Friday, September 5, 2008

Did the Surge Work?

Did the Surge Work?
Why Barack Obama bothers with the likes of loofa-loving Bill O’Reilly is beyond me. Last night, Obama let the blowhard jam him on the subject of the surge. If you haven’t noticed, the surge is the right’s new holy grail. Not the real war in Iraq, mind you, or its increasingly likely outcome--but just the surge. The McCains and O’Reillys want everyone--particularly war critics--to admit that “the surge worked.”
This sort of fetish is hardly novel. There are militarists among us who claim that the U.S. won the Vietnam War. Never mind that our enemy chased us out, beat our puppet army, took over the country and have been running it for three decades. Forget that. These guys can prove to you that the American military won every battle. And that means we won the war.
In recent weeks, our chosen prime minister of Iraq and the great majority of their parliament has given us notice that they want to see the backs of our soldiery asap. Their demand is backed by innumerable polls in which great majorities of Iraqis say exactly the same thing: Yankees Go Home!
If you look at the politics of the situation, Iraq has every reason to extricate itself from the clutches of the American empire and go about its potentially fabulously lucrative business on its own. Its politicians have been maneuvering to do exactly that while their single-minded U.S. patrons have been concentrating on killing as many Iraqis as they can before they kill each other. (See my July 22 blog, “Iraq Going, Going, Gone”).
But that’s Greek (not to say Arabic) to O’Reilly, McCain and company. They simply want celebration of the surge and acclamation of our forthcoming “victory” in Iraq. What’s actually happening in the country is Halliburton and Chevron’s problem.
There’s a purported John Stuart Mill quote floating around the net to the effect that not all stupidos are conservatives, but that most conservatives are stupidos. The “surge” stricture adds to the evidence.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Putting A Stop to Sin

Putting a Stop to Sin
Sin has been trouble since creation time. Whether original, copycat, mortal or venial, it harms some people and makes others feel funny. In all modesty, I have come up with a way to eliminate sin. It’s simple and surefire but, for the nonce, works only in the United States.
As a sentient citizen, you've surely noticed that among their other duties, conservatives keep the books on sin in our land. They’re the ones who alert us to the wages of wankerism, the slough of sodomy, the anguish of adultery, the sordidness of spouseless sex, the snagged zippers of the tearoom trade.
Without our conservatives and their mind meld with God, few of us would know the difference between a venial peccato and a veal piccata. That’s why they are key to my plan to stop sin.
Let’s start with the case of Bristol Palin, the purportedly pregnant 17-year-old daughter of conservative vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. It has been announced that Bristol committed the common sin of fornication punishable by the standard second death in a lake of fire and brimstone.
You would think this a routine matter for our conservative brethren. But, presumably with word from on high, they are carefully avoiding any mention, let alone any penalty, for Bristol’s bad. Instead, they’re sympathetically characterizing her as an expectant teen cheerfully planning her coming military wedding (crossed shotguns) amid the joy of her loving family.
Indeed, they acclaim the Palins as a model of conservative family values, with dad bringing home the moose bacon and mom never too busy governing Alaska and running for the second highest office in the land to dote on her five children. In other words, there’s not sin but salvation in this supposed scandal.
As I recall, neither was any scarlet stain attached to the widely publicized peccadillos of conservatives Sen. Larry “Wide Stance” Craig, Rev. Ted Haggard, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and Congressmen Mark Foley, Vito Fossella and Don Sherwood, among numerous others prominent in the rightwing firmament.
In each case forbearance, forgiveness and forgetfulness were advised in place of His wrath. Thus sin was replaced by indulgence and therefore diminished, so to speak.
So, if we all become conservatives, and influential ones at that, we will be granted automatic excuses for each of our errors. Our country will become indulgence rich and sin poor. Without sin to preach about, churches could concentrate on prayer for profit, building drives, religious rock and bingo. What more could you ask for in a free market economy?