Tuesday, May 04, 2004

You know, I get swamped at work and when I get back out from under it, it seems like there's too much to catch up on. But I can try, in a sort of stream of consciousness wave of irritation.

Okay, okay, so the whole world knows that we humiliated Iraqi prisoners by having female guards strip them and force them to mime homosexual acts with each other. Okay, so it seems that the Administration That Must Not Be Questioned will punish the reservists and ignore the military intelligence officers directing them, and the guns-for-hire doing the actual interrogations. But here's a fresh outrage: the people in Abu Ghraib prison doing these "interrogations" were recently trained by the interrogators at Guantanamo, who had come over to show the Iraq guys some new "techniques." So, let's be sure to punish the reservists and pretend that everything is going to go back to normal. Ignore the military intelligence guys behind the curtain, filming a new "Girls Gone Wild" video using prisoners of war. And ignore the very real possibility that these are the sorts of things being done at Guantanamo, away from the prying eyes of cameras and witnesses.

If I was a trooper on the ground in Iraq, I would be mad as hell that my fellow soldiers had painted a big red target on my chest like that.

Then, Bush -- you remember Bush, right? "Bring it on" Bush? "Mission Accomplished" Bush? -- Bush goes on a bus tour of Ohio and Michigan (except that he is flying and the bus is for show), where he tells the carefully-screened crowds (you could only get a ticket through the campaign) that the world is a better place because "the torture chambers have been closed" -- I mean, this guy really doesn't read the papers, does he? -- and then takes some hard-hitting questions like "How can I help you increase your support in the Latino community?" Perhaps, I would answer, by lifting a finger to help the goddamned Latino community instead of offering them fool's-gold immigration programs and condescension.

Meanwhile, a television show reads the names of the 730+ war dead and is criticized for being "political." As The Daily Show said last night, "it appears the facts now have an anti-Bush bias."

And then we can't figure out how to invade Fallujah. The Marines have fallen back and allowed the city to stay in insurgent hands; their solution is to find an Iraqi strongman to retake the city so that it won't seem like the Americans are at war, which we're not, because we're only at war if people can acknowledge the names of the dead in public. So, in another example of the stunning idiocy of outsourcing and the now-par-for-the-course sub-moronic conduct of the Bush Administration, they immediately recruit a Baathist general from the Republican Guard. Sure, we want the hearts and minds of the Iraqis, so we keep the torture chambers running and let the Republican Guard do our dirty work for us. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Then, when the utter absurdity of that choice comes to light, they kick him out and choose another Iraqi general, one who spent years in jail for defying Saddam but who has no connection to Fallujah whatsoever. And even now, as America tries to find someone in Iraq to save its collective ass, America wonders why the world press is portraying Fallujah as a major defeat for the Americans. Of course, as Fox News would say, those news agencies are not putting the facts into "context," the "context" being "America cannot be wrong." After all, that "context" certainly cannot include "spurred into action by the incompetent Americans shutting down a newspaper."

And you'll remember that we have our asses out in the Middle Eastern wind over our alliance with Israel, an alliance that has exposed us to the spite and enmity of the entire Arab world, but the Likud party resoundingly told Sharon to shove the modest "peace plan" that Bush went out on a limb to support. If we could get our allies to act sensibly, if we could act sensibly, dayenu. But no. No, we have to support Israel at all costs, no matter how stupidly they act, no matter how suicidal they may seem.

Iraq is a major source of graft, corruption and outright theft, as the "Marketplace" reports made clear. But the Bush administration would have to police those contracts, which -- as you will remember -- were awarded without bidding to Bush administration cronies.

And the Supreme Court must consider the very difficult question of whether an American citizen can be arrested on U.S. soil and taken--without charge or trial or access to a lawyer or even access to the outside world--to a brig on a ship outside American territorial jurisdiction simply because the President says he is an "enemy combatant." There is no concern for freedom, the administration asks us to believe, because the requirements of due process are met. The prisoner has a chance to explain himself in the interrogation room.

That's not a joke, folks, that's the legal position of the office of the Solicitor General in the Padilla case.

And finally, in his stump speech, Bush firmly denounces those that would say that "brown-skinned people" are incapable of self-governance. As soon as I find someone that has ever made that allegation, I'll let you know.

Oh, yes. One more thing. The Selective Service Administration has quietly proposed a new plan for the draft, in which (1) both men and women, (2) aged 18 to 34 years, (3) must keep the SSA apprised of (i) their whereabouts, and (ii) of any "niche" skills they may have which would be useful to the government.

I know that I should be funny, I should keep my sense of humor. But it's hard for me to do that these days -- and it's not just because my real life seems like a quagmire of its own.

Someone tell me why I should calm down.

 10:10 AM

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?