Thursday, January 11, 2007

Everybody Likes Trout

So, it looks like we won't only be shipping 20,000 more Americans into a dusty shooting range. We'll also be sending them into Iran and then possibly Syria! Great! Because, you know, we have more than enough supplies and armor for the men and women who are already there! And it has been going so well for us lately, what with all the bullet-and-drill-hole-riddled corpses turning up each day and the state-sponsored Saddam snuff film that's been making the rounds online.

I'm continually shocked and appalled by our willingness as a nation to send our fellow citizens to their deaths. Not by the gall of our leadership. I'm long past the point of being surprised by Dick Cheney's or George W. Bush's unquenchable bloodlust. They're just two sick deviants, less capable of genuine human feeling than most hand tools. Expecting them to propose rational solutions to our diplomatic or military problems is like expecting your newborn infant to compose a libretto while riding a unicycle down the Eastern slope of Mt. Haleakala. It's our press and that remaining 30-some percent of our population who clings even to this day to "war at all costs" as a personal political philosophy who continue to make me sick to my stomach. "Do whatever you like, but don't try to stop our unwinnable war!"

It's over. We lose. The confederation known as "Iraq" is gone, torn down to make way for an explosion factory. (Okay, fine, an explosion factory with a big Wal-Mart in the center.) Almost anyone sane who knows what he or she is talking about at this point has voiced this opinion or some variation on it. Freaking Henry Kissinger was saying that he didn't think we can win this thing, and that guy was still arguing for Vietnamization in, like, the late '80s.

If you still want us there, it's because you just like war, which probably means it's not costing you anything. Now, I'm not saying you should be silenced if this is genuinely your opinion. Write articles about the thrill of being a citizen of an aggressively militaristic nation, of being an enthusiastic civilian during wartime. I'm sure such a stand will earn you a lot of fans in the armed forces! (<--sarcasm)

But don't try to pretend it's just one last little "surge" and then we can win this thing. When Joe Klein says stuff like this, it embarrasses all of us collectively, as a nation:

And so a challenge to those who slagged me in their comments. Can you honestly say the following:

Even though I disagree with this escalation, I am hoping that General Petraeus succeeds in calming down Baghdad.

That's missing the point on an epic, previously unimaginable scale. Klein's lost on a Claire Littletonian scale. (Or, for fans of classic TV, a Will Robinsonian scale). It's not about whether we hope that the surge thing won't work. Planning military strategy isn't about hopes and dreams, and even so, I'm not even sure what Petraeus is actually supposed to do. (They say this operation is an effort to "resecure" Baghdad, but what does that mean? It was already secured once, and then it de-secured itself. Who's to say that won't just happen again, even if we "succeed" at first?)

It's about knowing that it's the wrong idea, just like many sensible citizens knew the war was the wrong idea in the first place. And you know how we all know it's the wrong idea now, even if some of us were wrong four years ago? Because this new idea is actually the same goddamn stupid idea BushCo has been progressing for four years!

This is not a change in strategy. It's a change in tactics, and a minor one at that. The strategy remains the same - get into potentially lethal firefights with insurgents representing a variety of different sects, organizations and interests, never able to depend on support from the fledgling and partisan government or the angry locals. I mean, yeah, it sounds good, but thus far the results have not been pretty.

And on top of this, as if it wasn't bad enough to deal with the notion of escalating this clusterfuck, which sounds to me like discovering that you have indigestion and immediately inhaling a dozen Taco Bell chalupas, it appears that Great American Warlord Bush may be spreading the fun into Iran and Syria as well! To make sure they don't feel left out, I guess...

Washington intelligence, military and foreign policy circles are abuzz today with speculation that the President, yesterday or in recent days, sent a secret Executive Order to the Secretary of Defense and to the Director of the CIA to launch military operations against Syria and Iran.

The President may have started a new secret, informal war against Syria and Iran without the consent of Congress or any broad discussion with the country.

Well, at least it's informal. It'll be like the Casual Friday War, so all the troops can wear collared shirts and jeans and take an extra half hour for lunch.

This is very real, I'm afraid. Today, American forces raided an Iranian consulate in the Iraqi city of Arbil and detained 5 Iranian employees. Now, correct me if I'm wrong (and I may be, because this is not my area of expertise), but isn't a consulate considered to be foreign soil? So, technically, did American forces just invade Iran today?

I can only think of three reasons why Bush might have decided not only to escalate the Iraq War but to destabilize the entire Middle East by engaging in several simultaneous wars.

(1) Bush saw the 2004 Election as some kind of unspoken suicide pact between himself and the voting public. Their decision, despite representing a decidedly thin majority, was to go down collectively with the ship, to take Bush's fate as our own and mutually accept the consequences.

We'll call this The Badlands Theory, in honor of Terrence Malick's oddball lovers-on-the-run crime spree classic of the '70s. In the film, Martin Sheen kills his girlfriend Sissy Spacek's father and convinces her to run off with him. They commit a series of pointless crimes while evading the police, and are eventually captured.

So, in this analogy, Bush is the Martin Sheen character; cold and indifferent to everything and everyone, concerned only with fulfilling his temporary urges and ensuring the loyalty of his cohort. America is Sissy Spacek. And with a few exceptions, you pretty much never want to be represented in any scenario by a Sissy Spacek character.

We're being pulled around the flat, desolate, hopeless badlands of Montana by a maniac in the hopes of eventually...well, it's not clear. Escaping police pursuit? Settling down somewhere to hide? Proving our manhood before going down in a blaze of glory?

(The title of this post references one of Sheen's delightfully deadpan lines from the film, in which he rejects the notion that his girlfriend might dislike a certain species of fish on the basis that he enjoys it. He betrays pretty much zero emotion or empathy for other human beings throughout the entire film, save the occasional and brief bout of anger, which is what makes him such an ideal stand-in for our petulant boy-king.)

(2) Destabilization, chaos and spreading violence was the plan from the beginning.

As he always has, Bush is operating in what is essentially a consequence-free environment. What does he, personally, have to worry about should the Iraq effort continue to go sour? Not much. There's always the remote chance he'll be impeached or brought up on war crimes once he's out of office, but that probably won't happen. At least, not until he's a really old man.

But then look at the plus side. His rich corporate pals continue making a killing on military contracts, brutally ripping off the US Government and endlessly resupplying our troops with overpriced gear, food and necessities of life. He gets to leave office without ever conceding defeat, changing course or submitting to criticism. Finally, and I still believe this, as an insane religious nut, he sees war in the Middle East and on Islam in particular as part of his sacred Godly duty. The more Muslim countries become involved in a direct clash with the West, the better.

(3) He's hoping we'll piss everyone off enough that someone will plot another sizable terrorist attack against one of our cities.

Marc Faletti of Punk Ass Blog has a theory:

Well, when did the Republicans enjoy their greatest popularity? When was this country hungry for war?

Right after 9/11.

I joked about it at the time, but Pat Robertson mysteriously predicted a 2007 terror attack. Could it be that he knows something about this new strategy that we don’t? Isn’t it _possible_ that this administration is doing everything it can to make sure we get “hit at home” again?

If we don’t get attacked again, national sentiment towards Republicans will only worsen. The current Wealthy Powers That Be will almost surely be forced out the door in 2008, right along with the gravy train they’ve made for themselves. Their current actions seem to threaten their own interests… unless they believe they’re making it more likely we get hit by another terrorist attack, at which point we go back to the good old days of nationalism and bloodthirst.

Bush and Cheney know that Americans love a war, so long as it's exciting and we still have a chance at winning it all. I think what Americans love the mostest is not just "war" but that "march of war" concept they market so successfully during the early days on the news. Battles in this city and that, big colorful maps on the nightly news showing where our troops are headed in zippy topographical detail. (That is, if Geraldo doesn't give away all our positions by doodling in the sand with a stick first.)

The best thing that could possibly happen for them would be another major terrorist attack on America, giving them an excuse to fully invade Iran and Syria. (They might do it anyway, but I'm sure they'd prefer to have rhetorical cover like this.) And what would be the best way to ensure that terrorists keep America in their crosshairs? CONTINUED AMERICAN AGGRESSION IN THE MIDDLE EAST.

I don't think the Bush administration planned or carried out 9/11. I'm willing to accept the al-Qaida explanation. However, I think it's highly possible that they knew about it in advance and purposefully did nothing in order to gin up support for their bullshit war, and I think they'd love the opportunity to do this again should it arise. So what's the harm of making everyone around the world more upset with us? If anything, such a scenario is win-win for the powers that be.

I'm inclined to go with #2. But who, save Laura and Barney, can say for certain?

1 comment:

steve c. said...

Check out my latest video: FECES FOR THE FUHRER on youtube immediately! This is a depiction of what's happening in the world! Troubled times they have come!