who writes for the NYT has protuberated another column.
He’s all pained and swollen and hurty because the Iraqi Parliament is So Stoopid!
And Dubya is So Stoopid Too!
Oy! If only someone could have predicted this?!
Here’s the little fella himself, in a couple of snips transcribed from the original by itinerate monks…
“Help Wanted: Peacemaker”
I can’t imagine how I’d feel if I were the parent of a soldier in Iraq and I had just read that the Iraqi Parliament had decided to go on vacation for August, because, as the White House spokesman, Tony Snow, explained, it’s really hot in Baghdad then — “130 degrees.”
I’ve been in Baghdad in the summer and it is really hot. But you know what? It is a lot hotter when you’re in a U.S. military uniform, carrying a rifle and a backpack, sweltering under a steel helmet and worrying that a bomb can be thrown at you from any direction. One soldier told me he lost six pounds in one day. I’m sure the Iraqi Parliament is air-conditioned.
Captain Obvious does like his First Person Pronouns, doesn’t he?
Here is what I think of that: I think it’s a travesty — and for the Bush White House to excuse it with a Baghdad weather report shows just how much it has become a hostage to Iraq.
President Bush baffles me. If your whole legacy was riding on Iraq, what would you do? I’d draft the country’s best negotiators — Henry Kissinger, Jim Baker, George Shultz, George Mitchell, Dennis Ross or Richard Holbrooke — and ask one or all of them to go to Baghdad, under a U.N. mandate, with the following orders:
“I want you to move to the Green Zone, meet with the Iraqi factions and do not come home until you’ve reached one of three conclusions: 1) You have resolved the power- and oil-sharing issues holding up political reconciliation; 2) you have concluded that those obstacles are insurmountable and have sold the Iraqis on a partition plan that could be presented to the U.N. and supervised by an international force; 3) you have concluded that Iraqis are incapable of agreeing on either political reconciliation or a partition plan and told them that, as a result, the U.S. has no choice but to re-deploy its troops to the border and let Iraqis sort this out on their own.”
We owe Iraqis our best military — and diplomatic effort — to avoid the disaster of walking away. But if they won’t take advantage of that, we owe our soldiers a ticket home.
Granted this is Act II, Scene IV of the evolving “Blame the Iraqis” opera that is slowly being test marketed here and there in advance of its big Washington DC debut this winter.
But, like virtually all of Friedman’s columns, it is so much less about real events happening in a real world than it is about the person of Captain Obvious himself and his lifelong battle to avoid intersecting with reality at any point.
Because, like virtually all of Friedman’s columns, when hit full in the face with a flaming bag of poo from the Right, he shakes his tiny, porcelain fist at Venus and not Mars.
He confesses to the whole spectrum of “But you told me you’d adore me for-evah” emotions of the jilted lover –-- bafflement (“President Bush baffles me”), exasperation (“So let’s get this straight…”), and a some laughable, never-gonna-happen-dumbass plan for getting back into his lover’s pants (“I’d draft the country’s best negotiators…”) –-- but never rage.
Never righteous fury.
Never “Oh, these fuckers have got to go."
Because in the Friedmind, Centrism – as defined as the philosophical midpoint between what Jim Webb believes today, and whatever the worms that are burrowing into Jerry Falwell’s rotting carcass believe today – is the All Holy.
Doesn’t matter that machinations of the Christian Conservative Jihadis have shot the idea of a “Sensible Center” as dead as the idea of “Maverick McCain”; without the Fake Middle to harp on, Friedman’s whole patent medicine journalism scam goes tits up. And so to keep this Very Long Con going, Tommy-boy and his Broderian hordes need to keep this bullshit narrative stuffed on both sides with heroes and villains in roughly equal numbers.
However, on the Right, they’re stuck with George and Dick, and since this entire Ponsi Scheme depends on the Kings and Queens of the Political Chessboard being framed as stubborn-and-sometimes-wrong-but-essentially-honorable men and women (who, therefore, desperately need the sober council of Captain Obvious and his crew) it is simply no longer within Tom Friedman’s sensor capacity to notice that he is talking to the air.
He is a Noted and Very Serious Jounalist that literally cannot see the truth when it is standing right in front of him, 1,000 miles high and pissing on his Moustache of Enlightenment. The truth that he is considered a fool and an occasionally-useful idiot by the Right, and a sleazy Quisling by the Left.
Dubya was, by any measure, a shallow, incompetent, sadistic, drunken failure most of his life, and the only reason he isn’t spending his declining years caroming soddenly off the walls of some doublewide in a West Texas trailer park, or running Lil’ Dubya’s Cut Rate Liquor and Fireworks outlet, is that his daddy had money and his daddy had clout.
There never was anything other than that –- and the fact the he inherited the keys to a ferociously powerful wingnut electoral and propaganda engine -- to recommend George W. Bush to the attention of history in any way.
As heroes are idealized versions of our virtues, Dubya is the perfect personification of our every national failing. Our callowness and stupidity. Our smothering fear. Our sense of absolute entitlement to...everything...regardless of the cost to our planet and our children's future. Our CEO-culture’s desire to slide past doing as little as possible while being praised and paid as much as possible. Our hatred of and terror of the sick, the weak and the poor because they remind us of where a little bad luck could land us. Our lust to be the ass-kicking bully and not the faggy peacemaker. Our contempt not just for our own government, but for the history and sacrifice that gave us our democracy, and the true genius involved in balancing out the terrible forces and temptations inherent in the exercise of any coercive power so that we might avoid falling into one of tyranny’s many traps.
The Bush White House represents, in every detail, the ascension of the worst and most shameful angels of our nature, and that is the Square One at which Captain Obvious refuses to begin.
He inists on beginning his Dubya Narrative both “in medias res” (Roughly: “In the middle of things”) and “in media medias” (Very Roughly, because I just made it up: “In the middle of the Center".)
Because if Dubya really is just a rotten fucking President and a rotten fucking human being, and if he really was elected/scammed/B-and-E-ed into power by people just like him, then Friedman’s whole worldview collapses like a New Orleans levee.
And while the Right consoles itself with false and apoplectic comparisons between their Iraqi Debacle and WWII, unlike that War President -– who was raised under similar conditions of wealth and privilege -- Dubya has sailed through a life that has required no hard decision, no personal integrity, and no genuine crisis leadership: the kind of leadership where you look your own people – your own caste – in the eye and tell them they must make actual, personal sacrifices for something called “the greater good”.
Because Dubya was raised to believe there is no such thing as the greater good. That unfettered capitalism fueling the slaughterhouse machinery of the merciless marketplace was the Greatest Good.
The ruling caste of the Right wuuuuvs the Markets...
...just as long whatever laws are broken to protect the Regime can be expunged with the flick of a pen.
...just as long as whatever banks they looted and busted-out got propped back up again by President Daddy and the American taxpayer.
... as with New Orleans, just as long as they get to cruise along –- safe, squeaky-clean and air-conditioned -- 30,000 feet above the devastation they helped create.
These cocksuckers love and extoll the virtues of The Rules...just so long as they never, ever have to live by them, which is why their Patron Saint is George W. Bush.
Because Dubya is livin' the dream, baby!
Because this theology -- which Dubya has completely internalized -- is what allows him to be so smirkingly cavalier with his critics no matter how logical and insightful, and so smugly dismissive of the facts, no matter how overwhelming and indisputable: because in Bushworld, there are the Somebodies, the Nobodies, and the “Markets” (which exist to extract the nickels and dimes and votes from the latter and put them into the pockets of the former.)
Nobodies pay taxes. Nobodies get huge sentences for small crimes and then rot in jail. Nobodies sweat about paying the bills. Nobodies have to deal with "facts" and cope with criticism.
Nobodies fight wars.
In fact, the Almighty put the Nobodies here specifically to serve and suffer and die under the Markets, for the greater glory of the Somebodies. Hell, this is self-evidenced by the fact that they aren't Somebodies.
Which is why, where Franklin Roosevelt asked for sacrifice and service, for all of the talk of Iraq being the most consequential human struggle against relentless evil since Jason and the Fucking Argonauts,
the best Dubya can muster is a Call to Shopping, some mumbles about tax cuts and only occasionally and ever-so-gingerly a suggesion that, just maybe, kinda, sorta, it'd be OK if people joined the military.
If, y'know, you’re not busy.
Never once -- in all of his, States of the Union, Matter of High National Importance, or Scare The Shit Out of America speeches -- has he gone on teevee, looked his Base dead in the eye and asked them to stop Cheetoh-binging and burning crosses and join the fucking Army because his Iraq War has broken it, and without a functional military we’re doomed.
Never once has he dispatched his key staffers and Cabinet members (as the White house does every time they want to flog some miserable Corporate Welfare program or foreign policy lie) to barnstorm the country asking Good Republicans to dig deep, to buy Iraqi War Bonds, and to do a hitch in the infantry in Iraq because it is a moral imperative and because then they could shame those Evil Liberals with their big, shiny, Conservative patriotism and win election after election.
Hell, Dubya could just drive on out to Chris Vucovich’s house in his pickup (Because what’s the use of illegally spying on American citizens if you can’t know exactly where someone lives when you need to?) with an Army recruiter and an army of journalists and tell Chris that his country needs him to do more than pick fights with Gold Star mothers.
That would be the act of a genuine leader.
The genuine “Peacemaker” that Captain Obvious claims he is pining for.
And it would instantly destroy what is left of the Republican Party.
Because anyone with a shred of honor long ago fled the horror-show the GOP became after it was killed, gutted and eaten by the Segregationists and Christopaths.
Because now Hate Radio, Fox teevee, Wingnut Dominionism and the Party of Lincoln itself all exist and sing from the same infernal hymnal for one reason and one reason alone: To give the hateful, the bigoted, the misanthropic, the gay-bashing, the selfish and the aggressively stupid intellectual cover-fire.
Put simply, these instrumentalities of the American Fascist Parti are paid lavish sums of money to wear suits, invoke the Almighty, and tell the scum of this country that they are the Chose of God.
And just as long as the Base keeps mindlessly supporting the Bush Regime, they will continue to receive both Divine and Randite seals of approval for any of the grotesque, despicable and profoundly anti-American swill they continue to vomit out.
And since this is God’s Own Natural Order, any talk of government action, service, “sacrifice” or the common good smells too much like Collectivism and Comm’nism for their Beautiful Minds.
It violates the Trinity of Somebodies, the Nobodies and the “Markets”, and Saint Ronald Reagan didn’t personally destroy the Comm’nist Empire just to have it brought back because of some ay-rab war that we'd be winning anyway if only the Liberal Media would tell the truth, and the Radical Left would stop trying to raise your taxes and queer up your kids, and just let the Preznit win!
This filthy and downward-spiraling symbiosis is all that remains of the GOP, and it is the Beast that Dubya keeps fed, pandered and which he leads around on a leash.
But the simple and repulsive truth that the Bush White House is simply the most visible public extrusion of a vast cancer which has rotted away the entire GOP, most of the media, and has dangerously weakened every other public institution from the labor movement to the Democrats to the Constitution itself -- that this story has genuine Villains piled up on one side for which no equalizing “balance” is to be found on the other side -- is a truth that Captain Obvious, for all of his books and billions, cannot afford to face.
And so he prattles along, stamping his tiny feet, demanding an explanation and makeup sex from a Monster which, when it bothers to notice his existence at all, no doubt laughs itself hoarse at what a useless, clueless shit he is.