Friday, July 20, 2007


"Last night I saw upon the stairs/
A little man who wasn't there./
He wasn't there again today./
Gee, I wish he'd go away!"

I loved that absurd little nursery rhyme as a child. It still makes me smile today.

Over the years I've often wondered about the little man who wasn't there. What did he look like? Was he married? Did he have a family? Did he work for Enron?

So imagine my joy the other day when I read in the New York Times that they had found him! In - of all places - Iraq.

BAGHDAD, July 18 — For more than a year, the leader of one the most notorious insurgent groups in Iraq was said to be a mysterious Iraqi called Abu Omar al-Baghdadi.

As the titular head of the Islamic State in Iraq, Mr. Baghdadi issued incendiary pronouncements. Despite claims by an Iraqi Interior Ministry official in May that Mr. Baghdadi had been killed, he appeared to have persevered unscathed.

On Wednesday, the chief United States military spokesman here, Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Bergner, provided a new explanation for Mr. Baghdadi’s ability to escape attack: he never existed.

Ah, what a perfect absurdity for a perfectly absurd war!

Bruce Riedel, a former C.I.A official and Middle East expert, acknowledged that experts had long wondered whether Mr. Baghdadi actually existed.

“They say we have killed him,” Mr. Riedel said, referring to earlier statements by Iraqi government officials. “Then we heard him after his death, and now they are saying he never existed.”

"Last night I saw upon the stairs/
A little Al Qaeda who wasn't there./
He wasn't there again today./
Gee, I wish he'd go away!


a rose is a rose said...

children for the rest of time will be lucky enough to hear that nursery rhyme

Montag said...

My favorite absurd nursery rhyme, which I was reminded of the other day upon reading the post about the Navy and the A.O.G.A. went something like this:

Mother Dear, may I go swim?
Yes, my darling daughter.
Hang your clothes on yonder limb,
But don't go near the water!

Flimsy Sanity said...

So funny - how can you send it to the Daily Show (where you belong as a writer).

JM said...

A delusional leader fighting imaginary foes; makes perfect sense!

Neil Shakespeare said...

It's taking a pretty big stick for George to beat that ghost off, isn't it?

Nvisiblewmn said...

Well, I'm glad that's been clarified. ???

Peacechick Mary said...

I guess it is appropriate for the unman to exist in their delusional world. I think George just set up an entirely new cabinet position - Department of Smoke and Mirrors with an undersecretary of nursery rhymes who reports to the fairy tale minister.

You are the best, Neil!

Lew Scannon said...

We have the same thing in the US, he's called the Bush supporter.

Blueberry said...

Poor Mr. Al Bag Daddy! Reports of his existence have been greatly exaggerated.

Neil Shakespeare said...

The other absurd little ditty I love is that one that goes: Twas a summer's day in winter/And the snow was raining fast/And a barefooted boy with shoes on/Stood sitting in the grass.