The Week in Review
MONDAY, OCTOBER 25 The week began with the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency reporting the disappearance of several hundred tons of conventional explosives from Iraq's Al Qaqaa, a former military installation 30 miles south of Baghdad. "On October 10, the IAEA received a declaration from the Iraqi Ministry of Science and Technology informing us that approximately 350 (metric) tons of high explosive material had gone missing," said U.N. nuclear agency spokeswoman Melissa Fleming to the Associated Press. "The most immediate concern here is that these explosives could have fallen into the wrong hands." After the toppling of Saddam, Al Qaqaa was placed under the control of the U.S. military, during which time the site was repeatedly looted--suggesting the troubling possibility that the explosives have fallen into the hands of Iraqi insurgents. Meanwhile, the New York Times offered terrifying details on the explosives themselves, identifying the missing material as HMX and RDX, key ingredients in plastic explosives, and "substances so powerful that Libyan terrorists needed just one pound to blow up Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988, killing 170 people." According to the NYT, National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice was informed of the missing explosives in the past month, with U.S. and UN nuclear inspectors alerted to the missing explosives by Iraq's interim government in recent weeks. The one bit of good to come from this potentially catastrophic situation: The Kerry campaign's lustful seizure of this humiliating gaffe as means to clobber Bush. In a press release, senior Kerry adviser Joe Lockhart said the Bush administration "must answer for what may be the most grave and catastrophic mistake in a tragic series of blunders in Iraq... the Bush administration knew where this stockpile was, but took no action to secure the site. They were urgently and specifically informed that terrorists could be helping themselves to the most dangerous explosives bonanza in history, but nothing was done to prevent it from happening. How did they fail to secure... tons of known, deadly explosives despite clear warnings from the International Atomic Energy Agency to do so?"
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 26 For the first time ever on a Tuesday, nothing happened today.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 27 Not to be outdone by Fidel Castro (whose celebrated spill last week brought the diabolical dictator a broken arm and knee), today Palestinian National Authority President Yasser Arafat spiced up a mealtime meeting with a trio of Palestinian officials by vomiting, collapsing, and remaining unconscious for 10 minutes. (What a ham.) Arafat has since been transferred to a Paris hospital, where the Nobel prize winner is undergoing a variety of blood tests.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 28 Today brings the mind-blowing story of Anthony Sukto, the Tacoma boy responsible for the most amazing 911 call in history. The Sukto family saga first made headlines last week, when father Tony Sukto was charged with the murder of his wife and attempted murder of his son, allegations to which the 36-year-old Sukto had pleaded not guilty. But as the Associated Press reports, Pa Sukto's proclaimed innocence could suffer mightily in light of his 8-year-old son's call to 911. During the October 22 communication, the seriously wounded young Anthony calmly told a 911 dispatcher, "My daddy killed me with a knife and I'm gone. Can you please send the Army men or the ambulance?" When dispatcher Kristine Woodrow asked for details, Anthony said, "My daddy killed me with a butcher knife." "How did that happen if you are talking to me?' asked Woodrow. "I don't know what happened," Anthony answered. "But something. He grabbed knives. I woke up. My dad, he was killing my mom and then my dad told me to go onto the other bed and then he's like, 'You're next,' and then he killed me. I'm still alive. I kind of survived." Before long, authorities arrived to arrest the father, bag the mother, and transport the child to the hospital, where he's recovering from surgery to repair lacerations to his liver.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29 Today Osama bin Laden issued his first videotaped address since December 2001, an eloquent bullshit session in which the al Qaeda spokesmodel claimed the 9/11 attacks were revenge for Israel's U.S.-aided attack on Lebanon in 1982 and threatened American voters for electing "any president who seeks to destroy al Qaeda and persecute Muslims." Meanwhile, a far more enthralling sight was coalescing at Sandpoint Naval Base, where tonight Seattle's talent-ridden po-mo cabaret troupe Circus Contraption hosted a humongous Halloween party. The centerpiece of the sold-out bash: a group of more than 100 intricately outfitted zombies performing the street dance from Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video. Having honed their zombie chops at not one but three rehearsals, the army of living-dead dancers was, by all accounts, a sight to be seen. Unfortunately, Last Days was unable to witness the miraculous performance as we were at Deception Pass, attending the ash-scattering of our guy Jake's recently deceased mentor--a terribly sweet mini-ceremony that brought together a lovely clutch of friends and family, and provided Last Days with the amazingly intimate experience of swabbing someone's cremains out of our ears with a Q-tip. Rest in peace, Dr. Carolyn Hoover.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 30 Nothing happened today, unless you count the bloodiest day for the U.S. military in Iraq since spring, with nine Marines killed and nine wounded yesterday when a suicide bomber rammed his car into a convoy in the Iraqi province of Al Anbar.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 31The week ends with Halloween, whose stature as the scariest day of the year was summarily hijacked by the forthcoming Election Day, when the fate of the United States is put to popular vote. Are we a nation of privilege and enlightenment ready to regain a place of responsibility and honor in the world? Or are we a bunch of winner-takes-all assholes hell bent on exploiting everything we can for as long as we can with the implied imprimatur of God? By the time you read this, the question may very well be decided. But for now, Last Days can only ruminate on the words spoken by former Secretary of State Madeline Albright on the venerable Daily Show, paraphrased thusly: "The first time we elected George W. Bush, we didn't know what kind of leader he would be. Now we know, and the whole world is watching to see what we do with this knowledge."
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