The Iraqi news that is most telling today, the day after the big Hurricane that closed down Washington, is buried away on page 23. It's news of the new American Empire using not its own, not those of the 'liberated' country, not those trained by its own mighty forces, but rather Ghurkas of yesterday made famous in the days of the British Empire. Read on:
A Passage to Baghdad
By Al Kamen
Friday, September 19, 2003; Page A23
The Rashid Hotel, the favored hotel for U.S. contractors, consultants and reporters, is looking like a classic "colonial outpost," with "GIs lunching on corn dogs and Southern fried chicken, defense contractors putting golf balls on the lawn, [and] women dressed in shorts that would raise eyebrows across the river," according to a Reuters wire report.
The Iraqis also play their appropriate role at the hotel on the Tigris River, working in lesser jobs as waiters, clerks, translators and such.
"Iraqi security personnel are suspect," the wire said, so the U.S. company that runs the hotel, "a subsidiary of [Vice President] Cheney's old company Halliburton, prefers Ghurkas from Nepal." Ghurkas? The legendary fighters who carry kukris, those short, curved knives that are especially useful in decapitating enemies? Yes indeed, the very same, though they are relying on rifles these days, said Rajiv Chandrasekaran, our colleague in Baghdad. They have been spotted guarding other places, including the presidential palace that's home to viceroy L. Paul Bremer.
The Ghurkas guard each of the hotel's 12 floors 'round the clock "at an estimated cost to the U.S taxpayer of more than $120,000 a month," Reuters reported.
Well, they did excellent work for the British Empire for many years.