the talking dog

August 18, 2004, Welcome to My Nightmare (Part Six)

The interim Iraqi government, which only a few odd American morons even might believe is not wholly under the control of its American overlords, has announced its (insane) intention to storm the Imam Ali Mosque to drive Moqtada Al-Sadr and his militia out of Najaf. I will pray to the ether, and keep repeating this message on the off hope that someone important (and with a conscience) will read this and call this lunacy off-- NOW.

I will repeat: we Americans foolishly (and we are led in this by the biggest fool ever to hold the Oval Office) believe that the appropriate time measure is our own lives. This is complete and utter nonsense, and our rivals and enemies do not think like this.

We are but part of an ongoing continuum: life was here before us, and will be here after us. We are but a link in an ongoing chain of being. The Arab world (who, if you like, suffers from a disease jokingly called "Irish Alzheimers"-- they can't remember anything... except the grudges) still feels the humiliation of the Crusades as if they happened yesterday afternoon. Not to put too great a spin on this, but the Imam Ali Mosque is, among other things, the last resting place of Mohammed's Son in Law, just about the Holy of Holies in Shia Islam, and any damage to that shrine will be perceived as having been perpetrated by our hands.

Anyone who does not believe the Islamic world will see our fingerprints all over anything done by the Interim Iraqi Government is out of their f***ing mind. Such are the same people, of course, who put us in this position in the first place by insisting on their right to buy their God damned gas guzzling SUV's as a fashion statement, rationalizing their choice to accelerate the destruction of the planet by saying "oh but its safer", when of course, the exact opposite is true. (BTW, I heard that oil crossed $47/bbl. this morning; hope you're enjoying that plush roominess and being 14 feet above the road, people).

How can I say this? Well, we'll start with something from Rorschach, a commenter here on occasion, who has suggested that a computer recently unearthed in Afghanistan showed that rather than a sign of its absolute power and dominion over us, the 9-11 attacks were a sign of weakness- desperate p.r. move by Al Qaeda to draw its disparate elements together. A.Q. was also desperate for a bone-headed Western response to consolidate its p.r. gains-- for which the Bush Administration duly obliged with the heavy-handed and insanely stupid attack on utterly irrelevant Iraq. Bad enough we chose Iraq-- the one member of the Axis of Evil TM that we had totally contained, and that did not have "WMD Program Related Activities" up and running. But let's face it: Saddam Hussein was a convenient bogey-man (and while the crimes against humanity alleged against him were probably grossly overstated, those committed by his sons may well not have been.) Still, there were maybe a million times more good reasons not to invade Iraq than there were to do it. The President, btw, is a welcher: he bet his Presidency that there were WMDs in Iraq, and lost. A gentleman would have acknowledged the loss and gotten up from the table. To be fair, George W. Bush has never been accused of being a gentleman.

Of course, attacking Iraq in the first place wasn't good enough: we then had to torture its citizens, fail to secure their lives and property (except for the oil we want to control-- and we're not doing a very good job of that either) throw open the borders to terrorists who though not in Iraq under Saddam are sure there now, humiliate its people as individuals and as a nation, and then, finally, install an ineffective puppet regime (Iraqi Manchukuo or Iraqi Vichy, if you like). And yet, all of these catastrophic errors can, at least with time and effort, be reversed (even if only by a successor regime here, such as that of our inevitable next President, John Kerry).

But damage done to the Imam Ali Mosque at our hands (or the hands of our puppets) cannot be undone. Ever. Bush and his idiot minions will-- will-- open up the great clash of civilizations via self-fulfilling prophesy-- a different kind of never-ending war-- probably to the death and probably for decades or centuries-- if we seriously damage (or, certainly, if God help us we destroy) the Imam Ali Mosque for some ill-designed bulls*** goal like getting a minor irritant (in the great scheme of things) like Baby Sadr (who we built up in the first place by stupidly closing his toy newspaper).

While our attention span may be the length of an average sit-com, I assure you, the Moslem world's is much, much longer. While an ICBM attack might result in the destruction of the world in 15 or 20 minutes, and destroying this mosque might result in the destruction of the world in 15 or 20 years, in the great scheme of things... is that really a meaningful difference?

Stop this madness. In the name of our children, I am begging here.

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Now, TD, there you go getting all upset about some silly mosque when you could be promoting Mayor Bloomberg's Peaceful Political Activists discount program, worth hundreds of dollars, for discounts at Appleby's, museums, theater performances all around NY. I'm sure this commercialization will strongly appeal to the anti-corporate anti-globalization crowd, but what about you?

Meanwhile, back at the mosque, I couldn't agree with you more completely. This is why, historically, we generally have been elitist about our choices of national leaders, and have striven to elect and appoint persons of culture and education to positions of power. If you have never read a book, traveled or studied history, it is unlikely that you will be able to make appropriate strategic decisions in the foreign policy arena. Even if you do not want to be elitist, you might consider a certain level of curiosity about the world and people from different cultures than your own to be a minimum prerequisite. But now, it's just much more important that we place "nucular" bombs in the hands of a "regular guy" who can yuck it up with the good ol' boys while pretending to clear brush and eat BBQ when the cameras are rolling (even if he is a cheerleader klutz who falls off Segways in real life). I do not understand why this "regular guy" stuff is important, but I'm told by pundits on TV that it's essential.

Now the irony with "W," of course, is that he seems to have managed to go through the finest education that money can buy, and have absorbed not only none of the content, but also none of the process or attitude. My brother went to Andover, was a pretty rotten student, actually, and barely squeaked out of the place. My brother also has learning disabilities and found it hard to read. But my brother managed to come out of Andover and a state university better spoken, more knowledgeable about the world, more curious about stuff, with more respect for logic and science than W did coming out of Andover and Yale. I find myself constantly both appalled and embarrassed by W, but can you imagine how incredibly embarrassing he is to the heads of those educational institutions? Let's hope most of his old teachers are dead and buried, so they aren't having to live through the humiliation. I wonder if Andover applications have suffered--can you really contemplate the idea of spending $30,000 a year on your kid's prep school, and a bit more per year on a private college, and have him end up like that? Shudder.

Posted by mamayo at August 18, 2004 10:41 AM

I agree with everything you wrote -- apart from the oil motivation and SUV bashing ; ) -- but aren't you even a little concerned that Sen. Kerry said last week that he too would have invaded Iraq absent WMD?

I don't care if he did it with NATO and the entire French Foreign Legion, saying that he would invade Iraq in the full knowledge that there were no WMD present -- and thus no threat to America -- gives me SERIOUS pause about the man's ability to lead.

I want George Bush in retirement in Texas next January but I'm not sure I want John Kerry sitting in that nice round office in the West Wing...

Posted by Steve at August 18, 2004 02:40 PM


Yes, yes, the SUV assault was A BIT over the top. On the other hand, the SUV craze was dependent on something that will no longer exist: cheap oil, and a permanently expanding economy. In a way, the SUV craze sowed the seeds of its own destruction .

If you've followed me a while, you know that I've been quite open in saying that I felt that John Kerry was, at best, the 4th best candidate the Dems had to offer (one of the better ones is his own running mate); Mamayo above was a big Clark fan-- and say what you want, Howard Dean was a better candidate than Kerry. But Iowa liked Kerry, so its Kerry.

Its a mistake, btw, to call him a waffler. He is a political ass-coverer, and in that, Kerry is both crass and craven. Hence, he voted IN FAVOR of the Iraq war because he got burned in the early 90's by voting AGAINST Gulf War I. THEN, he insists he can have it both ways by pretending that he somehow limited Bush's authority (by handing him a blank check.) THEN he voted against the FUNDING package for the war; there WAS a way to oppose it-- which was to scream "J'Accuse"-- the war will cost at least TWICE the $87B asked for-- and I WILL NOT SHORTCHANGE OUR TROOPS FOR THE POLITICAL BENEFIT OF THE BUSH ADMINSITRATION. Kerry, of course, didn't do that. (Edwards voted the same way, btw).

Kerry just feels that he cannot reconcile his "Yea" vote, unless HE TOO would have invaded Iraq under any circumstances-- like Bush (even though we know he would not have). He has, I suppose, focus-grouped this issue to death, and this is the answer. Does it show a lack of imagination? Yes. A lack of character? As a matter of fact, it does.

Is it any reason whatsoever not to vote for Kerry over the worst excuse for a human being ever to hold the Presidency (let alone the worst President, with no rivals, having surpassed Nixon in that Department while employing a fair number of former Nixon employees himself)? Of course not.

John Kerry is not as good a candidate as I'd like him to be-- I'll grant you. I'm still supporting him wholeheartedly, and urge others to do the same. I'm quite certain what we're seeing is the "say anything to get elected" mentality plaguing ALL politicians; once in office, I have no doubt that Kerry would act responsibly.

And that is the difference: its not what Kerry SAYS he'll do: its what we can be reasonably certain he will ACTUALLY do.

Posted by the talking dog at August 18, 2004 04:07 PM

Like my Mom used to say, this isn't a restaurant. Ya got two choices for President. Don't stand around all day making up your mind.

George Will seems highly restless. In the present situation, 1.) no one in Iraq believes that Allawi is independent, 2.) we are blamed for everything Allawi does, 3.) we have to back him because his troops are no good, and 4.) He will fuck us any time he sees an advantage in it, the way Chalabi already did.

How could it be worse?

Posted by Zizka at August 18, 2004 09:35 PM

I meant "Even George Will". Doesn't make much sense otherwise.

Posted by Zizka at August 18, 2004 09:36 PM

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