Thursday, December 28, 2006

Exercise In Futility

The news of Saddam Hussein's impending (and, I suppose it must be deliberately stated for the morally obtuse of the conservatardosphere, well-deserved) execution seems to be an almost complementary story, in light of the putative discussion of whether or not to "surge". Despite the release of an apparent letter from Hussein imploring Iraqis to let go of their hatred for us and each other, it is assumed that his death will at least be used as a pretext for a spike in violence.

But if the unrelenting and unnecessary carnage in Iraq is but a "comma" in history's grandiose book, then the execution of Hussein will ultimately render as little more than a diacritical mark, an umlaut of tyrannical destiny, if you will (and you probably should). It might even be considered a tad ironic that Hussein, essentially a top dog of internecine clan warfare to assert and retain his position for so long, gets usurped for his bad behavior by another practitioner of family honor, this time Oedipus Tex' swaggering, stuttering code of WASP omerta.

But whatever. Bad fucking guy, no two ways about it, hang 'im high. But then what? Does it resolve even a single one of our bogus operational misconceptions? Does it mitigate any of our precipitous loss of national reputation -- which, like it or not, becomes increasingly important when even a bunch of medieval cave-dwellers have access to sophisticated weapons and training?

No. It means very little as long as self-indulgent bozos keep drawing the wrong lessons from what's happened, and pontificate about it to their short-sighted audiences. The evidence seems quite clear -- just so there is no misunderstanding from certain people who are now claiming that they have been misinterpreted -- that had we concentrated on the job at hand in Afghanistan, worked with what Musharraf is attempting to do single-handedly in Pakistan, and clamped down on the Saudis and their back-door feeding of the monster, that no lives would have been lost in Iraq, and another terrorist attack in the U.S. would have been incredibly unlikely. Instead our famously incurious preznit got his dick caught in the foreign policy zipper, and we are locked into his failed legacy war for another decade. Containment is not a dishonorable thing to strive for; it certainly beats the hell out of dumbly hitting mercury with a hammer.

And of all things, it seems that Jerry Ford might have imparted a potent blow for sanity and probity, from beyond the grave, no less:

In a four-hour tape-recorded interview in July 2004, Ford "very strongly" disagreed with the justification for the 2003 invasion of Iraq advocated and carried out by key Bush advisers and veterans of his own administration -- U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and former U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld -- reported Woodward.

"Rumsfeld and Cheney and the president made a big mistake in justifying going into the war in Iraq. They put the emphasis on weapons of mass destruction," Ford said.

"And now, I've never publicly said I thought they made a mistake, but I felt very strongly it was an error in how they should justify what they were going to do."

The Bush administration's initial justification for the war was that Iraq posed a threat because it had stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. None were found.


Woodward said Ford fondly recalled his close working relationship with Cheney and Rumsfeld, while expressing concern about the policies they pursued in more recent years.

"He (Cheney) was an excellent chief of staff. First class," Ford said. "But I think Cheney has become much more pugnacious" as vice president.

According to the article, Ford said he agreed with former Secretary of State Colin Powell's assertion that Cheney developed a "fever" about the threat of terrorism and Iraq. "I think that's probably true."

Unfortunately, Cheney's fever was not the sort that could be cured by more cowbell, nor even by Britney Spears' pussy. This is a lifelong subordinate, a hard-wired company man who famously recreates by blowing away large numbers of semi-domesticated birds that are fattened beyond the point of aerodynamic stability. It may sound like a small, distasteful personal tic to some, but it's a pathological trait which heavily informs the operational dynamics of this administration. If Cheney looks at every task and challenge as just another portly game bird to be blown away with a thirty-aught-six, then that would pretty well explain how we got to this point, with so much death and destruction, every bit of it preventable.

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