Well, it’s time for all of us here at Armavirumque to eat a generous helping of crow. Upon learning that Harold Pinter had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, we had this to say: “The Nobel Prize committee long ago demonstrated that its prizes for the arts were exercises in politically correct sermonizing. By choosing Harold Pinter, they have demonstrated that their sermons are ridiculous as well as repellent.”

Imagine how shocked we were by Pinter’s acceptance speech. In a jaw-dropping surprise 180, Pinter acknowledged that his very public views on U.S. foreign policy--which we suspected had much to do with his selection for the prize--are neither as negative nor as rigid as many critics believed:

First, should we be optimistic or pessimistic about Iraq’s future? The answer may depend on one’s perspective. [. . .]

For starters, it must be jarring for reporters who have never covered the Middle East to leave the United States and arrive in a country that is so different, where they consistently have to worry about their personal safety, then are rushed to the scene of car bombs and shootings, and have little opportunity to see the rest of the country. [. . .]

If one is viewing events through a soda straw, one should know that one is by definition selectively focusing on facts that may highlight one’s perceived view and not seeing other perspectives. A full picture of Iraq comes best from an understanding of both the good and the bad, and the context for each.

Whoops! Musta got my URLs crossed. That wasn’t Pinter at all. Turns out the only Nobel Prize shock stunner is that this injection of verbal barbiturates didn’t have the whole audience drowning out Pinter with snores:
The United States now occupies 702 military installations throughout the world in 132 countries, with the honourable exception of Sweden, of course. We don’t quite know how they got there but they are there all right.

The United States possesses 8,000 active and operational nuclear warheads. Two thousand are on hair trigger alert, ready to be launched with 15 minutes warning. It is developing new systems of nuclear force, known as bunker busters. The British, ever cooperative, are intending to replace their own nuclear missile, Trident. Who, I wonder, are they aiming at? Osama bin Laden? You? Me? Joe Dokes? China? Paris? Who knows? What we do know is that this infantile insanity - the possession and threatened use of nuclear weapons - is at the heart of present American political philosophy. We must remind ourselves that the United States is on a permanent military footing and shows no sign of relaxing it.

Many thousands, if not millions, of people in the United States itself are demonstrably sickened, shamed and angered by their government’s actions, but as things stand they are not a coherent political force - yet. But the anxiety, uncertainty and fear which we can see growing daily in the United States is unlikely to diminish.

Our bad.