Monday, September 24, 2007

Don't you fret begins at sixty!

Bush, Bullshit, Train Wrecks and a Voice Crying in the Wilderness

We know, as does every lucid observer, that the war is lost. By what standards do I make this judgment? By putting the facts of the current situation up against any one of the numerous permutations of the specific goals of the war articulated by Bush and the neo-cons since the war began. Almost as quickly as Bush redefines the war and our goals in fighting it, events force him to recast the whole issue in ways that ignore the immediately preceding failures and which commit us to "stay the course" for an indeterminate future. Okay, you know all that as well as I do.

We know now---and some of us have known since before the invasion---that without a dictator or military rule, Iraq will devolve into an even more chaotic mess when we leave. That die was cast the instant we took out Sadaam. The only reason things are marginally quieter now than a year ago---and it has little to do with The Surge---is that we have sold out to the Sunni in Anbar Province and equipped them to take on what Bush and his minions call Al Qaeda in Iraq. Clever wording, that. "Al Qaeda," the term, smacks of Osama, foreigners and all that alien threat that so galvanizes American opposition. In fact, "Al Qaeda in Iraq" is made up to a significant degree of disaffected Iraqis---mostly Sunni---who are in a power struggle with other Sunni as well as the Shia and the Shia controlled central government. (Of course there are foreigners in the organization and they are more visible in this organization than most others, but all wars and all factions have almost always used mercenaries or have had foreigners involved and who the hell are WE but outside agitators??. )

What we are doing on this front is fucked in at least two extremely important aspects. First, we are gaining a measure of "peace" by taking sides in a civil war or at least in a power struggle between two factions. That is a battle that even most neo-cons admit must won by finding a political rather than a military solution. We are defying our own understanding of the core problem in Iraq when we engage the Civil War. Secondly, by handling Anbar and parts of Baghdad in this way, that is by allying ourselves with the most powerful Sunni faction and joining with them to put down factions we deem even less desirable, we are not only usurping the duties of the central government----you know, the one we are absolutely committed to see become the successful, stable government of all of Iraq and all Iraqis---we are virtually ensuring its collapse. In supporting Malachi, we are making a stand with the central government as it tries to gain the power and wherewithal to put down the insurrection, stop the Civil War, put down the foreigners who have joined the fight. Malachi is supposed to bring the army up to speed, establish order throughout Iraq and rebuild the infrastructure. That's at home. It also has to defend itself against the various other power mullahs or sheiks in the region. However, our "winning" strategy in Anbar and parts of the capital is based on the decentralizing tactic of joining the fight along regional, tribal and sectarian lines. In other words---and rather frightening words at that---we are at war with ourselves in terms of the strategies being followed and tactics being employed.

We also know now that barring a radical shift of the "moderates" in the GOP, the Democrats will not be able to muster the 60 votes needed to invoke cloture and to forestall a bill killing filibuster. That fact means Bush can probably prevent an end of the war or any significant troop reductions while he is in office.

We also know that a vast majority of the public want an end to the war and want the troops to come home sooner rather than later. Even Bush would have to find a way out before too much longer. Public pressure will win in the end and the government will be forced to withdraw.

We also know that it is most likely that the Democrats will win the WH and maintain if not expand their majorities in both houses of Congress. There are many reasons for this prediction but the biggest factor is the war.

So what bodes from these related truth? Bush will be able to "stay the course" for the brief remainder of his tenure in office. Because of the public's eroding support of the war, the Democrats will likely win the WH. Because of public opposition to the war and because they will have promised to do so, the Democratic controlled government will radically reduce or redefine our role in Iraq. Chaos will ensue. Oil prices will go up. We will have a recession and the Middle East will grow increasingly destabilized and SOME FUCKING WAY OR ANOTHER, THE REPUBLICANS WILL SUCCESSFULLY PUT THE BLAME ON THE "WEAK ON DEFENSE" DEMOCRATS AND THE WEAK ON IQ AMERICAN PEOPLE WILL FALL FOR IT.

This disaffection with Democratic foreign policy will probably coincide with the public's outrage over the fact that if the Democrats make any effort to pay our debt, pay for the war or balance the budget which was a Bush monster, they will be forced to raise taxes or cut programs. Nevermind that they will be trying to solve problems Bush created and end a war he started, all the blame will fall on them and Bush will be getting paid millions for speaking at banquets, smirking and saying "I told you so" about those peace-nik and tax-loving Democrats. The Democrats are always---and have almost always been--described as such devious, clever to a fault, manipulative, brainwashing politicos; yet, they are apparently completely inept----that word is not strong enough--- when it comes to explaining anything at all about the machinations of the opposition. For fuck's sake, they lost an argument over who loved his country more, a war hero with two purple hearts and numerous other combat medals or draft dodging, AWOL member of the Air Reserves! They will lose the debate over "who lost Iraq?" (And not even be clever enough to point out the arrogance indicated in the formulation of that question.)

We know that this scenario or one similar as hell will unfold and we can already hear the outrageous rhetoric from the Right. You can hear it, can you not? SO, why the fuck is there NOTHING we can do to stop it? Why can we not demonstrate this to the public in so convincing a way as to wake them up? Why can we not stop the outrageous events about to be inflicted on our body politic?

In my mind's eye, I am aboard a runaway train and the nearing depot is filled with munitions manufactured in the community ready to be shipped to a buyer who has agreed to a deal giving them a huge profit.. The people at the station have the power to stop the train, to remove the munitions and to avoid any explosion at all. They are close enough to hear me screaming at them telling them where the train's cut-off switch is but the depot master owns the heavily insured property as well as a secret munitions plant that did not get the profitable deal. He plans to use the insurance money to expand his munitions factory and to bribe the Mayor into offering him the deal for the munitions sale. (He will also later hire the Mayor as a consultant and name him to the Board of Directors and see to it that the Mayor shares in the future profits of the company.) . He talks over my screams and convinces the people at the depot that I am a lunatic and that my only goal is to disrupt commerce and destroy the community. I am, he shrewdly proclaims, a LIBERAL.

I yell till I am hoarse trying to explain that I am a citizen of their community---that I love it and want only to keep it from being destroyed. I hold up the insurance papers, the letters offering to bribe the Mayor, the minutes to the secret talks with the munitions buyer, the documents showing his plans to raze several housing developments for the elderly in order to expand his plant and I play a tape of him talking and laughing with his buddies in town about what fools the people are and how mind-boggling gullible they are. The people see all that I hold out to them. The people see the explosives stacked all around them. They can see the locomotive coming at then at an outrageous speed---obviously out of control. They have absolutely no idea how the explosion can be avoided and they know it will be a major disaster . But...... they really sort of like the Depot Master---even though he has been in trouble many times, has been implicated in numerous shady deals, some of which seriously harmed various members of the community and he has been caught numerous times lying to the Chamber of Commerce about his secretive business ventures---still, he is something of a "Hail fellow, well met." And even though they know he is a scoundrel, they really adore his mousy little wife--not because she has ever accomplished anything of worth but because in her blank, insipid stare, they see themselves .

Much more important, the last time he got caught selling bogus insurance to residents of the local nursing home's oncology unit, he was arrested and sentenced to hard time. Out on bail and awaiting transfer to the Big House, he recently reported that not long after the trial he found himself in the gutter one night, drunk or coked up or something but through the vomit and spittle that clogged his long eyelashes and gave a sheen to his blazer, he saw a giant Jesus riding across the sky in a Chariot ---or maybe a Persian carpet---and as Jesus passed overhead, He told the Depot Master that from then on He would be telling him what to do in any and every situation and that no matter how much hard evidence was found indicating that he was on the wrong path, he was to publicly claim that Satan had planted the "evidence" and distorted the "facts" as a test of the people's faith and that they were to ignore the Satan inspired "facts" no matter how compelling they were. To question the Depot Master, then, was to question Sweet Jesus, so beloved of this bomb-making community. Sure they made and profited from weapons of mass destruction that were designed to kill all men, women and children within a mile of impact, but they fucking loved Jesus and they'd be damned if they were going to turn on a man who said Jesus was his savior. Besides, it was so much less taxing not to walk over to the off switch.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Status Quo Antebellum or What Did They Die For?

Long time gone I have been. Recalling the boycotts grounded in the battle for equality that punctuated the days of my youth in the 60s, I determined to withdraw from the social whirl for the duration of the reign of George II.

However, while paralyzed with fear for our nation's future, I was forced to watch this week as the nominal leader of the land begged us for another few years of a war already lost. Fear breeds fear as I now am barely ambulatory after having listened to a 20 minute run of non sequiturs that defy rational analysis. So, as you would a cripple crossing the car-laden lanes of a super-highway, HELP me.

Can it be true that Bush's plan is to continue with a surge, the purpose of which was to enforce a separate peace in the berubbled capital of Iraq so that the "democratically elected and constitutionally legitimized" Malachi government could gather its shit and govern. To assuage his congressional critics, Bush presented Malachi a number of modest benchmarks by which the success of the surge could be measured and America's continued support of the Iraqi government determined.

Nine months have passed. Americans gave W the time he requested and the troops so many bumper stickers honor have continued to suffer grievous injuries and death(alas, those who most "honor" America's troops refuse to pay for the war, care not a bit if the revered troops haven't the proper equipment; nay, not even a coherent goal for which to die have the much honored troops. Nine months--a gestation period if you will--and Malachi is at his most productive when he is soiling himself as he watches Halliburton colonize his land.

By all accounts--whether from conservatives or liberals--the Malachi government has not measured up, has not succeeded in meeting most of the benchmarks and has not made much of an effort to even appear competent. Malachi is at best an ineffectual "mayor" of the Green Zone, an area heavily defended by thousands of American troops but which despite their best efforts is unsafe for Iraqi citizens to walk about.

So, what does Bush offer? What directives to Malachi? What consequence for failure to govern? Bush is as constant as carbon decay. Stay this course! It has failed in the purpose Bush articulated (god, what a stretch required to visualize Bush articulating anything more complex than his middle initial) when he asked the nation for its support of his surge. He asked for 30,000 additional troops to effect these noble reforms. The warriors did what they could do and they died in their best efforts to give Malachi a fighting chance. Malachi failed. Iraq failed. Bush failed. So, what now? This is the part that you can help me with. Bush says that if we will support his call for a continuation of his failed policy---if we will keep the additional troops in Iraq until next Spring, America can then withdraw the surge troops and American troop levels will return to what they were prior to the influx of surge troops.

Help me. The Surge failed to jump-start the Iraqi government. Malachi is probably less effective today than yesterday or yesteryear. He shows no signs of an imminent will to power. But, we are to stay the course and then return to the status quo antebellum. What was it for?

Why have so many young men and women given their lives and limbs during this exercise of Bush's ego and intransigence? The status quo? Is that what people are dying for? When the Surge ends next Spring what will it have accomplished? Will Malachi change? Can he change? Does it matter a rat's ass if he changes? Help me.

If God talks to the Commander in Chief, why does he not give him a viable solution to this international fiasco? If God is directing the president, why is his plan a nearly complete failure? Bush is a self-serving, lying son of a bitch who has never been near combat. He lied about the reasons for invading Iraq. He has lied about the connections (that do not exist) between Iraq and 9/11, he has lied about the progress of the war and he is lying now.

Clinton stupidly lied about a stupid blow-job and he was impeached. Bush has lied about war and terror. He and his top aids are awash in scandal after scandal and Bush goes forward with no direction or purpose other than self-aggrandizement. Where are the calls for his impeachment? Why do the damned fundamentalists not express concern for Bush's elevation of deceit, dissimulation and dereliction of duty to the level of an art form? Why do his lies not matter to them? Why, for Christ's sake, do the fundamentalists rant like hatters about the literal truth of the Bible but completely ignore the demands of Jesus that we should love our enemies and turn the other cheek if attacked? When has anyone heard a fundamentalist use the Sermon on the Mount to justify one of their legislative goals? When did you ever hear Bush quote Jesus as he tells us what God wants him to do about the war?

Why do Americans, once a proud and free people, serve up their souls and their gonads to this petty, small minded, woefully inadequate man? Why is there no accountability? Why are Americans willing to send their children to an illegal war that they, the parents, refuse to pay for because they want their god-damned tax cuts? This is the first generation in America's short history which has not funded a war they are sending their kids to die in.

Will it be too late for us when Americans finally realize that the terrorists are not going to win the war against America by destroying our buildings and landmarks? We are the culprits in our own destruction. The terrorists score a victory each time Americans sit back and allow Bush to abrogate the Bill of Rights. Each time he reads our emails. Each time he sells our souls for Halliburton profits. To the extent Americans hand their fundamental freedoms over the Executive branch in the name of national security, the terrorists win.

America is, for the moment, the mightiest nation the world has ever known. America has the mightiest military. The terrorists cannot win in a military conflict with America. But, they can destroy us. They can watch as we rush to give up our freedoms so that the government can fight the terrorists. Why do we fight them? Because they are determined to destroy the American way of life. The American way of life is based in its Constitution--the Bill of Rights--the notion that no man is above the law and all people are equal under the law. America is a City on a Hill for just as long as we hold fast to our noble experiment in democracy--in constitutional government.

Americans are watching television and playing poker while Bush felates the most basic of our civil liberties. When did we become a nation of cowards, of idiots, of greed dominated citizens. When did we forget who we are? Come on you right to lifers. Come on and march in defense of the lives of innocent Iraqi civilians and the lives of our sons and daughters. Liberals, quit self-destructing and bumbling about like stoned 8th graders. Grow some balls. Reclaim your minds and reclaim our constitution and our government. Conservatives, read Alan Greenspan and recalim your true conservative heritage. Then realize it is bankrupt paradigm and join the progressives in formulating a viable, humanitarian, enlightened aganda for the new millenium. Fundamentalists, read the damned Sermon on the Mount, prostrate yourselves and beg your god's forgiveness and then go fuck yourselves instead of probagating more mouth-breathing, cousin humping Bush voters. Bush is the enemy. His supporters are implicitly guilty of treason. They are destroying America and we sit, dull-witted as sheep, doing nothing. The 21st century may well be the end of the American Experiment and the Bush reign will be noted by historians as the beginning of the end. It does not have to end this way.

All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. Burke and Professor M