'We Didn't Win the War in Afghanistan'

The latest from the wartime Grapevine:

Mock Funeral?

Remember that videotape from last week in which a group of Palestinians carrying what seemed to be the body of a victim of the fighting in Jenin dropped the guy, only to have him get up and lie back down on the green shroud, to be carried on?

A group called the Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights has produced an explanation. Yes, the funeral was staged, the group said, but that's because those involved were making a movie and the people carrying the body — and the guy who got dropped — were just acting.

War Coverage — Then and Now

Seymour Hersh, the celebrated investigative journalist who broke the story of the My Lai massacre and nowadays covers the war on terrorism for The New Yorker Magazine, gave a clear sense of it.

Speaking at a journalism awards dinner in Chicago the other day, Hersh said of Attorney General Ashcroft, "how would you describe him, demented?" He also said, "We didn't win the war in Afghanistan, I don't care what George Bush says," adding, “Al Qaeda was not destroyed in the war. Afghanistan was."

Only Time Will Tell

Warren Buffett, the world's second richest man, has told his adoring stockholders that a nuclear attack on the United States is "virtually a certainty."

Speaking at the annual shareholders meeting of his holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, says envy and dislike of the United States has become so strong and the spread of nuclear technology so wide that: "We're going to have something in the way of a major nuclear event in this country." But he said he couldn't say if it would happen in 10 minutes or 50 years.

Hostile Help?

The Saudi foreign minister told the president that, "Your help to Israel is seen as hostile to the Arab world."

In a meeting in the Oval office, one of the president's talking points was, "Our position is that fighting should stop and that it should be followed by a serious diplomatic effort to reach a final peaceful settlement." That may sound as if could be today, but the quotes are drawn from the presidential papers of Richard Nixon dealing with the year 1973.