Saturday, February 01, 2003


I was in high school when the Challenger blew up. We crowded into the computer lab (the only room with a TV) and watched the replay over and over again, but I could never quite believe what I was seeing (the same reaction I had on Sept 11th). Once it had sunk in, I felt bad for the people who'd died, but I felt even worse for their friends and relatives who'd watched it all happen live and had to relive it every time the explosion was shown again.

Well, I'm a lot older now, and a lot of really bad shit has happened in America and in the world. I no longer have trouble believing what I've seen, but I feel just as bad for the people who're suffering right now. I wish that there were something I could do, but there's not. Nothing I could do or say would make those astronauts any less dead, nor their families any less torn apart. So I'll just sit alone with my sadness and type.

Monday, January 27, 2003

Yes, Virginia, We're Going To War

Only a few short months ago, I'd fooled myself into thinking that all this war talk was simply an electoral ploy. I knew that Bush's brain (aka Karl Rove) was cynical to whip up a war frenzy in order to pick up a few mid-term election seats. I knew that the realistic end-game to a war in Iraq, with its attendant messy occupation, wasn't likely to be much fun. I knew that the chances of bringing democracy to Iraq were akin to the chances of bringing Vanderbilt to the Sugar Bowl or UT to the academic all-American team. In short, I knew that invading Iraq wouldn't be the gimme that lots of other bloggers seem to think it'll be. I also knew that Bush's people, if not the man himself, were smart enough to know these things too.

From all this, I surmised that the war talk was for electoral purposes only, and that Saddam backing down and readmitting weapons inspectors would give the Bushies cause to declare victory and go home (after all, he did change course last Fall and declare UN inspections as being sufficient to forestall an invasion). Ari Fleischer even added to my belief with some idiotic double-talk about how a change in Saddam's behavior would be the same thing as regime change. This all looked like prelude to calling off the war and skipping straight to the victory parade.

That's not going to happen. We're really going to war, and there's nothing anyone lower down than Dick Cheney can do about it. My opinion doesn't matter. Your opinion doesn't matter. Colin Powell's opinion doesn't matter. Even the Republican leaders in Congress have no say here. We're going to war. Get used to it.

I, honestly, can't quite decide whether this is simply part of the neo-con dreamworld of overturning the established order in the Middle East and replacing it with democratic capitalistic societies all of which embrace Israel's right to exist (administered, no doubt, by the monkeys flying out of Richard Perle's ass) or whether this is a simplistic I'm gonna ice that fucker who tried to kill my dad directive from the top. The signals here are mixed. I'm guessing a little bit of both.

Bush's desire for vengeance and his simplistic good guys in white hats vs bad guys in black turbans mindset have got to be really easy for smart guys like Perle and Wolflowitz to manipulate. They also make it very hard for people like Colin Powell (and even Poppy Bush) to impress a nuanced view of the world onto him. The result is that people from ideological think-tanks with precious little real world experience have hijacked the brains of the two most powerful men on the planet (George Bush and Dick Cheney) and have them steering a course into a very uncertain future with all of us along for the ride. Unfortunately, really smart ideologues don't have the best track records in the real world (see Vietnam, American involvement in; also, Marxism; also, Russia, transition to free market economy of; also, music synthesizers, dancing to crappy music made by).

I could be wrong. Things could turn out okay. Those monkeys flying out of Richard Perle's ass could be really lucky and/or competent. I hope to God they are, because we are going to war, and the guy at the helm doesn't know where he's taking us (the really smart guys with the charts haven't told him yet).

PS: I'd love to hear anyone's theory that Bush is a master strategist ordering the world as he see fit and/or a bloodthirsty monster who just wants to kill darkies, but you'll have to convince me that he can name all the countries of the Middle East first. Until then, I'll stick with the available evidence, that he doesn't know shit about international affairs other than that some scumbag tried to kill his dad and that the smart Jews all told him it wouldn't be very hard to take the guy out. If he really knew that the Saudis were on the Big List and that years of disruption to the oil supply might be considered an acceptible cost, I don't think any of this would be happening. But I could be wrong (monkeys can be pretty damned smart).

Clarification: My reference above to Bush thinking some scumbag tried to kill his dad and that the smart Jews all told him it wouldn't be very hard to take the guy out is what's called internal dialogue. It represents Bush's thinking on the subject. Personally, I don't think Perle or Wolflowitz are either particularly smart, or at least not as smart as I'd like them to be given their current influence [nor, for that matter, do I believe that they're part of some massive Zionist conspiracy; given my support for Israel, I'd be part of the conspiracy too, and I'm already annoyed enough that we agree on anything without being in the same conspiracy together]. I do, however, believe that Bush thinks they're plenty smart and is letting them tell him what he really wants to hear (taking out Saddam will be painless and fun) while blocking out those who tell him otherwise.

Further Clarification: Any future reference to Bush thinking of Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell as the reasonable negroes can also be classified as internal dialogue and should not be interpreted to mean that I consider them to be either particularly reasonable or particularly representative of blacks as a group.

Further, Further Clarification: Any past or future reference to Dick Cheney or Karl Rove as fat, evil white men is not Bush's internal dialogue, but my characterization of their personalities, builds, and ethnicity. No offense is meant to either the fat or the evil in lumping them in with all those other whiteys.

The Richard Nixon of Football

Al Davis doesn't sleep tonight. He paces the hallways, alone with his pain; gnashing his teeth until blood flows; plotting his vengeance. They've made him look like a fool; they've made him look like a chump; they've made him look like a loser. They must be destroyed. It may cost him millions and hurt his chances of winning another Super Bowl, but he will be avenged. This is more important than winning, more important than money. Vengeance will be his, oh yes, it will be his.