New Iraq and the Same Old Same Old
By Al Kamen
Wednesday, June 30, 2004; Page A19
Former Iraq viceroy L. Paul Bremer's heels had barely scuttered across the tarmac to his plane Monday when the new Iraqi government proudly unfurled the nation's flag.
But wait a minute! That's not the flag the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council agreed on after an extensive artistic competition. Remember that snappy blue Islamic crescent on a field of pure white, with two blue stripes representing the Tigris and Euphrates and a third stripe to symbolize the country's Kurdish minority? The pale blue was just like the main color of the flag of Israel.
It was deemed a beautiful symbol of the New Iraq. But for some reason the Iraqis, probably because they aren't used to democracy, objected.
So the flags surrounding the new interim government are the same old red-and-green and-black flag of yore. They even have the "God Is Great" writing, which Saddam Hussein added after the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
Makes you wonder how many of Bremer's final pre-departure edicts will make it into next week.
Are Bikinis Okay Now?
Then there's the new Coalition Provisional Authority dress code. A Loop Fan forwarded a May 2 "Administrative Notice" that said the code, "effective immediately," was to be followed by all military and civilian folks. The new rules are:
"a. When wearing physical training gear inside the Palace it will be modest in appearance, not form-fitting or extremely short."
"b. Swimwear is not to be worn inside the Palace or to and from the pool without additional outer clothing."
"c. Revealing clothing, such as sheer (see-through) clothes, will not be worn in any public place without additional undergarments, preferably a color complimentary to the wearer's skin tone. Wearing short miniskirts and tank tops in the Palace is not authorized."
"d. Clothing which displays offensive messages [is] not authorized and will not be worn. This includes T-shirts containing sexually explicit, vulgar, racial or theologically extreme graphics or language."
Well, no more CPA, so no more dress code? Couldn't get an answer from the CPA yesterday. Or from the embassy either.
Turning Down the Heat
Speaking of dress codes . . . some folks at the Interior Department are miffed at the new "Summer Business Casual Dress Policy" issued last week by P. Lynn Scarlett, assistant secretary for policy, management and budget.
D.C. summers and energy-conservation efforts argue for everyone to dress "in cooler and more comfortable attire," she said.
So "effective July 6, 2004, I am extending the current business casual dress policy from Fridays only to every working day" for D.C. area employees. But don't get too comfortable. After Labor Day, "we will return to wearing business casual attire on Fridays only."
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