| Okay, this is just screedy as hell, so if these things bore you, I advise you move along. If you didn’t read Thursday’s ‘Fence, it was Bleat-like, in a way. I could write about the brilliance of this autumn day, the trip to Target for the Barbie “Princess and the Pauper” CD, which Gnat has been looking forward to like I hunger for the DVD of “Twin Peaks” second season. I could talk about the blogger party tonight where the luminaries of the Northern Alliance gathered to watch the debate, and peck out snark and insight. It was quite a sight: bloggers on the sofa, laptops open, family and friends gathered behind, all eyes and ears on the big TV. Behold the ankle-biting pajama-clad ticks!
Don’t want the screed? Here’s something interesting – WW2 photos from the government archives. Sobering and instructive. You can spend a day there. Go ahead!
Still here, ready to bathe in the frothy spume of my bull-headed ignorance? Well, I warned you.
I was standing behind the sofas, pacing, reading the blog entries before they were posted. (The very definition of having upper echelon access, perhaps.) But I had to leave early, and while I regretted leaving the party, I was also glad. I hate the debates. I have a vision of 65 million undecided Americans tuning in and making a snap judgment for all the wrong reasons. Wow, he pounded the podium to emphasize each word - but the other guy pounded each syllable. What’s this about sealing Fallujer? Is it leaking? Did they have a flood?
But mostly I hate the debates because I simply cannot abide hearing certain statements I’ve been hearing over, and over, and over again. I can’t take any more talk about bringing allies to the table. Which ones? Brazil? Mynmar? Microfrickin’nesia? Are there some incredibly important and powerful nations out there whose existence has hitherto escaped me? Fermany? Gerance? The Galactic Order of the Belgian Dominion? Did we piss off the Vulcans? Who? If we mean “France and Germany,” then please explain to me why the reluctant participation of these two countries somehow bestows the magic kiss of legitimacy. They want in? Fine. They don’t? Fine. At this point mooning over France is like being that sophomore loser dorm pal who spent his dateless weekends telling his loser roommate about a high school sweetheart who stood him up for the prom. Give it up. Move on. I understand; they are wise and nuanced, we are young and dumb. We’re the cowboy leaning with his back against the bar, elbows on the rail, watching the door; we need our European betters to teach us how to ape the subtle forms of Nijinsky, limbs arrayed in the exquisite form of the Dying Swan. Understood. But I don’t want to be the Dying Swan. And I don’t want posture lessons from a country that spent the last 20 years flopping on its back and grabbing its ankles when Saddam showed up waving stacks of Francs in exchange for bang-sticks. Don’t you think I know about France’s relations with Saddam? Surely the advocates of the French Touch must know, and don’t care. Or they don’t know – in which case their advice is useless.
And it took lots of dead Americans to be able to say that.
Also dead Russians. Is Russia the great ally we’ve dissed? If we invite Russia to help, then we have to tell them things. I don’t want to tell them things. At least as they relate to the battlefield.
Perhaps the “ally” is that big blue wobbly mass known as the UN, that paragon of moral clarity, that conscience of the globe. You want to really anger a UN official? Tow his car. Short of that you can get away with anything. (Sudan is on the human rights commission, to cite a prominent and amusing detail. It’s like putting Tony Soprano on the New Jersey Waste Management Regulation Board.) I don’t worry that the UN is angry with us. I’d be worried if they weren’t. And I find it interesting that someone who would complain about outsourcing peevishly notes that we hired <psycho screeching strings> HALLIBURTON </strings> to do the work instead of throwing buckets of billions to French and German contractors who sold them the jets and built the bunkers.
I’ve been hearing this shite for years! That’s why I can’t stand the debates! ENOUGH WITH FRANCE AND GERMANY!
(pause; huffing into a plastic bag to restore blood chemistry)
And another thing: the idea of a summit with the Muslim world doesn’t particularly billow my sails, either.
So Osama is using our invasion of Iraq to recruit new troops? First of all, you know this how? We have a tape of OBL holding up a copy of 2004 TV Guide Fall Season edition to verify the date, declaring a new and improved jihad? Second, do you think a summit in which the various satrapies of the Middle East and elsewhere convene for a marathon bitchfest about Gaza is going to make America beloved in Sadr City? They want us to extend a hand, yes, so they can lop it off. Ah, but what of the moderates. Those who have been turned against us because we threw out the Taliban and deposed Saddam – the relentlessly secular Saddam, as we’re often reminded. If it hasn’t occurred to these folks before, let me spell it out plainly: if you think there’s a war against Muslims now, you lack a certain sense of perspective. If tiptoeing around sacred sites and taking special care to pick off the snipers hiding in mosques so as not to disturb the plaster is a war against Islam, you will be looking for new terms when Putin drops a big bag of hammers somewhere someday. Surely the alienated moderates must be asking: the United States could destroy the madmen, completely. Yet they do not. Why?
Good question, eh?
So no, I’m not enthused about a summit, unless we get to set the agenda. Item one: get over the frickin’ Jews, people. They’re not going anywhere, and if they do they’re taking all of you with them. Item two: You poke the hornet’s nest one more time and the skies of Tehran and Riyahd will darken with 747s, which will disgorge a fleet of Jeeps. We will ride around with bullhorns and announce that all women are free to leave, with their children, so they can live in a society where they get to show some shin without having some gynophobic wanker whip them with sticks. Your choice! Madrassas and no women, or a live-and-let-live world with women, and cable TV and the odd cold beer now and then, if you like. Beer will not be mandatory. We’re not the sort of people who impose beer on the unwilling. But you know, on 9/111 we recognized the downside of coexisting with societies that want to hang people for having a Pabst after a hot day. Your choice. Item three: we’re going to play a video of the events of 9/11. And then we’ll have a discussion. We’re willing to entertain all sorts of commentary, with one proviso: the moment you use the word “but,” you’re escorted from the building and put back on a plane home. You can never come to the US again. Your nice condo in the new Trump building will be sold for five dollars to a nice Jewish lesbian couple we met the other day at parent’s night at our school in Park Slope. One’s an artist, the other’s a lawyer.
And I’m not exactly thrilled with the idea of a big summit of non-allied allies after the election, either. Summits are convened not to solve a problem but solve the perception that there is a problem. Imagine if the government had been different in 2002 - we’d have had a summit with France and Germany. End result: the sanctions would be dropped by now, and Saddam would still be in power. The entire point of the summit would be to establish “goals and timetables” cooked up by various bored Eurocrats attempting to smooth the path towards full and open trade with Iraq, instead of covert under-the-table deals. (It’s so nice when you can deal with thugs in the open, rather than skulking around; that makes one feel as though one’s doing something wrong.) The entire Iraq issue would have vanished from the A-section, because there had been – a summit! If there was backsliding or intransigence, well, this would require discussions, or perhaps frank discussions, or even a motion to bring up the issue in the General Assembly, after which it would be sent up the chain to be discussed in the Security Council, right after they get done crafting a resolution that warns China not to be mean to Taiwan, and warns Taiwan about those provocative elections they’ve had lately.
Ask yourself this: you’re a dictator who has violated the terms of a peace treaty over and over again, and frequently shoots at the planes enforcing the treaties. Who do you fear the most? A) The magnificent concert of allies in the UN, some of whom you’ve bought off, who are desperate to prove their legitimacy by prolonging the process into the 22nd century
B) The United States, Britain and Australia, who have several hundred thousand troops on your border and frankly are in no mood to put up your crap any longer
What would you want in this situation? The answer starts with “S” and ends, five letters later, in “T.”
So, I get it. We are wrong and bad and stupid and stupidly wrong-bad. We failed to make France act as though it wasn’t, you know, France, a militarily insignificant nation that is understandably motivated by self-interest, and we haven’t convened a summit so we could be castigated for ignoring the extralegal use of Israeli helicopters to turn Hamas kingpins into indistinct red smears. You’d think we nuked Paris and converted everyone to Lutheranism.
Here’s the thing. I’d really like to live in John Kerry’s world. It seems like such a rational, sensible place, where handshakes and signatures have the power to change the face of the planet. If only the terrorists lived there as well.
Who does Zarkowi fear the most - France, summiteers, or Marines?
If the rightness of a cause is measured by the number of one’s allies, would Britain have been right if the US had stayed neutral in World War Two?
And that’s what I felt after 30 minutes of the debate. If I’d stuck around for the whole thing, I think I’d be sleeping in the tool shed tonight, chewing on the old discarded Tiki torches. Now it’s time for a scotch and some TV; see you Monday. And thanks for reading this far. God knows I wouldn’t have. I do go on, don’t I. Alas and alack.