Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Please Let Me Know If There's Some Other Way We Can Screw Up Tonight...
One of my favorite movies is "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country." The movie, released in 1991, is a parable for the Cold War, which was then coming to a end, with a whimper, rather than a bang, fortunately.
There's a scene in which Star Trek's archetypal hero, James T. Kirk, is hosting a dinner that is the first time humans and Klingons, the archetypal Star Trek villians, are having any kind of diplomatic connections. The dinner is tense and awkward, mitigated only by the serving of illegal, powerful blue Romulan Ale.
As the guests leave, Kirk readies to go to bed, and probably bed spins, leaving with the words 'I'm going to sleep this one off. Please let me know if there's some other way we can screw up tonight."
Reading the newspaper this morning, I wondered if George W. Bush said those very words last night upon hearing of the complete fuck-up of the execution of Saddam Hussein.
For those who missed it, the execution was an almost textbook clusterfuck: Not only was a guard recording it with a cellphone, what was recorded was, as the New York Times put it, an "almost Gothic display of intimidation and death...". Shiite guards and witnesses were allow to taunt and torment Hussein. Not surprisingly, this has infuriated Sunnis in Iraq.
So let me summarize this entire enterprise in brief.
1. Despite the pleadings of various FBI and intelligence agents, reporting, among other things, that there is about to be an enormous terrorist attack involving the flying of airplanes; that there are specific instances of men of Middle Eastern origin taking lessons on how to fly jumbo jets, but specifically saying they don't need to learn how to take off and land; that there is a huge amount of traffic among terrorist communication networks.
2. The 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon and the crash of the airplane in Pennsylvania result in the murder of 2,972 people.
3. The United States invades Afghanistan, a failed state that is full of people the United States trained, who have now turned on the United States. The Taliban and Al Queda suffer serious setbacks, as the United States aids the Northern Alliance in coming to power. This is a rare shinging success in this whole fiasco.
4. George W. Bush stampedes Congress into passing the laughably named Patriot Act, which is meant to curb civil liberties-- allowing law enforcement officials powerful antiterrorist tools such as the ability to see what library books citizens are checking out. Also, the administration begins to capture people allegedly involved with the and holding them, by the measure of most serious legal analysts, illegally. Many were not even involved in terrorism, but since the US held them incommunicado and did not allow even military lawyers to see them, the number is still not clear. In addition, one US citizen, Juan Padilla, is held in bizarre conditions. The fact of the matter is that if various law enforcement and intelligence services had been allowed to do their jobs, it could have all been prevented.
5. The administration vetted information, proscribing information that might contradict the truth-- that Saddam Hussein was no longer, after the 1991 Gulf War, developing weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The CIA had in fact informed the administration of this fact. It is also a well-known fact that the Al Queda is virtually non-existant in Iraq. This does not stop the Bush administration from building up to a war, ignoring Colin Powell's warning that the war was like being in a china shop-- if you break it, you bought it-- that once we invade, we'll be stuck there as long as it takes to form a viable government.
6. Against the advice of many, including the President's own father, former President George Bush, the US invades in March of 2003, easily defeating the Iraqi army with it's "shock and awe" campaign. George W. Bush has himself landed on an aircraft carrier deck off the west coast of the United States behind a banner saying "Mission Accomplished."
7. Almost immediately the whole thing starts unravelling. Sunnis and Shiites start settling old scores. Since the Iraqi military has been disbanded, hapless US soldiers are forced to deal with the situation. The US hastily tries to reconstitute the Iraqi military, but by now, military members and Iraqi policemen are using their positions to support Sunni and Shiite militias that are exacting a huge toll on Iraqi civilians-- 12,000 in the last year. The Al Queda now runs wild all over Iraq.
8. Over 3,000 US soldiers have been killed, surpassing the death toll of 9/11. Many more have suffered horrific injuries to their bodies and brains. More are coming home with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Iraq struggles to form a viable government as it slides into mass chaos and mass murder. Because of the draining of resources from the war in Afghanistan, the Taliban is making a resurgence there. Not even the execution of a known horrible monster like Saddam Hussein went right.
And there is no end in sight.
I wouldn't be surprised if George W. Bush starts drinking again.