Saturday, May 19, 2007

A New Deck Chair For the Titanic

I can’t help it. It’s the poet in me. While I no longer write poetry and verse, the old instincts remain intact and I’m still sensitive to rhymes. And I could make a case that George W. Bush is just courting satire from other rhyme-sensitive wags by nominating as our first war czar a guy whose name rhymes with “dug loot.”

It’s a phrase that, in light of the revelations in Life in the Emerald City, flawlessly captures the overarching and ultimate rationale for invading and endlessly occupying Iraq.

But that would be a cheap pun on which to base an entire post, something that would be momentarily amusing but a joke that would quickly overstay its welcome. We could also focus on the three star general’s name bringing to classically-trained minds the favored instrument of Pan, the man-goat god of shepherds and flocks.

However, Bush is hardly known for his competence in presiding over the safe passage of shepherds and flocks, isn’t known (thankfully) for his sensuality and, while he’s infamous for arousing panic with his magic lute, isn’t exactly renowned for also inspiring lust or inspiration. And how could Pan/Bush be the man-goat when the lute, General Lute, that is, is really the intended pet goat?

So let’s focus instead on the literal significance of Bush’s nomination:

Substitute the word “profit” for “power” and Bierce’s wonderful definition for “corporation” becomes the perfect descriptor of our current neoconservative government.

Whereas the buck famously stopped at Harry Truman’s desk, responsibility is diffused in our outsized federal government. The buck’s passed around so many times it eventually disintegrates. Iraq, Walter Reed and the post-Katrina Gulf coast have shown us but mere glimpses of the ugliest side of privatization and the complete lack of accountability upon which all parties depend.

And our little, sawed-off god with light responsibilities is setting up a sacrificial goat, a “pet goat”, if you will, by creating a war czar post that traditionally would be held by a “war president” and/or the Secretary of Defense (formerly Secretary of War). Therefore, some questions must be asked by America at large and the Senate Armed Services Committee as they convene to treat this proposed redundant post that was rejected by over a half a dozen generals who had no intention of walking into the lion’s den as if it was sane and rational:

If there must be a war czar, why did Bush have to settle for a three star general? Will he outrank David Petraeus, another three star general who was suddenly lifted up from relative obscurity to be the King of the Green Zone and hastily promoted to four star general?

Doesn’t the Pentagon have any full generals who would be more qualified to hold down and competently carry out the nebular duties of this still-undeveloped position?

Why nominate a guy who’s had one brief command in his life and is basically, like Robert Gates, a career second banana?

And what’s the sense in appointing a war czar who’s going to be directly answerable to a commander in chief who’s pathologically obsessed with not only maintaining the status quo in Iraq but making it even more untenable with his ever larger surge?

Bush, typically, will fall into his usual, “Let’s get this the fuck out of committee ’cuz it’s only a formality, anyway, and rubberstamp this nomination ’cuz I know what’s best” rhetoric. And, being the semi-senators that they are they will of course confirm Lute out of desperation to outsource even more of this war’s responsibilities out of the butter fingers of Daddy who knows best.

Which is why Gates was confirmed by all but two senators. Desperation to dump Rumsfeld.

Conveniently forgotten will be the glaringly obvious fact that if Daddy in fact did know best, we wouldn’t be further bloating the size of government, further diffusing responsibility and further tinkering with a war that has long since given up the ghost and has moved on without us.

Conveniently forgotten, also, will be the massive precedent of the quality of Bush’s other nominees like Miers, Alito and Roberts. Joseph Allbaugh then his college roommate Michael Brown. Janice Rogers Brown and Priscilla Owen. Condi, Rummy and Gonzo, people who’ve given America more buyer’s remorse than tobacco, the Edsel and New Coke combined.

Conveniently lost on the committee, too, as well as on the entire Senate as they will have to act as if this nomination, this manufactured federal war lord post, as if it’s perfectly reasonable, is that this is just another Bush outsourcing- It’s yet another attempt at diffusing responsibility like the stench of a rotting body in the winds of Katrina.
(Crossposted at Big Brass Blog and Welcome to Pottersville.)