Have you been watching the slipping and sliding, and the increasingly mealy-mouthed language that W. and his crew have been using to describe “the surge” and that hard-and-fast assessment which we were told we would have by September?
(Plan A, it turns out, was “All mealy-mouth, all the time. Plan B will be “Mealy Mouth Plus, with added mealy-mouth. Plan C will be “You haven’t SEEN Mealy-Mouth…I’ll give you Mealy Mouth” Plan D? “You can’t handle Mealy-Mouth” or, “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. A bridge too far? Not in this business.” Make up your own.)
The relentless Frank Rich covers it in prolonged and painful detail in his piece in the New York Times today (Sunday June 24th): I recommend it to one and all. Some of my Bruno friends don’t like Frank Rich –he’s not “in your face enough” for them. But Relentless Frank is, for me, both Relentless and Frank. He makes the case, powerfully and reasonably. Persuasively. (Although, maybe I should hold off on that for the moment.) He always updates us with that “the story so far” approach, to which he adds his current beef, in this case The Surge of Lies. He forgets nothing. He links, relentlessly, to all his backup points –speeches, statements, testimony, articles etc etc.
Today he gives a complete and detailed examination of the Progress of The Mealy Mouths, with every utterance that they have …uttered… as they spin and parse and ahem and spin and fade and obfuscate and bloviate and spin and deflect and harumph and no-comment and airball their way out letting yeas be yeas and nays be nays.
As I have pointed out, Frank Rich’s great gift is the fact that as erstwhile theatre critic (his earlier line of work) he saw thousands upon thousands of plays. He knows All The Plots. He knows How They End. He can smell a bad play even when it’s still in the first act. (Talk about “Caught in the Act…”)
The real SURGE will be the Surge of Bullsh*t that is about to descend on us, from now to September. And beyond.
Protect yourself –Get a Surge Suit. Get angry. Angrier. Be relentless. Enough of the lies. Enough of the refusal to call a spade a spade. I defined “Perjury” recently: “The deliberate, willful giving of false, misleading, or incomplete testimony…under oath” If Mr. Bush had been under oath he would, by definition, have perjured himself. They all would.
Angry? Me? Yes, but probably not enough. (I can work on my “Hermann Gebler” book and do my garden and feed the birds and drink iced tea in Staten Island and make books, and ride my bike, and go to Brunos. God is good to me.)
But: Lies –and arrogance, and saving face, and inability to admit mistakes– will today, even perhaps as you read this, cost us more American lives in Iraq, blown to bits by IEDs, or legs blown off to be replaced by aluminum broomsticks and left in a corner at Walter Reed hospital. Not to mention Iraqi deaths –which, mostly, we do not mention.
Anger at being lied to. Knowingly lied to. They all lied to us (qv the definition of perjury above.)
What will we learn? By the experience of Vietnam, not much –look how easily we took up that argument all over again with the ill-fated Voyage of John Kerry back in 2004.
But I will table here one proposal. That a War Of Lies cannot be, can never be, a Good War, a Right War, a War of Good Conscience.
And make one (I think, sadly undeniable) observation: If either of George Bush’s daughters had been in Iraq they’d have had properly functioning body armor. You can raise a lot of money from a bakesale on the White House lawn.