Spain, invisible; leaders, dumb

Normal furrow resumed.

Rammed earth/pisé wall (left) reinforced with lime mortar cladding (right) at Ouzilly-Vignolles, Moncontour, France. Yeah, I went cycling.

Rammed earth/pisé wall (left) reinforced with lime mortar cladding (right) at Ouzilly-Vignolles, Moncontour, France. Yeah, I went cycling.

Given Obama’s transparent intention to pursue Bush Junior’s conflict up the Euphrates and complete Rumsfeld’s implementation of learnings from the errors of Vietnam, I thought it would be interesting to read a bunch of 9/11-related memoirs – Bush, Rumsfeld, Blair, Powell’s new one, Chirac (‘s papers are more revealing of the French) – as well as the great polyoptics by Bob Woodward and Thomas Ricks.

OK, one writes for one’s audience, and OK, Spain’s military has no ambition greater than retaking rocks from Moroccan ruminants as a prelude to cashing in its rather attractive pensions, a status quo which Spanish politicians appear to accept in exchange for photo-ops. But the lack of interest in Spain, in Aznar and Zapatero, and in the protesting millions, is impressive.

This hurtful perception of irrelevance will undoubtedly change now that Carme Chacón – Bambi II and the next leader of the PSOE and thus the nation – has taken a sabbatical ducked out of her party’s constitutional crisis (she was never sure which side she was on) to get to know D.C. to speak Spanish at the University of Miami a community college 15 minutes from the beach.

Electorates now and then get the leadership candidates they deserve, but the contrast between Rumsfeld and Bush (done down because he’s a white Texan from beyond the Holy Enclave of Austin, but he’s still pretty dumb), between Alfonso Guerra (I just read his vol 1) and Felipe González, between the hypothetical last remaining intelligent person in the PSC and Chacón, is pitiful.

There’s some controversy about whether Miami Dade is a university, whatever the fuck that means. Let’s put it this way: prior to her canonisation by Bambi “Zapatero” I, Chacón’s academic employer was the University of Girona, awarded a world ranking of no less than 768 from my dear friends, the Ottoman technocrats at METU. Miami Dade College gives out some kind of BEd but has no such recognition.

Woodward describes Rumsfeld somewhere as honest, “though not overly so,” but his is the Washington memoir I’d most recommend of those recently read, not because I’d agree with everything – the appointment of Douglas Feith (Tommie Franks: “the dumbest fucking guy on the planet”) to plan post-conflict was a tragedy for all – but because of its record of a clever, creative, determined individual up to his elbows in many of the most interesting suds to come out of the Washington soap since 1960. And he wore trifocals and had a stand-up make-believe panopticon desk.

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Last updated 30/08/2013

Alfonso Guerra (1): Alfonso Guerra González is a Spanish politician.

Barack Obama (2): Barack Hussein Obama II; born August 4, 1961) is an American attorney and politician who served as the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017.

Carme Chacón (1): Carme Maria Chacón Piqueras was a Spanish lawyer, lecturer and politician who was Minister of Defence from 2008 to 2011 in the cabinet led by Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. Member of Spanish Socialist Worker's Party since 1994, she was elected member of the Parliament of Catalonia and Vice President of the Spanish Congress of Deputies, the lower house in the Spanish Parliament.

Donald Rumsfeld (2): Donald Henry Rumsfeld is a retired American political figure and businessman.

Douglas Feith (1): Douglas Jay Feith served as the under secretary of Defense for Policy for United States president George W.

Felipe González (2): Felipe González Márquez is a Spanish lawyer, professor, and politician, who was the Secretary-General of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party from 1974 to 1997, and the 3rd Prime Minister of Spain since the restoration of democracy, from 1982 to 1996.

George W. Bush (44):

José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (62):

Kaleboel (4307):

Rammed earth (1): Rammed earth, also known as taipa in Portuguese, tapial or tapia in Spanish, pisé in French, and hangtu, is a technique for constructing foundations, floors, and walls using natural raw materials such as earth, chalk, lime, or gravel.

Socialists' Party of Catalonia (44): The Socialists' Party of Catalonia is a social-democratic political party in Catalonia, Spain resulting from the merger of three parties: the Socialist Party of Catalonia–Regrouping, led by Josep Pallach i Carolà, the Socialist Party of Catalonia–Congress, and the Catalan Federation of the PSOE.

Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (60): The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party; PSOE [peˈsoe]) is a social-democratic political party in Spain.

Tony Blair (3): Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007.


  1. Bush is as Texan as you or I. But he plays the role well, I’ll give him that. Not sure if I ever told you about the dream I had in which I met him and we conversed, me with a brandy and he with a glass of water. He was a nice guy and I felt guilty afterwards for berating him so in the early days of my blog. But it’s all just a dream in the end.

  2. But this applies even to Rumsfeld:

    The thing about political books is there are so many of them. The Leader (or Aspiring Leader) in question is always on the cover. The Leader or Aspiring Leader wears an outfit with clean lines in bold, simple colors. Sometimes (especially if the Leader or Aspirant in question is a conservative) there is also a flag. There is an index. Spoiler Alert: It turns out, by the end of the book, that the things you agreed with were all because of the Leader’s tireless efforts, and the things that were bad were Someone Else’s fault. Usually. Also, there is always one passage that gets way more media attention than anyone anticipated.

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