I JUST GOT BACK FROM MADRID, and couldn't believe how much the Spanish smoked cigarettes. On subways, in airport terminals, in hotel lobbies -- everywhere. I hear much is the same on the rest of the European continent. So I thoroughly enjoyed Tom Friedman's column about how Europe is paranoid about US-imported meat, which has no adverse health effects, yet smoke incessantly. Now I'm back in London, and my clothes currently reek of smoke. I can't imagine that's too healthy.
AS USUAL, Charles Krauthammer is on the mark on the irrelevance of the United Nations. He writes:
This is the United Nations. This is the institution whose support Democrats insist the United States must have to validate the legitimacy of its actions, such as the forcible disarming of Saddam Hussein. This is the institution to which they turn to test the worthiness of decisions taken by the president and Congress of the United States. It is a kind of moral idiocy: the greatest defender of freedom on the planet, enjoying the freest institutions, seeking its moral yardstick in the looking-glass values of a corrupt, perverse institutional relic.
Couldn't have put it better myself. The rest of the column is worth a good read, especially for those multilateralists out there.
EVEN THE LEFT-WING GUARDIAN ran a column over the weekend from a self-described socialist who supported toppling Saddam's maniacal regime. Here's the money quote:
If you really think it's better for more people to die over decades under a tyrannical regime than for fewer people to die during a brief attack by an outside power, you're really weird and nationalistic and not any sort of socialist that I recognise. And that's where you link up with all those nasty rightwing columnists who are so opposed to fighting Iraq; they, too, believe that the lives of a thousand coloured chappies aren't worth the death of one British soldier. Military inaction, unless in the defence of one's own country, is the most extreme form of narcissism and nationalism; people who preach it are the exact opposite of the International Brigade, and that's so not a good look.
UPDATE: Yet more clarity on Iraq from the Guardian! Maybe I'll buy a copy along with my Times.