Thursday, October 28, 2004

My Daddy Knew an Uneven Fight

Sigh! Paul Bremer, the ‘Duke’ of Iraq recently said that the Bush administration was clearly right to invade Iraq. Though no WMD was found, he said there was a ‘real possibility’ that they might be and that Hussein might give such weapons to terrorists.


There’s also a possibility that I might be syndicated in 800 newspapers one day, but don’t bet the farm on it.


Bremer went on to say that the ‘status-quo was simply untenable.” Reporting in on another of the Axis of Evil candidates, North Korea, our ambassador to South Korea recently warned North Korea not to ‘wait for the election’ before coming to the bargaining table. It’s a little late at this writing---four days before the election---but Ambassador Christopher Hill said “I think they need to understand that whoever is elected president, there is absolutely no tolerance for dealing with a country that maintains nuclear weapons programs.”


Oh, come on, Chris. What are countries like Iran, North Korea and, until lately, Libya to make of our snuggle up to Pakistan? Pakistan not only has the bomb, they’ve tested it three or four times and are crawling with Muslim extremists. You and Paul make us sound like a Marx Brothers government.


Bremer and Hill are both guilty of neoconspeak in the first degree. It should be a hanging offense. It’s become endemic this bushwhacking and, unless something absolutely liberating-but-unlikely happens four days from now, we’re in for yet four more years of an administration that says anything it likes, labels it as true and walks away. Orwell would be very much at home in this neocon political environment.


So, as nearly as I can tell, we bought off Libya and their embryonic nuclear program with a normalization of relations. Good deal, very American and no lives lost except Lockerbee. We blundered into Iraq knowing there was nothing there, but Bush did it because he could do it and old scores needed settling. This is a president who remembers old scores, but he’s put us up against the Muslim world and they have two or three centuries on us in the remembering old scores department. Neoconspeak insists that we’re winning but no one puts much value in that oversold stock these days.


I remember some very good advice from my daddy about venturing into bad neighborhoods. First of all he was against it, but second he advised never to initiate a confrontation because it was sure to be an uneven fight. Daddy’s view was that his son was too middle-class-comfortable to put it all on the line in a face-off and that the people one confronted in bad neighborhoods hadn’t much to lose, thereby holding an advantage. Daddy’s views might not have been politically correct to voice in today’s society but they were dead-on, accurate and words to survive by. No neoconspeak from Daddy.


So, this saying-it-makes-it-true thing the administration does seems to be working in middle America, if one can believe the polls. One has to wonder if the ‘con’ in neocon refers to conservatives or merely con-artists and con-men, but nevertheless it seems to be working over here, where we’re middle-class-comfortable and unwilling to put anything on the line, even taxes to finance the war. Out there in the ‘bad neighborhoods,’ the streets of North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia and on and on and on, it’s far less a sure thing, this saying-makes-it-true. Those are the folks Daddy had in mind, who haven’t much to lose and we’re eyeball to eyeball with them on very uneven philosophical and material grounds. The perspiration under our armpits is showing. Neoconspeak isn’t hacking it outside of this country.


But the neocons are more than war and terrorists, these are complicated guys and gals. What of this decade’s three and a half trillion dollar surplus that’s turned into a neodeficit five trillion? What of the embarrassment of Russia---Russia---the world’s most egregious polluter ratifying the Kyoto Treaty as America pursues its neoenvironment? What of No Child Left Behind turning so quickly to neochild unfunded? Neocon stands for ‘new conservative,’ but can anyone tell me what is even slightly conserving about the squandering of our money, our future, our reputation, our young men’s lives, our safety and the civil society we enjoyed before being set upon one another like pit bulls? We are nationally exhausted, lying in the dust glaring at one another, our country painted red and blue as the pollsters and pundits play us for suckers.


But we’re not suckers. We’re made of better stuff than that. We’ve always been made of better stuff than our politicians and from time to time when they’ve thought different they paid the price for that arrogance. Americans are tough sons-of-bitches and they take a long time to move, sometimes too long. But they’re not all that crazy about anything neo and you con them at your own risk.


My Daddy used to tell me about that as well.