Friday, May 04, 2007

Mendacity of Show, Litany of Woe

Four years ago this week, an unelected president strode across an aircraft carrier in an unearned Navy flight suit for an expensive photo op beneath a banner proclaiming “Mission Accomplished.” I’m trying to think if I’ve ever witnessed a more insulting, absurd image of a U.S. president. Hoover with his fat-cat cronies during the Depression? Pretty bad. Nixon’s V-for-victory exit from office? Cartoonish enough to laugh at, and good riddance. Carter's interview in Playboy magazine? Foolish, but he seemed human. Bush the first’s Japanese vomit? At least it was vomit of necessity, not choice. Reagan fumbling his way through a remark about trees causing air pollution? OK, he was already losing it. Clinton’s “I did not have sex...” posturing? Doesn’t even come (so to speak) close.

The fake flyboy strut. It’s like an x-ray of Bush’s psyche. Who do we see? A privileged juvenile delinquent acting out in a mendacious show-off stunt to prove himself half the man Daddy was. It’s as undeveloped an idea of leadership, masculinity, and adulthood as I’ve ever seen.

And the media served it to us like ice cream. And a lot of people slurped it right up. If you ever want a clear picture of just how bad American journalism has gotten in the 21st century, look back at the response to the Mission Accomplished moment. It’s horrifying. The right-wing media practically creamed its Sans-a-belt slacks. And few in the mainstream press held Bush to account.

Since that clueless display (remember, we paid for the aircraft carrier to turn around so the shoreline wouldn't show?), think of what has taken place:

Iraqi Army disbanded, left to its own devices (mostly IEDs) to create the insurgency

Weapons storage facilities left unguarded, emptied by insurgents

Unsecured borders allowing thousands of jihadists, mercenaries, and fun-loving terrorists into Iraq

Oh, and the denial that the White House had anything to do with that Mission Accomplished banner...
and then the retraction of the denial when expense reports showed that Karl Rove’s office paid for it

U.S. soldiers in combat without proper equipment, armor, etc.--and now with less training than ever

Rumsfeld’s “you go to war with the army you have”

No WMD’s after all--ooops, my bad!

Turns out Wolfowitz was wrong about oil money paying for reconstruction, too

Fallujah becomes a template for how NOT to take a city

The rise of Muktada al-Sadr and other fundamentalist elements

U.S.-soldiers-rape-Iraqi-civilians case

Alberto Gonzales murky torture-condoning memo
Abu Ghraib
Rumsfeld "forgot to bring" chain-of-command chart to Abu Ghraib hearings
Scapegoating of grunts for the scandal

Scott McFuckingClellan

Richard Perle and other administration war profiteers resign due to conflict of interest

No-bid contract scandal
Billions in reconstruction money go missing
Huge cost overruns by Halliburton, KBR, and other contractors found to be misappropriating funds
Pentagon hiring private soldiers of fortune who earn vastly more than U.S. military salaries

Denial of CIA black sites in Europe and Asia...
and retraction of denial!

Dick Cheney, ever the brilliant analyst: “The insurgency is in its last throes”

Dissenting voices in administration (Richard Clarke, Colin Powell, etc.) silenced or marginalized
Dissenting military commanders (e.g., Zinni, Shinseki) fired or sidelined
George Tenet and J. Paul Bremer bought off with Medal of Freedom

Fake stories planted in the press to make Jessica Lynch a hero
Fake stories planted to make Pat Tillman a Christian martyr and Bush loyalist
Fake journalists planted in press briefings

Fake Maliki government by 2007 has failed to secure a single province

Govt report finds DOD's Douglas Feith developed bogus intelligence to link Iraq and al Qaeda

Condi Rice, having ignored pre-9/ll intelligence about Osama, fails upward into Sec. of State job

Continued denials from Cheney et al. that it’s a civil war...
and finally a recognition that it’s a civil war

Iraq Study Group convened
Iraq Study Group recommendations ignored
The surge
McCain and others walk Baghdad in body armor with huge security detail and proclaim the streets safe
Iraqi parliament bombed

Taliban resurgent in under-resourced war in Afghanistan

New study shows seven out of eight “finished” reconstruction projects either relapsing into unusable state or still awaiting equipment, construction, etc.

Saudi Arabia and other Mideast allies begin to defy U.S., with Prince Bandar about as reliable as Chalabi was in lead-up to war

Military allies (what few we had) peeling off and pulling out

Pushing toward 3500 American dead
Tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed

J. Walter Reed scandal
Tours of duty extended
Repeat tours increased
Veteran disability benefits slashed

Prisoners held for years without charge or legal recourse

Osama still at large

And Bush talking shit about Iran

I consulted no published lists to arrive at this godawful pile of national shame. It’s not ordered or comprehensive, just what I could pull off the top of my head as a reader of the news. I’m sure there are many other events that should be listed here. Feel free to contribute.

Fine, throw in the election (see note on the fake Maliki government) or Saddam (whose botched execution compounded our international PR problem). Why put lipstick on a warthog?

When I go down that list, I feel fury boiling up. I’m just so disgusted by these short-sighted, greedy ideologues who looked at the post-9/ll world and decided it was a ticket to empire, while lacking the imagination, skill, and integrity to manage even the first fraction of the effort. Killing, maiming, spending us into oblivion, all the while ignoring the needs of our own citizens. Think of all we might have done here if if not for the time, money, and energy spent there. And for what?

My friend Kristin says, don’t hate them, because then you’re at their level. You have to love Bush and Cheney and Rove, she says. You have to hope for their evolution as human beings.

I know she's right. But all I seem capable of is loathing and despair. I hate what’s been done to my country, by my country, in the name of my country. It’s going to take years and years to undo it. And they’re not through yet.


scotland said...

This is an amazing list, depressingly amazing. I'm glad you didn't turn it to verse. A compromise which would get the country's ass out of Iraq and slowly stabilize this transition sounds practical. Slowly and effectively pull back to being a less involved presense militarily and answer for our errors at the same time. This country has to answer for its actions. gotta go

Seven Star Hand said...

Hey Jas. P,

I certainly can't bring myself to love those scoundrels, but I do love the fact that their excesses will ignite a very large number of people to burn with a great desire for truth and justice...

Remember that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. Consequently, if we fail to force these scoundrels to face the Truth and Justice necessary to end such evil, similar scenarios are guaranteed to occur again and again in the future.

The pivotal import of Yellow Cake, False Flags, & "Big Time" Evil

The combination of George Tenet's book, At the Center of the Storm, Eisner & Royce's The Italian Letter and the books and research of many others in recent years now provides enough of a foundation for everyone to finally discern that 9:11 was a "false flag" operation against both the American public and the Muslim world. Likewise, the uncanny synchronicity of Al Qaeda's videos and other activities perfectly timed to reinforce and support the Bush/Cheney administration's political needs coupled with the actions of the Bush admin actually serving to strengthen Al Qaeda's position, now makes perfect sense. The apparent mistakes and chaos that have characterized the Iraq war, the easily prevented resurgence of the Taliban, and permitting Bin Laden to escape Tora Bora to a safe haven in Pakistan all fit the same pattern. It's hard to maintain a state of continuous war if you allow your made-to-order enemies to be defeated too early. It is likewise hard to remain a "war president" if your wars end too soon!

The letterhead used to forge the "Yellowcake letter" that was then used to help "sell" the Iraq war was stolen in Rome on 1/1/2001, more than nine months before 9:11 and before Little W. became president. Consequently, the use of the "Yellow-Cake Lie" was obviously discussed and planned before then! The import of this fact is that the Niger embassy in Rome was burglarized, before Bush became president, to lay the groundwork for the web of deception used to sell the Iraq War, after 9:11. More importantly, it is highly unlikely that the Iraq war could ever have been sold to the American public, without something like 9:11 happening first. Any excuses of other uses for the stolen letterhead are laughable since the letterhead burglary would have been pointless, without 9:11. This evidences foreknowledge of those attacks, a full nine months before they occurred, among other things!


coloredsock said...

oh, i could hardly stomach that many of those get played in my head too often. it makes me have that awful gag reflux that i get when i'm dehydrated with the flu and only bile comes up.

Hindus say this is the Kali Yuga-- "a period in the history of mankind when the society reaches its lowest ebb...the age of Kali... a period of reckoning and upheaval."

yes, i'd say that "they" and really, all of us, need the love or prayers or whatever you call it. so much one could say, but i should save my energy for those prayers...

Tina said...

"Vomit of Necessity"=best band name EVER?!

Jasph said...

What a gratifying range of responses. Anytime I can get practical validation, an enormous riff, empathy, and a new band name, I'm gold.

One addition to the list I just thought of:

No news coverage allowed of the war dead and wounded returning at Dover.

Insult to injury. Who do these people think they are? What country do they think they're running?

Mol the Doll said...

This love/hate thing really hooks me. When I was about 8 years old I told my older sister I hated her. She gave me a sanctimonious glare and said, "To hate me is to kill me in your heart." My articulate reply: "So?"

Does loving our enemies preclude rage? Because to me, rage feels like the appropriate response when somebody's swiping my country from me.

Jesus was big on loving enemies but he could work himself up into a pretty good fury when people were misrepresenting his dad.

Praying for people to evolve in their own lifetimes seems like a naive longterm response to an immediate crisis.

Jasph said...

Brilliant, as usual. It takes a certain amount of rage just to get me off my ass to write a letter to my Congressman (who I kind of like) or my Senators (who I despise).

Your question is a good one. Does loving Dick Cheney preclude my rage against him? I'll probably never know, because I hate that guy. I find it really hard to disconnect the abuse of power from the abuser.

But what do I get out of it, and what's the net effect in the world? I'm not sure. Maybe the real question is, what kind of person do I want to be? A loving, generous, big-hearted person, right?

Maybe being big-hearted means you have room enough to kill people in your heart and still love them. Or maybe "love" is just an irrelevant abstraction when it comes to people we don't actually know. If so, is "hate" irrelevant, too?