Admittedly my anthropology is a little rusty, class, but I remember quite clearly that many other primitive countries had kingship rituals too. In some cases the new ruler had to prevail in hand-to-hand combat; in others, impregnate a virgin.
Our current circumcision ritual is, as we know, bombing Iraq. George W. Bush, selected president, put on the sacred robes and proudly waved his tiny dick last Friday, as Our Glorious Planes flattened, it was said, either “five command and control stations,” or “20 enemy radars.” Next week we may learn we really took out an elementary school and a drug store, but, hey. They had it coming, and this is war — except when we say it’s not.
Some few innocent Iraqi civilians died, apparently including an 18-year-old girl. Dubya, one-time air ace of the Texas National Guard, beamed, happy in the knowledge he had both pleased and imitated Daddy. Those not as dim as our prexy knew Saddam, who indeed is an authentically vicious pig, was most likely even happier.
Washington is, after all, his best friend. We’ve kept this murderous wretch propped up and in power for nearly a decade now, by blasting away at him every time the president du jour’s poll numbers were slipping or it was a boring afternoon in the Oval Office.
Think about it: From time to time we whack Iraq, all the while keeping the country crippled by a murderous regime of “sanctions.” These do nothing to weaken Saddam or make him miss a meal or weapons shipment, but have caused hundreds of thousands of people, lots of them children, to die from malnutrition, disease and a shortage of medicine.
This is a nation half the size of California, by the way, with 22 million mostly very poor people. Officially, we are committing these atrocities in order to encourage Iraqis to depose their horrid leader. Even those masterminding that policy long ago admitted it was a failure. Naturally, as any psychologist could have predicted, they are causing people to rally round the old bastard instead. That’s what happens every time — in the Soviet Union, for example, when the nation was attacked by the Nazis, and in North Vietnam, when we bombed ‘em to smithereens, stiffening their resistance with each blast.
Not even our military leaders are so stupid as not to understand that. So what’s really happening? Deny it all they like, our government very much loves having Saddam there as a Bad Guy. He’s just sufficiently big enough and has a military just sufficiently large enough that we can pretend he is a real “threat.” (Grenada just doesn’t cut it.)
But he is too small to offer seriously scary opposition. So whenever the poll numbers need boosting or new missiles need testing, the president of the day can find some excuse to bomb Baghdad. Incidentally, do you know what the evil butcher did this time to justify our sneak attack? They turned their radar on to track our planes which were flying routine ‘patrol’ (read: provoking) flights over their own country.
According to our rules, they aren’t supposed to do that. Ten years after the Gulf War, we still, in a clear violation of Iraqi sovereignty, refuse to allow their military to fly over large parts of their nation, the stupid-sounding so-called “no-fly zones.”
This is a legacy of George Bush I, who after calling Saddam worse than Hitler, refused to overthrow him at the end of the war. Instead, we’ve imposed inhuman sanctions about as bad as what the Treaty of Versailles did to Germany, with a likely similar result.
Someday — sooner, hopefully, rather than later — this atrocity is bound to be seen for what it is. This is happening now in other countries, most of which have no love for Saddam. Baby Bush’s attack brought far more authentically angry worldwide response than previous Saddam strikes have. We are losing the famous battle for hearts and minds throughout the Arab crescent and the developing world.
Not to mention Russia, and China. Now even France, which once flew patrol missions with us in the no-fly zone, said it couldn’t understand what the hell we were thinking, or why. We will pay for this too, sometime weeks or months down the line, when revenge is exacted by another terrorist attack on unwary Americans.
Yet for the moment, our new pseudo-president is Looking Big. Yippie.
Submarine sandwich: You really couldn’t make this stuff up. Imagine: The crew of a nuclear attack sub puts some joyriding civilians at the controls and jumps right up to the surface and through the hull of a Japanese ship teaching kids how to fish.
Nine die. Our military has been progressing through the normal Nixonian charades of misleading and contradictory information, stonewalling, reluctant admission. Though no one has yet hinted that the sub was being driven by a Honolulu bar girl named Fifi, would that especially surprise anybody?
This is the same military, remember, the nonelected president says was so brutally abused and deprived and strapped for cash by the Clinton administration. Now, we have an opportunity to make amends and prove those Japanese children didn’t die in vain. The president must order all U.S. subs to install external air bags, now.
Once again, we’ve had to relearn that today’s military demands large bags of gas. I think it safe to say we’ll see it reinflated repeatedly, and soon. I also never thought we’d ever be nostalgic for Monica Lewinsky. But it is now clear we will be, and soon.Jack Lessenberry opines weekly for the Metro Times. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org