Friday, August 25, 2006

On Our Vacation, Thomas Friedman Got Burned

On our vacation, I relaxed, drank a little more than usual, laughed a lot more than usual and, as often as possible, avoided my husband. Thomas Friedman? He got burned.

Back from California. Home-again, home-again, jiggety-gee, jiggety-gee. I was in high spirits.

I don't think it had sunk in yet that once we unlocked the front door and entered, it was back: the long running joke that was our marriage.

I was too busy smiling at the memory of the giggling flight attendants.

"What?" Thomas Friedman snapped repeatedly.

"Nothing," would be the reply each time.

Then a few moments later, I'd be sipping on my drink and hearing something along the lines of "Marilyn Monroe, my ass!"

Then the giggles would start all over again.

Word, like everything in else in California, must travel on wheels and make left turns on red.

Maybe it was because the last good gossip about a journalist had been a little over a year ago? About that War Cheerleader who caused titters during a stay at the Beveryl Hills Hilton with his barely of age trick who sent the cheerleader out into the hall, in nothing but a pair of dingy, gray y-fronts, and wouldn't let him back in the suite until he'd bow-wow-wowed repeatedly like a "good little doggy" -- to the amusement of everyone at the hotel.

But Thomas Friedman was more than just a mere War Cheerleader. He reigned supreme among the War Cheerleaders who were able to stand fully erect. And he was the uppity, Eastern gas bag, come out to California to let his hair down but instead ended up donning a wig hat.

How could they not talk?

Thomas Friedman all dolled up in his Fredricks of Hollywood best at a social event was news. World had traveled east and landed before we did.

Which explaiend the 32 messages from Gail Collins culminating with, "Say it ain't so, Monroe. I can't keep any food down, I've been laughing too hard!"

There were also repeat messages that consisted of nothing but snickers and hang ups.

Thomas Friedman suspect Nicky K.

I told Thomas Friemdna that if he wasn't so cheap, we'd have caller ID and he'd know for sure.

He sulked for about a half-hour, then he disappeared into the "loo" -- which, honestly, scared the hell out of me.

I had this vision of him emerging as Joan Collins. And just when I'd finally grown less surprised by the sight of him in his Marilyn Monroe drag.

I tried to picture him in a dark wig, sporting huge shoulder pads, speaking in clipped tones but I couldn't. His own shoulders are so narrow -- or, as he calls them "dainty -- that it was just too much.

Fortunately, he emerged from the "loo" in a pink cotton robe, cold cream smeared on his face, and blonde wig perched a top of his head.

Speaking in a breathy voice, he insited upon calling me "Dorothy Shaw" and I suggest I "round up some eats and we'll have us a good old fashioned girls' night in."

Dorothy Shaw? I got it. He was playing "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes." Though most in the free world would cast him as Piggy, he was attempting his Lorelei Lee. I found myself fearing his "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" number.

But what the hell, I was hungry and it's not like when he was in one of his Roslyn Taber and stuck me with the Montgomery Clift or Thelma Ritter role. So I gathered up some pretzels and chips, made a note to go grocery shopping tomorrow and headed back to the living room where I found Thomas Friedman sitting on the couch in a most unlady-like position, with both feet on the floor and knees wide opened. I almost said something but was afraid he might start playing the interrogation scene in "Basic Instinct."

He was in a melancholy mood and kept asking me to put something by "Frankie" on the stereo.
I was wiped out and not stuck in the Thelma Ritter role, so I didn't play fetch. I didn't think Jane Russell would have.

Thomas Friedman got a little snippy but I just replied, "No one chaperone's the chaperone."

That led to an "Oh Dorothy" as he burst into giggles.

I just wanted to relax and kicked off my shoes while Thomas Friedman flipped through a magazine and pretended it was "Look."

"Oh, look, there's Clark Gable! I hear he's been dating --"

Suddenly Thomas Friedman gasped.

I assumed he was just in character, as though any second he'd start in on who Joe Dimaggio was dating or something.

Turns out he wasn't joking, although I was laughing.

"Listen to this, Betinna!" he exclaimed. "Quote: 'As for Friedman, despite botching the biggest foreign-policy story in the post-Cold War era, he retains his prized space on the New York Times Op-Ed page, which, in turn, guarantees that his books, even ones with obvious and pedantic themes such as "The World Is Flat", jump to the top of the bestseller lists."

Still giggling, I gave him a shove and said, "Read it again, read it again!"

"Who is this, this, Robert Parry?"

"A genius," I answered. "Read it again."

No go. Thomas Friedman was miffed, he was ticked and, most of all, he was pissed.

He was convinced that Robert Parry was mocking his "California episode." I attempted to explain to him that 'pedantic" was not "pendulous" and that Parry was making no reference to the fake boobs, but Thomas Friedman was having none of it.

"That's it," he announced, hand to forehead, "I'm drawing the veil."

Oh Lord, I thought, not even back a full day and already I'm back on the Dawn Patrol.

Two things from the paper. First this:

Iraq snapshot
Friday, August 25, 2006, chaos and violence continue in Iraq despite the wave of Operation Happy Talk
launched yesterday by US military boys John Abizaid and George Casey that things are looking up and corners will be turned, equally laughable was Brit military boy Charlie Burbridge claiming that a base in Amara hadn't been abandoned. He offers a new punch line today. The inquiry into the death of Jake Kovco continues and Soldier 14 testifies again. But we'll start with the latest on Ehren Watada -- the first US officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq.

Late Thursday" J.C.Matthews told the AP that a recommendation had been reached by Lt. Colonel Mark Keith in Ehren Watada's Article 32 hearing. Gregg K. Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) reports that the recommendation is "Ehren Watada face a general court-martial for failing to join his unit in Iraq" and Keith "has endorsed two other charges: conduct unbecoming an officer and contempt toward officials." Translation, Keith has endorsed all three charges made on July 5th. As the AP notes, "Keith could have recommended anything from dismissal of the charges to a general court-martial" as he weighed the issues and the testimony given on August 17th. Gregg K. Kakesako notes that Keith did feel that Ehren Watada was "sincere in his beliefs" which "should mitigate any future punishment" and Kakesako outlines the next step: "Keith's decision now goes to Col. Cynthia Murphy, U.S. Army Garrison commander at Fort Lewis, who will review it and then submit her recommendations to Lt. Gen James Dubik".

AP quotes Ehren Watada's civilian attorney, Eric Seitz, stating: "We always believed that when they went so far as to convene an Article 32 hearing that they had alread made a decision to proceed." Hal Bernton (Seattle Times) notes Seitz was left "somewhat astounded" that the charges endorsed by Keith included anything other than "missing the troop movement" because of "important First Amendment issues" that surround the other two charges.

Sarah Olson (Truthout) reports this today (of the August 17th testimony of Denis Halliday: "Halliday was called to testify regarding the impace of war on the Iraqi people. 'The people of Iraq had become used to living under very difficult conditions after the destruction in the name of the United Nations by the United States of the civilian infrastructure, water supplies, sewer systems, electric power, use of depleted uranium and cluster bombs.' Halliday was prevented from providing complete testimony when the investigating officer presided over the Article 32 hearing ruled that the 'consequences of the war or the situation on the ground' were irrelevant to Lieutenant Watada's argument that the war was illegal and that he had an obligation to refuse to fight it." That is the most that's been written of Halliday's testimony to date (which, for the record, wasn't delivered via mime).

Bob Watada continues his speaking engagements in the San Francisco Bay Area to raise awareness of what his son, Ehren, is facing. The events include:

Fri. 8/25
No. Cal. Japanese Christian Theological Forum Berkeley Methodist United Church- chapel 1710 Carleton St/McGee in Berkeley Contact: Laura Takeuchi 510-848-3614 7-10pm
Sir! No, Sir!"
Film Screening & Speakers Santa Cruz Veterans Building Contact: Sharon Kufeldt 650-799-1070 Sat. 8/26 7-9pm
Educational & Cultural Event Berkeley Friends Church; 1600 Sacramento St., Berkeley Contact: Betty Kano 510-684-0239 Sun. 8/27 4-6pm Speaking Event AFSC building, 65-Ninth St., SF Contact: Martha Hubert 415-647-1119

A complete list of the events Bob Watada will be taking part in can be found

Cedric (Cedric's Big Mix) is advising those calling Donald Rumsfeld (703-545-6700) or mailing him (1000 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1000) to say: "Hands off Ehren Watada! Let him go." Billie advises that you can use to e-mail the Pentagon. She suggests "Re: Ehren Watad" or "ATTN: DONALD RUMSFELD." Courage to Resist and will continue to offer resources, ideas and inspiration. Get the word out.

Turning to the illegal occupation, violence and chaos continues.


Reuters reports one Iraqi soldier dead and two others wounded from a roadside bomb in Rashad and a "hand-grenade attack on a market in Hawija" left three people wounded. AFP notes the death, late Thursday, of "an Iraqi army officer" with four soldiers left wounded.


AFP notes that five were killed by gunfire in Baquba, two in Tirkit (bakery workers) with three other people wounded,
Reuters notes that, in Nasiriya, gunfire claimed the lives of two and left two others wounded.


Reuters notes the discovery, in Qaim, of an Iraqi soldier ("signs of torture") while AFP notes that three corpses were discovered in Kirkuk ("tortured and bullet-riddled bodies").

In other violence, despite the British military flacks that were so eagerly allowed to
spin in this this morning's New York Times, Haidar Hani (AP) reports: "Looters ravaged a former British base Friday . . . taking everything from doors and window frames to corrugated roofing and metal pipes". As Ross Colvin (Reuters) reported yesterday, the base, which had come under nightly, heavy attacks, was abandoned. The AP story today notes: "Iraqi authories had complained that the British withdrawal had caught them by surprise" and allows flack Charlie Burbridge to holler Not-true-we-gave-them-24-hours-notice! Well, Charlie, on a rental, you usually have to give a minimum of 30 days notice. But it is good to know that as they packed up everything they could carry, someone did think to make a quick call saying, "Hey, we're about to split. If there's anything you want, better grab it quick, dude!"

Along with an adequate heads up, Iraqi politicians have other complaints they're sharing.
Aparism Ghosh (Time magazine) reports that Abdul-Azziz al-Hakim states that for over three years Iraqi politicians have persistently requested "and reliable evidence" that "Iran is interfering in Baghdad's affairs" only to be rebuffed. al-Hakim is quoted as saying, "[A]nd for three years we've told them, 'Show us proof.' But they never have." al-Hakim and others speaking to Ghosh make clear that they feel there is no proof and that Iran is being blamed to divert attention from the failure of the illegal war.

This as
Aaron Glantz reports for OneWorld that Nuremberg prosecutor Benjamin Ferenczz has declared that Bully Boy and Saddam Hussein "should be tried for war crimes."

In Australia, the inquiry into the April 21st death of Baghdad of Jake Kovco continues.
Figuring into the most recent testimony were "
NSW Police scientific officer Stephanie Hales" and Soldier 14. Soldier 14 has made mutliple appearances in the hearing. On August 9th, his testimony rejected the so-called buddy system where a pair was responsible for checking one another's weapons at the end of a shift (he also testified that what he said and what the military wrote up in his official statement were quite different). Last Friday, a DNA witness, Michelle Franco, identified some of the DNA on Jake Kovco's gun as belonging to Soldier 14. [Again from last Friday: The Herald-Sun reports that only the DNA "on the pistol's slide" were ruled by expert Franco to be a direct match (DNA on the "trigger, hand grip and magazine" are believed, by Franco, to be Soldier 14's but are "not direct matches."] Soldier 14 has maintained that he did not touch Jake Kovco's pistol (and he's refused to be questioned by the NSW).

At the start of this week, Soldier 14 again testified to the hearing and maintained that the DNA must have gotten on the pistol some other way such as via other equipment he acknowledges that he and Jake Kovco both handled such as a megaphone, a radio or telephone. Also in that testimony, Soldier 14 declared that "people" had warned him that Jake Kovco's widow, Shelley Kovco, was 'out to get him.' That was his excuse for avodiging her. Belinda Tasker (The Daily Telegraph) noted, of that testimony, that Soldier 14's avoidance of Shelley Kovco -- out of fear of being accused of something,apparently -- translates as Soldier 14 aoviding contact with her for "more than three months" and notes that Soldier 14 said "people were telling me" that Shelley Kovco was out to get him. Who these 'people' were warning him of Shelley Kovco will apparently not be explored.

That was some of the previous testimony. Today Soldier 14 testified again (not via video-link and remember he has stated he wants to get back to the apparent calm of Baghdad).
Malcolm Brown (Sydney Morning Herald) reports that the issues today revolved around: "Did you silently cock Private Kovco's pistol?" which Soldier 14 asserted he did not. Soldier 14 has maintained that he saw Jake Kovco a few days prior to his death. Brown describes the process as "a silent cocking operation, where the weapon is stripped down, a round put in he chamber, then reassembled, leaving the round in the chamber." Soldier 14 will also be testifying Monday.

Stephanie Hales' testimony is
characterized by the AAP as asserting that residue tests can not determine "whether Private Jake Kovco shot himself in Iraq or if someone else pulled the trigger" for a variety of reasons including the fact that Jake Kovco's "clothes . . . were destroyed," "the barracks room where PTE Kovco was shot was cleaned before NSW Police arrived in Baghdad to carry out their forensic tests," Jake Kovco's body was washed in a Kuwait morgue, Jake Kovco's hands were not wrapped "in paper bags" and the two roommates were allowed to shower and wash their clothing with no forensic tests being performed.

Finally, in England, British soldier Jason Chelsea has been buried. The
BBC reports that the nineteen-year-old "killed himself because he feared . . . he might have to shoot children" as he asserted he had been told in his training. The BBC notes that:
"Earlier this month the MoD released figures showing 1,541 soldiers who served in Iraq are suffering from psychiatric illness."

And this:

Iraq snapshot
Thursday, August 24, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, John Abizaid must be drinking something stronger than cough syrup,
Ehren Watada's father Bob continues speaking out to raise awareness about his son, a British military flack plays word games, Operation Happy Talk launches a new wave and reality (as is so often the case) crashes into the propaganda.

BBC sums up the reality this way: "At least 12 Iraqis and three US soldiers have died in bombings and gun attacks across Iraq in the last 24 hours, officials say." As Elena Becatoros (Associated Press) notes: "The killings came despite assurances from U.S. officials that progress was being made to improve security in the capital."

We'll start with the violence and chaos.


Elena Beatoros (AP) notes that a US soldier died today "when his vehicle was hit by a a roadside bomb south of Baghdad." Reuters notes three car bombs and two roadside bombs today in Baghdad have taken at least four lives and left 24 injured. The AP notes that three police officers were killed in Baquba (minivan bomb) that left another wounded and, on the edges of Baquba, a roadside bomb claimed the lives of three Iraqi soldiers.


A US soldier was killed on Wednesday (one of the three noted at the beginning) in what the BBC describes as "
small-arms fire" to the south of Baghdad. Also dying on Wednesday from gunfire (and not included in yesterday's snapshot -- it wasn't reported then) were three police officers in Balad. Reuters reports seven who had been shot dead were taken to a hospital in Mosul and that three police officers were shot dead in Balad (those six are today, yesterday three police officers were shot dead in Balad).

Elena Becatoros (AP) notes that a US soldier was shot dead in Baghdad today while on a patrol.


Reuters reports a corpse discovered in Suwayra ("handcuffed . . . gunshot wounds"); one discovered near Latifiya ("handcuffed, blindfolded . . . gunshot wounds"), a third discovered in Tikrit; a fourth discovered Baiji (this was the body that went with an earlier discovered severed head) and three more ("handuffed . . . gunshot wounds") were discovered in Baghdad.

And in the face of the above, General John Abizaid launched a wave of Operation Happy Talk that out does the strongest happy talker. (Okay, maybe not
Dexy Filkins.) "I think there has been great progress on the security front in Baghdad recently," declared Abizaid. Nouri al-Maliki, Iraqi prime minister and puppet of the occupation, knew Happy Talk wasn't enough. Instead, AFP reports, he "has banned television channels from broadcasting gory images of daily bloodshed in the country". Keep it off the TV screens, the thinking seems to go, and Iraqis will forget that they're occupied. This 'policy' seems to invite government censorship as someone has to determine what will "arouse passions and sectarian feelings". All this time after Paul Bremer had a hissy fit over an editorial cartoon, the press is still the occupation's first target.

Meanwhile British troops of the Soldiers of the Queen's Royal Hussars are . . . on the move.
Ross Colvin (Reuters) reports a lot of talk about how they're 'stripped-down' and mobile (in Landrovers) but the reality is that they're also homeless -- they've "abandoned their base in Iraq's southern Maysan province on Thursday". Though the base was under "nightly attack" and though it has, indeed, been abandoned, British flack Charlie Burbridge disagrees that "the British had been forced out of Amara".

Meanwhile, in the United States, Ehren Watada's father Bob continues his efforts to get the word out on his son, the first known commissioned officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq.
Momo Chang (Oakland Tribune) quotes Bob Watada saying: "Ehren is not doing this for himself. He is doing this for every American who believes in democracy and the Constitution. . . . And I am very proud of him." NBC11 reports Bob Watada, speaking in San Jose, saying, "My son is very strong. He's going to -- even if there's a court-martial, he's going to go to jail instead of killing innocent Iraqis -- that's the real tragedy here."

Chang notes that Bob Watada will have taken part in 25 speaking engagements during his brief time in the San Francisco Bay Area and that Sarah Olson (one of two journalists the governments wants as witnesses against Ehren Watada should a court-martial be scheduled) has stated, "It's not my job as a journalist to help the Army prosecute Lt. Watada."

Bob Watada continues to speak out and here are some of the upcoming events:

Thu. 8/24
7pm Reception & Educational Event Newman Center, 5900 Newman Ct.,
Sacramento Contact: Sacramento-Yolo Peace Action 916-448-7157

Fri. 8/25
No. Cal. Japanese Christian Theological Forum Berkeley Methodist United Church- chapel 1710 Carleton St/McGee in Berkeley Contact: Laura Takeuchi 510-848-3614

Sir! No, Sir!"
Film Screening & Speakers Santa Cruz Veterans Building Contact: Sharon Kufeldt 650-799-1070

Sat. 8/26
Educational & Cultural Event Berkeley Friends Church; 1600 Sacramento St., Berkeley Contact: Betty Kano 510-684-0239

Sun. 8/27
4-6pm Speaking Event AFSC building, 65-Ninth St., SF Contact: Martha Hubert 415-647-1119

A complete list of the events Bob Watada will be taking part in can be found

Cedric (Cedric's Big Mix) is advising those calling Donald Rumsfeld (703-545-6700) or mailing him (1000 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1000) to say: "Hands off Ehren Watada! Let him go." Billie advises that you can use to e-mail the Pentagon. She suggests "Re: Ehren Watad" or "ATTN: DONALD RUMSFELD." Courage to Resist and will continue to offer resources, ideas and inspiration. Get the word out.

Ehren Watada is only one resister. Yesterday on
KPFA's Flashpoints, Dennis Bernstein spoke with war resister Carl Webb who has repeatedly refused to serve in the Iraq war. As noted at The Third Estate Sunday Review, Webb recieved a letter saying that he was released from the Texas National Guard but, as Jeff Mackler pointed out, Webb also got a second letter saying that "they were reassinging him to the pool for the people who could be drafted." ("Drafted" refers to the stop-loss/backdoor draft program. Those new to this topic can refer to Scott Cannon and Rick Montgomery's "Back-Door Draft Shakes The Military" from the Kansas City Star.)

Replying to a question from Bernstein as to whether or not he had any regrets, Webb replied, "No, I have no regrets at all" and noted the importance of raising awareness about the GI resistance and getting the word out on "how much GI resistance there is in the military because that's why I'm here, to tell my fellow soldiers that they don't have to obey orders, that they have to refuse by any means necessary."

Webb discussed the story of his refusal to serve in an illegal war and noted, "I'm here hoping to be an example not only to do those being called up but to anyone in the military". Webb will be speaking this Saturday in San Francisco:

Aug. 26 7:30 pm
Socialist Action Bookstore
298 Valencia St.
San Francisco

Jeff Mackler is running for the US Senate out of California the seat currently occupied by War Hawk Dianne Feinstein. Yesterday, on The KPFA Evening News, Feinstein revealed that she'd come to the conclusion intelligence was misused and abused to lead us into war. Three years and a primary challenger was all it took. Possibly in three more years she may be able to note the illegal nature of the war as well.

Rebecca noted Bernstein's interview with Carl Webb yesterday.]

In Australia, the military inquiry into the April 21st death of Jake Kovco in Baghdad continues. The lead in the reports is about a big, teary performance delivered by a witness -- Brigadier Paul Symon. The
AAP tells you Symon is "Australia's former commander in Iraq" and that he "says he will take responsiblity for the bungled return of Private Jake Kovco's body" and he did so, according to the AAP, via "emotional evidence". Australia's ABC informs that poor Symon "was reduced to tears". If some felt it was performance akin to the one Patrick Walters reported on March 9th of this year (where Symon announced to the world that the corner had been turned and that troops were 'turning the tables') it may go to the fact that he blew his credibility in the eyes of some a long time ago. It may also have to do with the excessive coverage his dramatics overshadow a genuine response by the family of Jake Kovco.

But let's back up, for those who've forgotten or are late to the discussion, Jake Kovco didn't make it back to Australia as planned. Instead,
Juso Sinanovic was sent to Austrlia -- a problem since he should have been sent to Bosnia (Sinanovic died on April 17th). As Elizabeth Jackson reported on AM (Australia's ABC), April 27th: "The Body of an Australian soldier killed in a shooting accident last week in Baghdad has been accidentally left behind in Kuwait. Privated Jake Kovco's body was due to arrive in Melbourne late last night on a flight from Kuwait. But it didn't." Jackson interviewed Brendan Nelson (Defence Minister) who declared that Kovco "was at all times appropriately identified by the Australian Defence Force and the Australian Army" which we now know, one of the few things the inquiry has established, that's not true.

In terms of Paul Symon, he was the commander when Kovco died. He was reponsible. That he broke down in tears after reading "
a statement he had written to his superiors on April 27, explaining how the wrong body was sent back to Australia" says little about his compassion for Jake Kovco (it can be argued he had none, hold on for that), it has to do with the public humilitation of having to publicly have all eyes on him while he read his "Oops" in public.

The delicate flower was weeping for himself. After cry baby dried up his tears, he resumed testifying and went on to refer to Jake Kovco, as
Tracy Ong (The Australian) reports (and one of the few to lead with this), as "a piece of cargo." This caused a genuine objection from Judy Kovco (as opposed to the earlier theatrics from Symon) who shouted, "He's not a piece of cargo. Don't you dare. He was my son."

Now remember, this was the grown man who broke down in tears when he had to read his "Oops" to the hearing. That wasn't about Kovco, the tears. That was about the humilitation of having to own up to mistakes under his command. Demonstrating this point further is Symon's response to Judy Kovco which was to describe his reference to Jake Kovco as "
a piece of cargo" as being "not well chosen."

Tara Ravens ( reports on his "Oops" he read to the hearing: "If mistakes are found to be made . . . I accept responsibility for those mistakes. If mistakes have been made outside . . . I would expect their senior management to accept responsiblity in exactly the same manner. After all, someone has to take responsiblity for this dreadful mistake." Yes, someone does. And despite the April 27 "Oops" where he spoke of "responsibility" it's still not happening. The AAP notes that, at the hearing, while doing his responsiblity 'talk,' he "implored the federal government to adopt better repatriation policies." Blah, blah, blah, "human emotions" are messy (this is a summary of Symon's supposed acceptance of responsibility) and we need "technical solutions" blah blah blah. Referring to the body of Jake Kovco (the first Australian on the ground death in the current war) as "we have here a piece of cargo" doesn't indicate that Symon's lost in "human emotions."

The inquiry also addressed the movement of Kovco's body. Again, Symon says it wasn't his fault.
Symon states: "When the advice came not to move the body, it had already been moved so I could not turn the clock back".

Yesterday, Soldier 47 gave testimony stating that he had "instructed authorities in Baghdad not to move the body" -- before leaving for Baghdad "immediately." Though Symon congratulated himself for "common sense and good judgement," there's no indication that he applied either. Tracy Ong reports: "Brigadier Symon said a request from military policy in Syndey that Kovco's body remain in Baghdad came after it had been moved to the US morgue at the airport at the request of medical staff. He said he thought he was helping military police by having the body moved to the evacuation point in Kuwait where they could see it sooner." The evacuation point refers to the private morgue -- soldiers have testified that if the US morgue had been used, the mix up wouldn't have happened and they've criticized what they saw as the cheapness in the decision. Ong notes Anzac Day and Symon denies that there was a rush to get Kovco home in time for that holiday while admitting "I could see a certain poignancy in a good soldier being returned to the nation on Anzac Day."

Anzac Day is April 25th. It's a national holiday in Australia, a day of memorial beginning in the 1920s and furthered by the human costs of WWII (it became an official holiday in 1916 to mark the actions of the newly independent Australia in WWI). A certain poignancy in Jake Kovco being returned to Australia on that day?
Does Symon mean poignancy or does he mean PR?

Possibly the remark underscores the PR hopes of Symon who's had his hand in selling and shelling an illegal war. The hopes of a PR coup (remember, the month prior Symon was -- falsely -- telling reporters a corner had been turned) may be the what added further stress to an already difficult mourning for Jake Kovco's family and friends.