Milquetoast Mussolini

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"If
I were the president of Iran, if I were Osama bin Laden or any
of the terrorist organizers and I could have my wish list totally,"
stated
milquetoast music icon and political commentator wannabe Pat Boone

in a recent interview, "I couldn’t ask for anything better
than for America’s entertainers to bash their president, denigrate
him, make him seem like an idiot and a self-serving fool, and
then have the media go along with it and promote it like crazy
and try to undermine the whole war effort."

So by Boone’s
calculations, "America’s entertainers" are the key strategic
resource in the "War on Terror," and nothing — nothing!
— is more important to the "Islamo-Fascists" than having
our singers of songs and professional pretenders (also known as
"actors") criticize the president.

The occasional
intemperate comment from an actor or musician has greater throw-weight
than a suitcase nuke, and a deadlier capacity for contagion than
a bio-weapon, according to Boone’s expert assessment. That reckoning,
I suspect, has a lot to do with professional narcissism: as an
entertainer, Boone is inclined to see his profession as the center
of the universe.

Mr. Boone’s
strategic insights were offered as a rebuke to Natalie Maines,
lead singer for the Dixie
Chicks
, who famously denounced President Bush on the eve of
the unnecessary war in Iraq in 2003. The Chicks’ new album features
a track entitled "Not Ready to Make Nice," which hurls
defiance at those who attempted to boycott the group in the wake
of Maines’ comment. And Maines
herself has retracted an apology she had made for the remark,
quite sensibly saying
"I don’t feel he is owed any respect
whatsoever."

"We
are at war," insists Boone, "and you don’t tell even
a quarterback in a football game that he’s nuts and you don’t
respect him. You try to pull for a win, and that’s what we should
be trying to do…. You can disagree. You can express your disagreement,
but don’t attack the man who is your elected leader and say he’s
not owed any respect at all."

Where do
we begin in dealing with this large, reeking pile of used food?

First of
all:

War isn’t
a football game. It is the calculated destruction of irreplaceable
lives and, often, entire societies. Modern
war often inflicts nearly as much damage on the "victor"
as on the vanquished.

Second:

When a quarterback
is stinking up the field, he can expect rough treatment from his
coach, the team owner, and the fans — all of whom generally won’t
restrict themselves to decorously phrased critical comments like
those Maines made about Bush, who shamelessly lied our nation
into a needless and disastrous war. A quarterback who consistently
throws interceptions or gets sacked for losses isn’t entitled
to respect, and won’t last long in the starting lineup.

Third:

When our
nation launches an unnecessary aggressive war — one not prosecuted
in the fashion the Constitution prescribes – that proves to be
a strategic and moral disaster, Americans should not "pull
for a win." Yes, to revert to Boone’s favored idiom,
we should "root, root, root for the home team." But
when our government launches an aggressive war against a distant
nation that hasn’t attacked or threatened us, we are not
the home team.

The only
way for the American people, as opposed to the corrupt criminals
who rule us, to "win" the Iraq war is to end it immediately.

Fourth:

The President
of the United States is not our "leader." He is our
agent, our employee. He is not some numinous being who
embodies our national will, as peddlers of Fuhrerprinzip
would have us believe. Unless they are active-duty members of
the military, Americans have no Commander-in-Chief, and unless
war is declared by Congress that occasional function of the presidency
isn’t operative.

In trying
to isolate the most foolish thing Boone said in that brief interview,
one is confronted with an embarrassment of riches. But from my
point of view, the booby prize goes to Boone’s apparent belief
that the thing Osama bin Laden and his ilk would covet more than
anything else would be public criticism of George W. Bush.

Any rational
assessment of Bush’s foreign policy would lead one to conclude
that Osama (citing him as the figurative head of the radical Islamic
movement) has no better or more reliable ally than Bush. Osama’s
announced intention is to bleed our economy dry — something the
Bush administration is eagerly doing, with the dutiful help of
the Republican Congress.

Bush is a
similarly valuable ally to Iran’s President Ahmadinejad. Iran
is the chief strategic beneficiary of the invasion and occupation
of Iraq, which
removed Teheran’s chief Persian Gulf region rival and installed
an Iran-friendly Shi’ite regime
.

As Pat Boone’s
comments nicely illustrate, most celebrities are no wiser or better
informed than the rest of us. He should take the advice famously
tendered by Bushbot
talk show host Laura Ingraham

to left-leaning celebrities: Just shut up and sing.

May
25, 2006

William
Norman Grigg [send
him mail
] writes for The
New American
magazine.

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