Belaboring the Obvious

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A War Not Worth Winning....

History is replete with dumb, ridiculous wars. Try on the Boer War for size. Or World War One, which still stands as a grotesque monument to the idiocy of both politicians and the military. Saddam Hussein's little jaunt into Iran, which lasted nearly a decade, started for aims that were miniscule compared to the carnage, accomplished nothing, and killed over a million people on both sides, and led to the debt that prompted him, just a couple of years later, to invade yet another country. The Falklands War, which Margaret Thatcher used to prop up her sagging administration and a sagging British Empire. Hell, even Honduras and El Salvador went to war with each other in 1969 over a soccer match. No point in even getting started on the twenty-year ideological clusterfuck that was war in Vietnam.

So, why is Bush now trying to escalate a war that has been entirely of his own making, that he's already mismanaged into a chaotic, destructive mess? Because, that's what stupid people do. Hey, he bamboozled the country into going along with him in the first place, right? It'll work again, right?


The latest USA Today/Gallup poll shows Americans opposed to increased troop levels by a 61%-36% margin. Not many undecideds/don't knows left in that. And, in the same poll, only 26% think Bush has done a good job with Iraq.

And the fifth-graders in the White House PR operation (which probably has as many planners as the Pentagon has for war) are still arguing amongst themselves if Bush should give his Wednesday speech in the Oval Office or the White House Map Room, because the Map Room looks all cool and military, with the World War II-era maps on the walls and such.

In more than casual ways, Bush's entire six years in office have been an attempt to manage the news for political purposes rather than to actually govern. When the PR message has fallen flat, Bush has tried to shoot from the hip, as Reagan often did, and has almost always missed his target. Call it administration by advertising. Bush has sought to sell the public a novelty product--himself--with the worst sort of hucksterism.

After September 11th, 2001, people were buying. Now, they're not, but that won't change the way Bush and the White House do marketing. They're still convinced the product is viable, even though its shelf life has long expired.

Bush and his war are cheap plastic crap, a glow-in-the-dark plastic Jesus in cowboy boots stuck to the dashboard of the nation, made carelessly and thoughtlessly, and marketed with a vengeance for maximum profit. There's little left to squeeze out of this boondoggle. It got him his second term, but that's all.

Buyer's remorse has set in. Bush and his very own personal war are starting to look, after years in the remorseless sun, faded and tired, and, well, tacky and stupid.


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