You have to give it to ol' Bush. He has the nerve of a brass monkey. (More on monkeys later.) He is "staying the course," although as Jim Lobe noted, he did not use that familiar pledge in his speech Monday to a "respectful and unusually restrained group of mid- and senior-level officers at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania." Evidently it is no longer considered a good zinger with which to stir the citizens and the troops, since General Zinni suggested lately, and to much press notice, that the said course is headed straight over Niagara.
Bush's choice of audience was, however, perhaps a little timid on his part. Though "restrained" and applauding only 10 times, but not applauding in places where Bush was evidently expecting some, the officers were certainly not going to give him the raspberry he so richly deserved. One does learn that the uniform implies a certain respectfulness in the presence of higher rank. Else why the uniform?
But if you go by current opinion on what the officer corps would like to do about Iraq, they may all have been thinking it would be a cinch to take out Bush, if. . . . Ah, elegant Frenchy coup d'état, where are you when we need you.
However, looking at it from Bush's point of view, at least the officers were not going to show up as civilian protesters might, in their ragged hundreds and maybe thousands, carrying hideous, challenging signs to upset the presidential stomach, as would be certain to happen were Bush to go up to Harvard the week after next and give the Commencement talk. (I think Kofi Annan is slated instead, which is not a good sign for the Bushies as to opinion at that think tank.)
Bush called the Iraq war the central front in the warren terrism (whatever that is); but it clearly is so only because we are there shooting the place up and, it must be admitted, being joined by the Iraqis in their own somewhat jubilant if predictably vindictive version of the same warren terrism.
As Lobe and others have noted, in his speech Bush countenanced political solutions where military force seemed to be getting nowhere, which is not where Lew Lehrman and Bill Kristol, or any other of our desk-chair killers want to go; they would like to drop a Big One (nuclear, anyone?) on the whole of Iraq, or at least so their fierce verbal attitude would imply.
Meanwhile in another monkey-do act, Rumsfeld has banned cell phones with picture-taking capacity, and I don't recall what other toys, from the Iraq military scene. Rummy, like so many of our hotsytotsy rulers is evidently a Manichean. Evil is resident in things: arson is caused by matches; cameras cause pornographic torture; the trouble with psychoactive drugs is that they exist, not that people take them. You get the idea: stamp all them things out! (How weary one gets of all this raging stupidity implemented in violence and backed by our tax dollars.)
Rummy's solution to the current unpleasantness over Abu Ghraib, apart from whacking a few low-level military of unappealing aspect, is the old one represented by the Three Monkeys: hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. If we could only have kept this thing mummed up, which was surely the original plan and is still the plan for the "black" SAP operation (Special-Access Program) behind it that, according to the New Yorker's Hersh the whole top gang approved then there would have been no public and congressional flare-up, which for heaven's sake might issue in another dozen investigations that undoubtedly will go, largely, nowhere but are a royal pain in the a- – to have to field.
I just got a mailing from the Republican Party, sent to me because back in the Reagan days I registered somewhere as a Republican, a fault I have since confessed and done penance for. The main brochure is a four-page letter of solid copy, no pictures. Their best tool for raising funds I'd suppose. It's a Campaign Issues Survey. The word "Iraq" does not occur on any of the four pages. (Are they ashamed of it by any chance?) Interpreting: the GOP wants a yes vote on preemptive attacks where necessary, support for the War on Terrorism (their caps) and No Child Left Behind, a Constitutional Amendment on Marriage, tax cuts for small business (you can fool those boobs all the time), etc.
In all, there are 25 questions, but nowhere do I get to say what I'd like to say, so I'll say it here. Hey, all you warmongering jerk Republicans and this goes for you and your gang too, John Kerry For God's sake shut down that murderous operation in Iraq; bring our troops home from where they are all over the world; disband all the nannies and buttinskies who are social engineering the life out of us in their cubicles in D.C.; disband 98%, nay 99%, nay 99.9% of the federal government; issue an apology to the world, and let us begin at last to mind our own business.
Not in the cards, you say? But I can dream can't I?
May 28, 2004