You had to love the President’s “Thanksgiving surprise” trip to Iraq, which is being billed by the nation’s lapdog media as the most brilliant success since The Phantom of the Opera, the Bill of Rights, and possibly the evolution of the opposable thumb.
What it really added up to was, of course, a tacit admission that we are losing the war. We are losing a war we started, and which Our Leader proclaimed we had already won seven months ago.
“In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed,” he boasted in May, after risking lives by insisting on riding by plane to an aircraft carrier.
Tell that to the 70-some American troops who were killed in November. Sorry, bro’. We have been lied to since this war started. We have been lied to about the reasons for going to war, about the nature of the enemy, and about the nature of our “victory.” And the chickens are starting to come home to roost, big-time.
Remember back in the spring, when Dandy Don Rumsfeld, our offensive, blustering secretary of defense, got angry at the press for saying what was going on was a guerrilla war? Even the Pentagon now admits there are at least 5,000 guerrilla warriors out there. They rise up, attack, and melt back into the civilian population. Their numbers seem to be increasing, and they seem to be getting stronger and bolder. What is clear is that this will get worse. “Cracking down” won’t help, and we aren’t going to be able to stop it.
Look at the humiliating nature of the great presidential visit itself. Bush slunk into Baghdad like a burglar in the middle of the night, scared out of his briefs lest the Iraqi people (who we are daily told love us so much) might find out he was there. Air Force One even landed with its lights off.
Seven months after his cocky statement that “major combat operations in Iraq have ended,” what do you suppose Dubya’s first words to the press were after he had escaped alive from our so-called liberated puppet state?
“I was fully prepared to turn this baby around, come home,” he said, if news of his mission had leaked. Not much chance of that; the reporters along for the ride weren’t allowed to tell where they were going and had their cell phone batteries confiscated.
Big, tough and confident indeed. This isn’t Vietnam; it is worse than Vietnam. Old Lyndon Johnson used to appear at Cam Ranh Bay and other military bases and address the troops. George Bush appeared in one heavily guarded indoor facility for two-and-a-half hours and had a bit of that old nervous deer-in-the-headlights look about him.
Well, it’s your conquered province, Georgie Boy. And we’re paying for it; our latest mortgage payment, the part they admit to, was $87 billion. And the lord and master can’t even stop by in broad daylight. Don’t you wonder how this will turn out? Don’t you really sort of know?
When the Thanksgiving company weren’t talking about George Bush, they were more than likely talking about Michael Jackson, assumed pederast. Last week I wrote a column in which I praised the ACLU for having had the guts to “defend” a group called NAMBLA, the North American Man-Boy Love Association.
That was a hard column for me to write, since our society’s growing penchant for the notion of treating prepubescent children as sex objects is especially sickening. The ACLU is, in fact, not really defending NAMBLA, but the very important principle that an organization shouldn’t be blamed for the criminal acts of a depraved individual.
Yet the problem isn’t that group, which is easy to lampoon. It is how we all regard children. I have no idea whether Jon-Benet Ramsey was killed by her parents, but under my dictatorship they would be shot on general principles for having paraded their 5-year-old in “beauty contests” in which they dressed her like a baby hooker.
Michael Jackson seems to be a deeply troubled person, judging solely from his rapidly disintegrating face. He also has troubling and well-publicized notions about the appropriateness of allowing children to share a bed with adults, etc.
In any event, we will now have another grossly prurient show trial, and the population will thrill over many marvelous clinical terms for sexual acts. Again, Michael Jackson is not the real problem at all, though again, parents who allowed their children to sleep over at Neverland ranch ought to be placed in the wheel wells of Air Force One.
The other day I had breakfast with Cheryl Matthews, an assistant prosecutor in Oakland County who heads the child sexual assault unit. I asked her whether the media had exaggerated the problem; if anything, she told me, it was underreported.
“What is very common is for upper-class men to prey upon children from poorer backgrounds,” she told me.
Matthews, who intends to run for family court judge next year, sees it all. “Digital penetration is very common.” She saw a 4-month-old with gonorrhea. I thought of the children in my life, and asked how anyone could do that.
“They see them as objects, as things,” not as people.
That’s what happens, I realized, in wartime; soldiers always are taught to see the enemy as less than human, as things. But even as you read this, educated adults are using our own children as sex toys.
Matthews had no solution to the problem, other than to try to lock up the child molesters. We don’t seem to have any solution in Iraq either, except the familiar one; to try to make the “objects” who make up most of the world bow to our will. We’ll pay for all this someday, you know, and $87 billion won’t begin to cover it.Jack Lessenberry opines weekly for Metro Times. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org