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Flying Over the Cuckoo's Nest

By ddjango  Posted by Jason Miller (about the submitter)     Permalink
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One Flew East. It must have seemed so simple to them.

Scare them to death with "shock and awe", take Baghdad, capture Saddam, seize the oil fields, disband the army, and turn the economy into a capitalist entrepreneurial free-fire zone. Set up an "interim" administration to assure that Parsons, KBR, SAIC, and the others make millions "rebuilding" the infrastructure and creating a military launching pad. No problem. Just sit back and absorb the adulation from the emancipated Iraqi people and the good people of America. Next?

Well yeah. I guess there'll be a few folks killed along the way. But this is in the service of freedom and democracy. Those broken eggs will make a great omelet - a decidedly western omelet. And we might tell a few fibs in the process, too. The American people wouldn't understand and might be skeptical if we told the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The victorious outcome is all they want, anyway. Isn't that what they "elected" us for?

So please don't bother us with irrelevant details. Shi'ites and Sunnis and Kurds? A Muslim's a Muslim, right? Insurgency? You mean a few rabid al-Kayduh types rolling around in battered Toyota pick-ups? No match for American fire power. Not to worry. Anyway, we got God on our side (and a lot of frustrated right-wing Christians, too).

One Flew West. Remember duct tape? Didn't you just love the pretty terrorist alert thingy? The President reminded us that, "when the going gets tough, the tough go shopping". Just keep watching "24" and we'll get you a new X Box.

Now look, folks . . . we're gonna have to make a few adjustments here at home to git it done. In support of our common security, we'll have to follow the "if you're not for us, you're against us" line. The Constitution just ain't helpful in situations like these. Everyone's the enemy, guilty until they're proven innocent (yeah, like that's gonna happen).

So don't complain, 'cuz complainers are terrorists (or liberals - same difference). Somebody gets "disappeared", just don't worry, OK? We got some real handy ways of convincin' 'em to 'fess up and rat out their fellow travelers. We got a war to win. Just keep knowing that Saddam masterminded 911, and we're gonna take good care of him.

Oh, yeah. And this is gonna cost a few buck, too. So we're gonna keep taxes on the rich and on the corporations real low so they can pay for this. Goes without saying that we're goona have to sacrifice some trees and rivers and po' folks, but good 'Mericans always are willing to sacrifice for their country in times of war. Just don't listen to those gutless ninnies who say that the good ole USA is going bankrupt behind this. After all, the bill won't come due 'til after we're all dead.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. A couple of weeks ago, watching news clips of Americans trampling and beating other Americans in stores trying to buy the latest popular trinkets and toys, I was hit (again) with a deep, disillusioned depression. Why didn't we see this kind of thing happen at polling places two weeks earlier, with Americans fighting each other to vote? I guess it's because we value the latest video game more than the activity of democracy and self-government.

I could see little difference between these store rioters and fourth-worlders bum-rushing the UN truck when it pulls up with water and powdered milk. Except that the Americans tend to be obese and white, the fourth-worlders skinny and black.

It seems like, to Americans, this government stuff is just a bother, an inconvenience that some (but not all) of us tolerate every couple of years. The only reason most of us show up to vote is that election campaigns have become beauty pageants or survival games just like on "reality TV".

Only a month after the mid-term elections, Americans who did vote have congratulated themselves, washed their hands, and turned on "Who Wants to be a Trillionaire". Democrats are satisfied that they've repudiated the Republican policies. The war will be over soon.

Who notices that the Democrats have already lined up against "a precipitous withdrawal" from a lost war against a ravaged people. Who cares that they have also rejected executive impeachment out of hand? Who understands that Speaker of the House (maybe) Nancy Pelosi is fighting tooth and nail to put conservative party loyalists in leadership positions? Who realizes the implications of this excerpt of "CONGRESS IN TRANSITION: Pelosi hews to middle ground. With eye on 2008, new speaker works to keep Democrats united", from the SF Chronicle . . .

Pelosi may be among Congress' most vocal war critics, yet many Democrats worry that starving the Pentagon is a crude and ineffective way to end the war, with potentially disastrous political consequences. Pelosi has no interest in beginning her speakership with a divisive fight.

Similarly, while Pelosi voted against a GOP measure last week to permit oil drilling off the Gulf Coast, and another requiring that women seeking abortions be told that their fetuses feel pain, she chose not to use her leadership position to defeat the bills, which enjoyed a certain amount of Democratic support (the drilling measure passed; the abortion measure failed).

As the Republicans' 12-year-control of Capitol Hill came to a close, the Pelosi-led Democrats are steadfastly avoiding issues upon which they disagree and presenting a united front on matters from Iraq to congressional ethics.

Pelosi remains focused on a series of bread-and-butter items with broad support among Democrats that she will push when the party takes control of the House on Jan. 4.

"Ms. Pelosi has said many times that she will govern from the middle -- and that's what she is doing,'' said her spokesman, Brendan Daly.

Pelosi's agenda for the first 100 legislative hours of the new Congress includes House ethics, the minimum wage, college tuition costs, stem cell research, subsidies to oil companies and the security recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission. She has pledged to take up each of the issues before Bush delivers his State of the Union address in late January . . .

Er, uh, well what about The USA PATRIOT Act, tax breaks for the rich, critical environmental issues, investigations into the incredible corruption among US contractors in Iraq?

Speaking of the latter, here's a clip from this morning's NYT piece, "Iraq Is Failing to Spend Billions in Oil Revenues":

BAGHDAD, Dec. 10 - Iraq is failing to spend billions of dollars of oil revenues that have been set aside to rebuild its damaged roads, schools and power stations and to repair refineries and pipelines.

Iraqi ministries are spending as little as 15 percent of the 2006 capital budgets they received for the rebuilding - with some of the weakest spending taking place at the Oil Ministry, which relies on damaged and frequently sabotaged pipelines and pumping stations to move the oil that provides nearly all of the country's revenues. In essence, the money is available - despite extensive sabotage, the oil money is flowing - but the Iraqi system has not been able to put it to work.

The country is facing this national failure to spend even as American financial support dwindles. Among reasons for the problems - like a large turnover in government personnel - is a strange new one: bureaucrats are so fearful and confused by anticorruption measures put in place by the American and Iraqi governments that they are afraid to sign off on contracts . . .

OK, Nurse Ratchett, I'll have that lobotomy now . . . and make it a double-lobe, if you don't mind.
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