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NBC News published a bizarre and apparently-not-satirical piece on its website today about Paul Bremer, imperial ruler of Iraq for a year after the U.S. invasion. Bremer, who the authors gush is a "youthful 72," has taken up painting, and obviously this is newsworthy. Though he is "modest" about his skills, Bremer's work has fetched up to $800, a figure that surely has nothing to do with his name and is solely based on the quality of the art.

We learn that Bremer has found great peace and just loves painting landscapes. He is particularly fond of the "bright, colorful palettes" of the French and American impressionists. The piece then ever-so-gently mentions that Bremer "has been criticized for some decisions in Iraq - chiefly disbanding the Iraqi army," before quickly pivoting to Bremer's explanation for that decision, which, among other things, instantly put 400,000 Iraqis out of work. Then we meet Paul Tucker, a professor of art who, naturally, "admires" Bremer, "especially" for the "work he did in Iraq."

What the fuck could possibly motivate a news organization to publish an adoring, 1,000-word piece on the artwork of Paul Bremer? Perhaps they just wanted to do a nice light feature for this holiday weekend. Bremer's ruminations about French impressionism are just so much more pleasant than, say, this:

Baghdad: Attacks killed five people in town squares in Iraq on Friday, including four who died when a suicide bomber set off his vehicle rigged with explosives just before midday prayers. 

The latest violence, which left dozens wounded, comes as Iraq struggles with a surge in violence coinciding with a long-running government deadlock and months of protests among the Sunni Arab minority.

........

Iraq has seen a surge in violence since the start of the year, with the UN reporting more than 2,500 people killed from April through June, the highest such level since 2008.

One can hardly expect to find "stress relief" thinking about stuff like that.

{Originally posted at www.justindoolittle.net}

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