Friday, January 12, 2007

The Fuller Brush Strategy

Imagine this Sunday, settling in to your favorite lounger with a bowl of potato chips and a soft drink to watch the playoffs when there is a knock at the door. When you answer, there are a group of swarthy men, each with an automatic weapon and a double bandoleer of ammunition crossing his Kevlar-coated chest, speaking in a foreign tongue, and demanding the whereabouts of any men, ages 14-50, that live in your house. I think even a reasonable person might have a Dick Cheney flashback and shoot somebody in the face over such an outrage. And yet, that is exactly what President Zero is asking our troops, your children, to do.

After the nation waited an entire month for Bush to listen to all the experts and revamp his Iraq strategy, the best he can do is send 21,000 more troops to Baghdad to go door to door, like Fuller Brush salesmen, embedded with Iraqi units asking for the trust of the populace. Is this not the most insane maneuver since lying us into this hellish war? What unlucky National Guardsman has been sentenced to their doom by this intransigent usurper of the Presidency? It's well to remember that one of the articles of impeachment passed by the Congress against Richard Nixon was abuse of power. Bush is like Nixon on steroids. He discards the advice and wishes of his generals, the Iraq Study Group (Daddy), the electorate, the soldiers on the ground, and now key members of his own party, to pursue a trail of tears that we have all witnessed before.

It wasn't necessary for Dubya to have actually fought in Vietnam; just paying attention would have helped. But this arrogant child of privilege was assured his non-lethal slot in the Texas Air National Guard, cushy even among Guard positions, so why would he need to concern himself about Vietnam? He just supported his president and wore his Guard flight jacket on campus, while his fellow students were demonstrating and dying. This ignorance of the past, not just from Bush but from his entire never-having served administration, is taking us down the same road as the LBJ escalation of Vietnam in 1965. That's when I began paying attention. 1965 was the year I graduated from high school and suddenly the abstraction that was Vietnam became very real. When your high school buddies began to ship out, or the guy down the hall in the dorm wasn't there anymore, war became personal. I doubt Bush ever even knew a peer that served in Vietnam, or he wouldn't be so cavalier with other people's children in the crusade to save his legacy.

Most people tuned out Bush long ago. Even the most patriotic among us have bullshit saturation levels. But last night Bush accused Iran and Syria of aiding "terrorists and insurgents" and said the U.S. will "seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies." This sounds like the Nixon secret Christmas bombings of Cambodia in 1972. In a previous post, I noted that a flotilla of US warships were gathering in the Persian Gulf off Iran for maneuvers. Last night the president announced his orders for a carrier group to move to the area. And only a few hours ago, the BBC announced the invasion of an Iranian consulate in the northern Iraqi city of Ibril by U.S. troops, saying "The U.S. soldiers disarmed guards and broke open the consulate's gate before seizing documents and computers during the operation, which took place today at about 5 a.m. local time, the Islamic Republic News Agency said." The report added that five people, possibly diplomats, "were detained."

You need not have the imagination of John LeCarre to understand what is going on here. Bush has been provoking the Iranians for months, and today again violated international law by storming an embassy for documents and proof that the Iranians are aiding the insurgents; his very own Watergate break-in. Bush is itching to bomb Iran. He must know that Iraq is lost militarily because everyone tells him so. But if he can force Iran into a Saddam-like, "mushroom cloud" confrontation, he can bomb their nuclear sites, set them back ten years, and somehow redeem his disastrous and grievous adventure in the Middle East. He is sending 21,000 more troops to buy him time. If the Iranians take the bait, there will be wider war and the pressing need for even more soldiers. If they don't, Bush will run out the clock on his watch and leave his mess for the rest of us to clean up. I pray I am wrong; I fear that I am not. But an animal is at his most dangerous when he is cornered.

In the post, "First Things First," 11/14/06, I tried to make the point that there were more pressing issues in the Congress than Bush's impeachment. But, if he is determined to take the Nixon path, he must face the Nixon fate. If he refuses to stop his mad dash toward Armageddon, then the Congress must stop him, and, yes, it is now a most pressing issue. Last week, no one would have suggested that there were nearly enough votes in the Senate for impeachment, but after last night's science-fiction address, the head-counting, at least on the internet, has already begun. President Zero insists his "surge" is something new. Escalating a lost conflict is as old as warfare has been folly. Wire service reports now say "the surge" began last month and the soldiers are already arriving in the desert, just in case anyone believed protesting would do any good. It was a done deal before all the post 11/7 ruminating by "The Decider." He decided, once again, to listen to Cheney.

Meanwhile, last month down on the Bush "ranch" where all the "deliberating" was going on, the whole crowd came out for a Texas down-home photo-op. All the men wore jackets, no tie, with a single button fastened in front, except Condi, who hobbled in high heels in the gravel. They even managed to make General Pace look like a dork. It reminded me not so much of a president and his cabinet as the Clanton gang at the O.K. Corral. So did the stage-managed Rumsfeld resignation celebration at the Pentagon in November where Cheney, Bush, and Rummy walked the gauntlet of career diplomats in lock-step, even swinging their arms together like Goebbels, Goering, and Himmler. I usually detest comparisons of our politicians with the Nazis, but these boys are spoiling for another, potentially catastrophic and all-consuming war in the face of opposition from the American people and the best minds in the military. Let the investigations begin in earnest, and should the facts lead to impeachable offenses, in the words of our deluded president, "Bring 'em on!"


Gregg said...

I was waiting to see what you had to say about the awful sadness that was generated by the poor feebleminded man at the microphone.

Nothing much can be said that won't become part of the drone of disbelief, dismay, discouragement, and anger which was felt almost as soon as this man entered the arena by many people who were not burdened by the ideology brought to them by their mothers, fathers, or particular location of birth, and by most everybody else now that the briars in their feet, and their calves, and their eyes, and their hearts and brains, have made it abundantly clear that the guy who led us into this briar patch was wrong when he said that it was loaded with really good stuff and we'd be really happy that we chose him to follow.

How long does it take you to determine that when the air temperature is 20 below zero, you are standing on an ice pack, and while standing there in your Hawaiian shirt, your sandals, and your sunglasses, you notice that you are freezing your butt off, and that the guy who has just escorted you off the plane and who is telling you all about the beautiful beaches has heat lamps blowing 82 degree air at him sufficient to melt the ice he would have been standing on...that you were sold a bill of goods? My, doesn't the guy now look like nothing more than the shyster's shyster? Not so pretty now, huh? Taken to the cleaners? Can't really work up a good laugh when I read about kids dying.. American kids, Iraqi kids. Sickening. Take a good look at the guy behind the heat lamps and feel how cold your feet are becoming. How do you feel now?

Are the commentators really serious when they say he is concerned about his "legacy"? What kind of legacy do you think a man can have who was always the next to last kid that you would pick on your baseball team at recess, and who only got grades good enough to pass in high school, and who got into a better college than you did because his daddy went there and also had a big position in the government? The legacy? of a guy who failed miserably at most anything he ever really tried, but actually it doesn't look like he really ever "tried" anything himself because everything was always given to him? "Trying" here also can be read as "trying to be the best president he can be" which would allude to the "trying" one would do to lead a complicated enterprise (the USA....the world) that is so multidimentional and challenging for even the best and brightest of us that the expectation would be that anyone really "trying" to lead the world would the commentaries of the best and brightest from all views (you know, sort of like JFK used to do in the morning)3.ask questions when high profile real "triers" come to his office to explain to him things he does not understand (at least so as to appear that he is "trying"). So, after having been "given" huge opportunities by his father, (with which maybe you would have been successful), he failed over and over again. And, now he (how surprising!!) has failed at one of the jobs that has the greatest effect on the most human beings.

Legacy? He will go down in history as the Idiot who became the President of the United States. Too bad for him, and too bad for the world. If he had only been the son of some Texas oilman who was NOT involved in politics, he could have just been one of hundreds of sons of wealthy oilmen who sit around the pool and yuck it up with the other good ole boys at the club. Too bad for him, because he is looking for a legacy. And too bad for the world because just when we thought we could slowly tip toe into the 21st century we are thrown back into the Middle Ages.

Mr. Bush can't really have a legacy. I don't like using the word "legacy" to describe the wake created by a boat that had no steering wheel. That wake is just so much entropy. Any guidance you ascribe to that boat and hence its wake is only theoretical. Human legacies are not theoretical. Although, I suppose we could talk about what would have happened if GWBush had had a different childhood in a different city with different parents, siblings, friends, early impressions, and an independent intellect that was nurtured. Legacies are not theoretical, though. Right?

Dick Cheney will slowly mature historically into the 21st Century issue of Rasputin, but Dick will have had the chance to create much more human misery than any
Rasputin-like character could have in the past. He has had the US Army, Marines, his friends at Oil Central, and friends in the company at which he was a former Chairman.

The crimes are Cheney's. Bush's legacy is only that he was a total idiot. "Idiot" here is a comment on Intelligence Quotient.

A sad mist of a ghost of a man who we wish could have had what it takes to be thoughtful was at the microphone on Wed night. Not thoughtful. Not. "Thought" here refers to the product of thinking.

Gregg said...

What's more, it is not George Bush's fault that he is President of the United States and does not have better a than a jack high in his hand and was born without a poker face. It's 53 million American's fault. At least, that's how many were to blame in 2004. That's right..........blame.

We have a rather large responsibility as voters here in the USA. Our actions are felt everywhere. Maybe we should be as thoughtful as we wish our President was.

jimbob said...

This is an insult to Fuller Brush Men everywhere.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for giving such eloquent voice to "our" collective moral and political subtext. After reading an installment of "Born Again Hippies" one is always tempted to shout, "Now dats what I'm talkin' 'bout!"

In looking at the background psychosis that festered into "Dubya", it is clear that he's been struggling his whole life to overcome his family's expection that he would never achieve anything. Jeb was the one who had potential, George was the clown. When he announced his intention to run for governor, Barbara begged everyone to dissuade him. She was certain he would lose and didn't want her baby to be crushed.

Bush's only contribution to his own gubernatorial campaign was determination...blind, rabid, determination. Clad in the family name, puppeteered by Daddy's posse, with plenty-o-cash, and this lock-jaw sort of reflexive determination, he somehow Texas.

And then...unbelieveably...using the same hocus pocus, he got hold of our country. Unfortunately, and to the everlasting detriment of all who inhabit this planet, determination is not the only quality that a President must possess in order to steer this great ship of state.

We have been commandeered by a cabinboy posing as a captain. As he stands on the bridge, hands on the helm, determined to appear as if he is sailing the ship, it is painfully obvious that we are drifting further out to sea with each passing wave. With no navigational skills, unable understand charts, the man is convinced that he will be able to find safe harbor simply because he is determined to do so. The ocean of geo-political reality is too vast, and he is too small.

The lunacy of this delusion requires no further elaboration.

Frederico Falcone

Randy said...

Bush's tough tactics are a 'declaration of war' on Iran
By Anne Penketh, Diplomatic Editor
Published: 12 January 2007

davethedog said...

I agree with Jimbob except this is an insult to "Nazi's" everywhere. More will be revealed.