Monday, May 19, 2008

Current Comedy 5/19/08: Easy Targets

Among the many whose lives were destroyed in Iraq last week were three college students. These students were killed in the Sadar City neighborhood of Baghdad the night before their graduation. With our own children graduating this week, we Americans can surely see that these deaths, all by themselves, are a horror too great to comprehend.
Like 90% of the deaths in Iraq, they were civilians caught in the wrong place at the wrong time in a violent war that ironically was supposed to be about preventing violence. The insurgents had fled and the students had not. There were soldiers nearby looking for targets. Just soldiers in the field, just doing a miserable job as best they can.
Can’t blame them for doing their best; except, wouldn’t it be awful if they’d been sent to do the wrong thing? And if their leaders sent them, knowing it was the wrong thing to do, wouldn’t that make the leaders seem evil, like greedy destructive tyrants.
Such leaders would also be easy targets. Like Hussein himself was--a puffed up kleptocrat deserving to be toppled. Bush and company are lucky Americans love their country enough that they have a hard time thinking of their own president as evil. We would rather think of just about any other country that way, even whole races of people as evil than doubt our president.
And so, for some Americans, Iraqis have long made for easy targets. Like his son after him would also do, Poppy Bush loved Iraq’s potential as a target so much he rejected Hussein’s 11th hour surrender in favor of 90s style Shock and Awe, way back during Gulf War I. After all why not take on Hussein when Iraq made such a good target.
We attacked that country so hard and so fast folklore claims many of the Iraqi soldiers were killed while fleeing to US invasion. In some cases we just used a bulldozer and buried them as we went. That highway from Kuwait to Baghdad is expected to be a radioactive kill-zone for the next four billion years thanks to our DU artillery. And in the end the US decided not to depose Hussein after all. Remember, Cheney himself laughed off the mere suggestion, saying to do so would make Iraq a “quagmire”?
Guess he forgot.
Then in 2001, while the Towers were still smoking, after our best intelligence assessed the best approach to try and track down Bin Laden in Afghanistan, Donald Rumsfeld waved them off and lamented he didn’t want to attack Afghanistan. There were no clear targets, but there were great targets in Iraq. Even though it was quite clear Iraq had not been involved in 9/11, the Bush team wanted to attack an innocent country because it made a better target than the guilty one.
Then, when they played out all the other convenient explanations of why we were terrorizing the public of an innocent country, after they’d been caught in that public WMD lie 944 times, Bush and company switched to claiming they were there to spread democracy. Which we then compromised by dismantling what remained of the functioning civilian government and the Iraqi military. And here we are five years later and still no end in sight.
Also last week, Bush was again pressing for an extra Middle East war as if we weren’t borrowing money fast enough on the ones we’ve got going; and compared Obama to a Nazi sympathizer. Bush was in the Middle East to honor the 60th celebration of the creation of the Israeli state, which coincides with the Palestinians’ 60th commemoration of the theft of their country to create the Israeli state. As Hamas and other pesky Palestinians refuse to shut up and starve to death in Gaza, the world wonders what Israel will come up with for their final solution to their own ethnic problem.
Meanwhile Bush endorses the Israeli Palestinian pogrom while calling Dems cowards and traitors. And McCain, in his ever-determined effort to impersonate a president, even this one, has endorsed Bush’s position. Considering George’s approval rating, one wonders how a man with as much military experience as McCain could make such a tactical error as to align himself with W.
For some Americans it makes McCain look like an easy target.
--Mikel Weisser is attending the May 27th anti-Bush/McCain Rally in Phoenix to protest their upcoming appearance. He wants you to know you are also invited.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

designated weenie

Designated Weenie

“I believe that a change is going to come because many of us are committing to changing how we see others who are different.” Are these the most evil words ever written or what?
Don’t recognize this message? This sentence was the theme/refrain, in fact the very essence, of Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s now infamous keynote speech for the NAACP in Detroit on Sunday, April 27th (transcript widely available online). You know, the speech that has been used to paint Wright as a racist hatemonger who does not love his country, the one that has Barack Obama denouncing/ denying his former minister so fast and furious that if he were to be any more “in-denial” he’d have to travel under an Egyptian passport.
I n case you missed it, at first it seemed that CNN, who had led the way in the first public excoriation of the firebrand preacher who “happened to be” Barack Obama’s minister, the entire network itself experienced a massive about face on the issue and was now championing Wright both the man and the message. At the least the network was clearly attempting to do more than publicly apologize when, without warning, they gave over three and a half hours of primetime Sunday night TV to play, then replay, and then again replay Rev. Wright’s complete speech at the NAACP’s Detroit national convention.
A major network giving up primetime for live coverage of a minority minister, or for the NAACP for that matter, is something that only happens in fairytales and to make the incident more amazing, weekend anchor Rick Sanchez, appearing to make an executive decision, announced on air at the end of his segment that he was bumping the CNN line-up to continue coverage on Wright.
Understand it was not just any old Larry King’s celebrity interview, but jiggle-icon ratings-queen herself, Pamela Anderson. The idea of keeping Pamela Anderson’s chest off the air to replay Wright’s speech twice in the single evening was like tossing aside America’s steady diet of bubble gum for a bowl of beef stew. For a moment there was hope.
Then as if it was all a dream, despite CNN’s mighty Sunday night efforts by Monday they were back to Wright bashing business in lockstep with all the other major networks. Certainly most of the American news viewing public got to see the media once again lambaste the allegedly vile words of the supposedly diabolical Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The media feeding frenzy that followed painted Wright’s speech as the most radical manifesto this side of the Unabomber and thus once again onetime Wright ally Obama was subjected to a fresh round of pillorying and denouncement. It was another test of his mettle.
He failed.
Instead of simply distancing as he’d done during the first round of Wright baiting a month ago, this time Obama played the now traditional Democratic role of designated weenie, and turned his back on his church, his life-long friend, and the political views that are actually what make him appealing as a liberal in the first place. In doing so Obama showed the near stereotypical Democratic trait of selling his own progressive principles out to sell himself to conservatives that had no intention of voting for him in the first place; and in the process alienating his own followers as well.
While it’s not quite as bad selling out your country to the oil industry and squandering billions and murdering millions in a war based on lies, domestic suppression, and foreign terrorism, it once again leaves that taste of disappointment in one’s mouth. It makes Barack and all Dems look bad enough to make folks consider voting McCain despite knowing voting McCain is endorsing the tragedy that’s been Bush.
As Dems have done at least as far back as Dukakis, Obama blanched fearing he’d be seen as not white enough, let “right-wingers” frame his agenda for him, and wound up doing his part to assure GOP victory and a third term of the Bush policies that 70% of the American public openly condemn.
If this is the best they can do to protect us from Bush, it is small wonder that even after all those debates most of America still isn’t sure why we should vote Dem. Some may say that at least they’re still better than the GOP, but if this is an indication of democratic leadership, I’d have to say, not by much.

--Mikel Weisser writes from the left coast of Arizona