27 Jul 2009

Thousand Crimes of Dick Cheney

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Lizzie Widdicombe, in this week’s New Yorker, describes the beautiful people taking in the Bactrian Treasure Horde (fresh from darkest Afghanistan) at the Met, nibbling mutton at La Grenouille, and lamenting still another of Darth Cheney’s enormities.

Elisabetta Valtz-Fino, the exhibit’s curator, led a tour of the treasures, which included tiger, dolphin, and ram designs (the nomads loved animals). There was a jeweller in the crowd—Tim McClelland, of McTeigue & McClelland jewellers, which helped sponsor the event—and he studied the back of a collapsible gold crown. “This is the Hubble space telescope of jewelry,” he said. Adrianne Dicker-Kadzinski, a former Morgan Stanley investment banker, said she had done a stint in Afghanistan, in 2004, with the U.S. Army Reserve. “Kabul itself was very sad,” she said. “The whole country is like a moonscape—brown, brown, brown.”

Afterward, there was a lamb dinner at La Grenouille (“I feel very Afghan eating this,” the writer Ann Marlowe said) and a raffle: all the guests received little keys; one of them opened a treasure chest containing a special gold-and-lapis bracelet made by McClelland. (The winner was a J. P. Morgan asset manager named Sophie Bosch de Hood.)

As excited as people were to have seen the Bactrian jewels, a sadness wafted over the evening: because of security concerns, the hoard can’t be displayed in Afghanistan. “I’m so mad at Dick Cheney,” said Caroline Firestone, an eighty-year-old philanthropist, who has known the former Vice-President for a long time. “I once gave him my house in Wyoming so he could stay there at Christmas. And he never let me come and talk to him about Afghanistan.”

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ACD Kadzinski

I am not sure what the intent of posting this New Yorker item was, but I’d like to register my dissatisfaction with this piece. Ms. Widdicombe was a very likable young journalist, so I’m not sure what changes occurred in the editorial room. BUT, here are some clarifications and corrections:
1. There is barely a mention of the reason for all this hoopla: the event that Ms Widdicombe attended free of charge to herself or her paper, was hosted by the Rebuilding Afghanistan Foundation, a US 501c3, of which I am a Board Advisor. We fund educational projects in Afghanistan, and that evening’s fundraiser specifically raised funds for another year’s operating expenses for our school in Wardak province. Furthermore, 100% of every dollar donated, including from that rather fabulously presented evening, is used for actual educational expenses of Afghan children – not one penny is diverted to cover our charity’s overhead. The Founders, Board and Committee self-finance all fundraising and administrative costs so that our donor dollars can be 100% effective.
2. I did NOT say that all Afghanistan is a moonscape. I specifically noted the tragedy of 3 decades of warfare in what could be a strikingly beautiful country, and in particular the impact of migration of at least 2 million people if not more to Kabul, a city built originally to house perhaps 100,000. The landscape around Kabul itself looks a lot like Fort Huachuca, something the intell soldiers and I used to joke about. And I was there as a USCENTCOM liaison officer to XVIII Airborne Corp’s CJTF-180 in 2002-2003, not 2004.
3. The comprehensive, intelligent and coherent remarks made by His Excellency Ambassador Husain Haqqani as well as the very thoughtful and incisive remarks by Brent Scowcroft, were also given short shrift in this piece and their meaning was distorted by such treatment.
4. We are delighted that the New Yorker appreciated the private tour and the sheer magnificence of the Bactrian Hoard Exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as well as the splendid evening at La Grenouille. We regret that the magazine chose to report the story in such a way that utterly neglected to mention the importance of the evening to hundreds of Afghan children and distorted the thoughtful remarks of our distinguished guest speakers.

Respectfully, Adrianne Dicker Kadzinski
Board Advisor, The Rebuilding Afghanistan Foundation



JDZ

The intent was mockery of New Yorker pretentiousness and liberalism.



Erich

Hello Adrianne,
Was in ROTC with you, hope all is well! Even though I read the New Yorker, I expect no less than shifty bullshit journalism from them! It’s a great fiction rag! You are doing good things, keep it up.
Erich



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