that money -- we could have cut off that money and stopped what was going on. We knew what was going on there. All we wanted was a stable, quiet Afghanistan so we could put a pipeline down through there. That's really what we were up to....
....BEGALA: It's an important fact, under President Carter and then President Reagan, we funded the mujahedeen, the freedom fighters, as Charlie Wilson of Texas used to call them...
CARLSON: Mr. McDermott is making this your thesis...
BEGALA: ... some of them were Taliban.
CARLSON: Did President Clinton fund the Taliban? That's the allegation you made. Is it true?
MCDERMOTT: The United States government's policy of giving money to Pakistan and letting them take charge of whatever happens in Afghanistan essentially put us as the people behind it."
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