February 13, 2008 - February 6, 2008
. God, how I
love this book cover. The sharp knowing eyes. The wry knowing smile.
The dark suit that is somehow an all-encompassing foreground and background. The grandiloquent,
allusive title that is nevertheless dwarfed by the name of the author.
It's perfect. How can it not remind us all of MacArthur's West Point
valedictory -- Me, Honor, Country?
Don't know how to break it you, all you boomer, X, Y, and XY generations of the once great nation called the United States. It's over. Today's Drudge item is as perfectly emblematic as the cover:
Boo. Hoo. He was the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency of the
United States of America. And we're supposed to feel sorry for him because he once made
a remark that became symbolic of the failure of his entire organization
to do its job for the people he was sworn to serve? Is there anyone out
there who believes that the thousands of anonymous intelligence
operatives who risked death and torture for their country in the
certain knowledge that their contributions and sufferings would never
be known by the public are somehow honored by this kind of narcissistic
self pity from the director of the
CIA? If a CIA agent is trained to die without any hope of rescue
or recognition, why in hell should a CIA director complain if his own
reputation is tarnished in the prosecution of American foreign policy
as the duly elected president conceives it?
But he's far from the only one. There has been a constant stream of subversive, self-aggrandizing books by those whose whole power to serve the U.S. government resided in their capacity to listen and speak honestly to the President, whose confidence in their input rested largely on the knowledge that candid conversations about matters of state would not be spilled into the public trough.
Thanks to the likes of George Tenet, Colin Powell, David Frum, Richard Clarke, and God only knows how many other narcissistic crybabies, it will never again be possible for a president of the United States to converse with advisers without contemplating the self-serving books they will write, and publish, while he (or she) is still in office.
Sorry. I can't forget what everyone else -- and I do mean everyone -- has forgotten. The United States of America is the most powerful and benevolent nation the world has ever seen. The decisions that have to be made on behalf of our own ctizens and the world are frequently difficult, complex, morally contradictory, and nearly impossible to make. The leadership of no other nation in history has ever voluntarily confronted the murderous intentions of its rivals without permitting itself the option of annihilating them by any means possible. Thus, the much pilloried Bush adminsitration has continuously faced a situation without precedent in human history -- fanatical, mortal enemies bent on the destruction of the nation they serve, enemies who could be reduced to ash in approximately 60 minutes without significant risk of retaliation, but who will not be exterminated because we choose not to do so for moral reasons.
The question that must be asked is why this heroic moral choice should lead to the end of the most basic principles of loyalty, honor, and integrity by those who have been so privileged as to participate in the experiment.
The answer is apocalyptic. Such lofty expressions of merciful intent lead inevitably to the lowest, most venal reactions by those who detect the weakness inherent in mercy. They know they can get away with personal treachery to further their own interests.
George W. Bush's real weakness is that he is not Hitler, Napoleon, Stalin, Saddam, Castro, or Pol Pot. That he is far more like Portia than Caesar is a promise of doom. In the days of Octavian, Powell, Tenet, Clarke, and Frum would never have lived to write their whining memoirs about their superiority to those from whom they took their orders. And the citizens of the Republic would have been safer abroad as a result. But there will be no American Augustus to lay the groundwork for a second American Century. There will be, however, (count on it) an American Cleopatra, Tiberius, Caligula, and Nero, and an inevitable sacking of the capital of the world.
Rejoice, all you nihilists. Your fondest, deepest wish, the slashing of your self-hating throats by oppressed barabarians, is one step closer than it was yesterday. Happy?
Sure you are. It's called thanatos. The only spiritual abstraction you can imagine...
Enjoy the ride, everyone. It will, of course, be televised. Cool.
Is anyone else tired of celebrities who insist the rest of us should
live like cavemen while they continue to sport around the world in
Gulfstream jets and hundred-foot yachts? Yesterday's proposal by Sheryl
Crow that we common folk should confine ourselves to a single square of
toilet paper was obviously ridiculous. Yet it proves why Global Warming
is such a perfect cause for idiot liberals. They love it to death
because they're convinced nothing can really be done about it, which
means that pious speeches and token gestures are all that's required to
demonstrate absolue moral superiority over the proles.
The Kyoto Treaty they claim to want wouldn't do a damned thing to undo the catastrophe they predict for Global Warming -- except (further) beggar the Third World and plunge the civilized world into permanent economic depression. It's pretty safe to say no one is going to permit that eventuality to happen, which enables the speechifying enviro-nazis to go on shaking their heads and looking down on all the dimwits who don't buy their vision of paradise. Wouldn't it be great if there were something that really could be done, something that would force the talkers to put up or shut up?
Yeah, but there really isn't anything to be done. If the earth is warming, there's no practical way to slash CO2 emissions to any significant degree. The talkers have total license to keep on talking and trying to make the rest of us feel small. Sheryl Crow is free to pretend that a goddess like herself doesn't need more than a single square of paper to police her butt, while us lowlier apelike humans need a handful. Point made. Perfect celebrity posturing.
Or maybe not. What if there really was something that could be done to slash CO2 emissions? Something more substantive than walking around smelling like feces. Something us Great Unwashed are better equipped to do than pansy liberals. How would that go down among the self-congratulating illuminati?
The good news: there is such a thing.
It's generally the oddest items of trivia that open up whole new boulevards of thought. I followed an InstaPundit link one day last week about some current political tiff and accidentally scrolled past the referenced item to the following intriguing sentence:
The source is Mickey Kaus, who's a thoughtful and reasonable
commentator, delicately poised in the middle of the road for the
purpose of taking down the absurdities of both the extreme left and the
extreme right. The quoted sentence is a perfect
microcosm of his overall demeanor. Esthetically, he really is a
liberal. He enjoys debating his lefty professor pal Robert Wright
is so damned smart and, well, superior to the oafs of the right. Kaus
probably goes to foreign film festivals for fun, and though he
disapproves of French political treacheries, he would most likely feel
more at home in Paris than in Biloxi, Mississippi. I don't know any of
this for a fact, and so I'm being hideously unfair, but if I had to
pick the car he drives, I'd guess a Volvo.
Why am I being so unfair? That opening statement: "I don't like motorcycles." Wow. Not, "I'm afraid to ride a motorcycle," or "I think motorcycles are unsafe at any speed," or "I find motorcycles on the highway to be loud, unsettling, and annoying." No. We have a pure value judgment here, which is actually equated with his disapproval of any firms that would use the name "confederate." Which means that it's an ideological thing, a class thing, an us vs. them thing. He probably feels the same way about tattoos.
But there's also good stuff in Mickey Kaus. He has that old-timey liberal open-mindedness which allows him to appreciate an attractive, if alien, alternative esthetic. If he did like motorcycles, he would like the one shown at the beginning of this entry. It's called the Wraith, and it's manufactured by the Confederate Motor Company. If he'd looked at the CMC site, he'd have discovered that the company's marketing makes no use whatever of the Confederate flag. Even their tee-shirts are beautifully understated.
. Yeah, it's a bad feeling, knowing that Global Warming is
going to drown New York and San Francisco and all the best concert
venues. The consequences are dire. At the very least it would mean
rewriting the list of terms,
conditions, and perks the band would have to extort expect from
promoters and producers. Think how much more complicated this
clause would get:
God, you've have to specify flying boats, barges, launches, and a cabin
cruiser, at a minimum. What's a girl to do?
That's why we understand her natural inclination to make suggestions. But we can't help observing that she's thinking a bit small. No matter how you perforate slice it, her toilet paper suggestion isn't going to save the concert-going public from inundation by the melting of the polar icecaps. It wouldn't even shift the balance if she issued the Luddite decree that ALL the mallrats of the western hemisphere revert to the fresh corncob solution of the 19th century (strangely practical when you figure in the fact that the Third World will no longer have access to corn for food when it's all being used for ethanol), or that women abandon disposable paper products for the re-usable cotton towels that marked the high point of Roman female hygiene.
But it was the best she could do. The amount of brainpower required to write three-chord rock and rhyming iambic lyrics is not the same as that required for saving the embattled earth from the sickening depredations of post-Neanderthal primates.
Rescue is on the way. We know what to do. And if these additional shots of Sheryl are any indication, she just might jump onto our admittedly narrow bandwagon. Tomorrow.
She might turn out to be one
of the survivors. Unless... well, tune in tomorrow.