This Thing of Theirs
'If they fuck with me or Shaha, I have enough on them to fuck them too.'
The Guardian reporter, Richard Adams, suggests that he sounded 'more like a cast member of the Sopranos than an international leader'. But I am not sure. In a recent report on Pentagon conduct in the Abu Ghraib affair, Seymour Hersh reports in the New Yorker how General Abizaid told Antonio Taguba, the officer who had investigated allegations of torture at the prison, that he and his report would be investigated. Taguba describes his reaction:
'I’d been in the Army thirty-two years by then, and it was the first time that I thought I was in the Mafia.'
It can take that long before an honourable man comes to realise that, in the words of another general, Smedley Butler, 'war is a racket'.
The bleed between the language of politics and organised crime can take on a comical aspect. Ralph Reed, the 'Republican strategist', describes his born-again experience in terms that have more than a little of the protection racket about them. According to (this from his Wikipedia entry, which cites Nina J. Easton's Gang of Five:
'The Holy Spirit simply demanded me to come to Jesus.'
As a former Enron consultant and associate of Jack Abramoff, it is perhaps fitting that Jesus's consigliere made Reed an offer he couldn't refuse.