where wingnuts posit that Grand Ayatollah Jefferson Davis shelled Camp Anaconda, one must ask “Why does Santa give retards paying gigs as columnists?”
File under: Science Fiction, History, Neocon Asshats and the Alternate History of the War of Southron Independence.
If you’re headmeat has been operating at anything above “Vegetative” these last, few, bloody years, the further down the Iraqi gun barrel you dared to look, the blacker it got, until your eyes grew accustomed to the dark and you could finally make out the glitter of the tip of a Black Talon pointed back at your skull.
In that moment you realized what the future would be if the trigger was pulled.
It’s not been prescience, but instead it is what the science fiction has been pushing for 50 years.
Camouflaged under BEMs and Slans, the best science fiction has always preached the rationalist gospel of “What If…” to a sleepy, superstitious world. It has (under the color of entertainment) in a very real sense, asked its readers to think out past the end of their national and temporal dick, past the immediate “Now” and into the tomorrow their actions today will sire.
Bad history puts you face down asleep in the middle of a textbook, hating the topic, the teacher, and the cruel gods who put you there.
Good history puts you inside the gates of Jerusalem during the Crusades. On a long march back from Moscow watching your toes fall off one by one. Inside the bunker, watching Der Fuhrer go mad.
Gilliard may kill me for this, but Good History is a natural bridegroom to Good Science Fiction: one mingles facts and theory and the weirdness of human nature to create a vivid narrative of what was, and one marries trends and theory and the weirdness of human nature to vividly imagine what might be.
And because I’m a fan of both, I could not let this latest twaddle from the tribe of lost titty babies at the NRO waddle past without a swift kick it in the groin.
(h/t Alicublog via Mike at Crooks and Liars)
A Lincolnian Christmas
By Michael Novak
A while back, I wrote a short column asserting that no matter whether you agree with President Bush or not, or admire him in other respects or not, it is incontestable that he is one of the bravest presidents ever to occupy the White House. All around him, pundits say that his presidency is “a failure,” that he is “the worst president ever,” and that his “war to emancipate the Middle East is a fiasco” or a “total disaster.”
Please note that the concepts of “bravery” and “Getting jackass-drunk and throwing a baby through a plate-glass window despite the warnings of your ‘betters’” are perfectly congruent in Wingnut Land.
And then comes the comparisons with Abraham Fucking Lincoln.
Oh my Lord…
So let us for a moment suspend judgment on whether Bush is truly brave, visionary, and far ahead of his time. Those encomiums are what we usually heap on Abraham Lincoln.
…but only after the fact of victory in 1865. Such praise was not sent Lincoln’s way during the long, dark year from autumn 1863 until September 1864. Quite the opposite.
Many in that dark time wrote, spoke, and thought of Lincoln in much the same way people nowadays speak of George W. Bush.
“Well!” I can hear you remonstrate haughtily, “Bush deserves it. Lincoln did not.”
That is easy to say now; it was not so easy late in 1863, and under the gathering clouds of 1864, when it seemed certain that a bumbling Lincoln could not possibly win a second term, and that all he had fought for would come to naught.
Thus, even if we suspend judgment on Bush’s bravery this year, his predicament this December should remind us of Lincoln’s at Christmas in 1863. Looking ahead to an election year in 1864, Lincoln early shared the cold fear that he could not possibly win. The great Union victory at Gettysburg in July had petered out in the failure of General Meade to pursue Lee’s battered and discouraged forces retreating in some disorder southward.
Go read the entire thing if you feel the need for a Yuletide emetic.
As for me, I could barely get past the ponderous piping-bag full of stentorioriffic treasures such as “was it not thus, also…”, “haughty”-freighted “remonstrations” and “No end to the bloodshed flickered in sight” larded onto this shitbrick to hide the taste of writing as flat and unappetizing as stamped tin, and poo truffles like “Wars are often darkest just before the light” peeping out from under every rotting log of prose to notice the basic argument;
That since Lincoln was called a fuckup, and Lincoln was great, isn’t is therefore reasonable to conclude that since Bush is being called a fuckup, he may also be proven to be great if we just wait long enough?
The short answer is: No. Not even close.
The idea that there is some clandestine configuration of facts and conditions that somehow transmutes every fucked up step that Dubya has taken into Fucking Brilliant Sense in a wider context – and that these Sekrit Circumstances will be the Bush Administration’s Big Reveal that makes all the dirty hippies look stoopid – has been floated by everyone from Dubya to Bobo to Bill Kristol in one form or another for the last four years.
And has been righteously laughed at every single time.
Because any hack writer desperately doing an elevator pitch can pull some wildly unlikely set of events out of his ass whereby, say, Richard Nixon comes winging back from his citadel on Io (where he has been hiding from a Kissinger-shaped killbot his enemies sent to assassinate him) to save Christmas.
And any first year philosophy student with a smattering of popular physics under his toga and deep in his cups at three a.m. has stumbled into the “revelation” that, given an infinite amount of space and time, every possible outcome for every possible choice can theoretically occur, each one branching off into its own, separate reality.
So there are undoubtedly realities where JFK never got shot. Where FDR did. Where Dr. King lived to be 90. Where “Homicide” wasn’t cancelled. Where Edith Keeler didn’t get hit by a car and instead spent the 1940s in a tantric fuckfest with Jim Kirk (occasionally enlivened by a ferocious three-way ponn farr with Spock) while Hitler builds a nuke. Where I didn’t get divorced.
And where Dubya “won” his Iraq War, by whatever definition of “win” the Eloi of that reality can be doped into believing.
But this Reality ain’t one of those. This is this reality, and in this reality only the mentally underclocked, the insane or the Last Defenders of Dumbalot would, at this late date, still dare to try an peddle reekingly bad science fiction masquerading as historical parallelism to justify backing a disastrously failed leader and his catastrophically failed war.
Or, to put it another way…
At no point had Lincoln “won the war” but lost the Peace.
At no point in leading us down the garden path to Baghdad did this Administration ever promise us anything but a cheap, ouchless victory followed by a rain of sweets, flowers, low-low prices at the pump and Jeffersonian democracies springing up throughout the region like toadstools.
At no point did Iraq attack us, or attempt to secede from us.
At no point did the Republican Guard shell our Fort Sumter. Or our Fort Anything.
At no point past the first few months has this been a war of fixed formations squaring off and duking it out Old School. This has been ferocious, urban, guerilla warfare and no Pickett’s Charge or Sherman’s March or Sheridan in the Shenandoah is a’comin’ to miraculously transform massed firepower or scorched earth into viable and decisive strategies.
At no point were gentlemen from Tikrit and Sadr City ever elected to Congress and argued in the aisles over slavery.
At no point was Iraq ever a basic and unresolved infection that was crippling the United States Constitution so severely that, sooner or later, needed to be lanced and healed or the country would die.
At no point did Iraq attempt to export a political system inimical to our own into our country.
At no point was there ever a Euphrates Compromise which attempted to avoid war at almost any cost by allowing the expansion of the United States into new territory, half Baathist and half Democracy.
At no point were the actual pros and cons – the actual costs and causes – of invading Iraq ever honestly and openly debated by Bush.
At no point was this about Slavery.
At no point did we and the Iraqis speak the same language.
At no point has our involvement in Iraq been a “brother’s war”.
At no point did the commanders now fighting on every different sides of the war all know each other and serve together.
At no point during the invasion of Iraq was the United States out-generalled.
After the collapse of he government of Iraq and the capture of its leaders, the war did not end.
At no point in Iraq have we fought on our home soil.
At no point are we ever going to be one of the two (or four) sides that have to live together in Iraq once this war ends.
And at no point has George Bush come within a hundred light years of earning the right to say to this nation:
“On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago, all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil-war.
All dreaded it -- all sought to avert it.
While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war -- seeking to dissolve the Union, and divide effects, by negotiation.
Both parties deprecated war; but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive; and the other would accept war rather than let it perish.
And the war came.”
This was did not "come". This war was not "deprecated".
This war was pre-measured and mixed and cooked and served as deliberately as a little cake from George Bush's E-Z-Iraq Oven.
And finally, in history not every screwhead fighting for a bad cause is one turn of the historical revision card away from redemption. In fact this is rarely the case.
Which is why Grand Ayatollah Jefferson Davis is not on a fucking postage stamp.