To the Serious™, the Trolls, and the Kabuki Performers: A Rant

by matttbastard

A real moment of clarity: if basic infrastructure can be maintained (such as having electricity for longer than 4 hours a day); if security can be improved enough to not only stem the ongoing displacement of the educated classes (you know, the ones who can help maintain said basic infrastructure) but allow the return of the over 4 million refugees who have already been been forced to flee the chaos (fat chance); if the public starts to trust the authorities enough to reintegrate formerly mixed neighbourhoods and quit placing their loyalties behind sectarian militias (most of which have infiltrated various levels of government); maybe if we can somehow magically establish a viable, independent, secular-nationalist parliament that actually works, equally represents and unites said disparate sectarian interests; perhaps if we could invent a time machine and NOT de-Baathify the nation, which immediately created a still-swirling power vortex; then maybe-MAYBE-we can call this whole bloody endeavour a write off.

But a ‘win’? A ‘success’? With the blood of umpteen hundred thousand corpses staining our hands? Fuck you and the horse you rode in on (to say nothing of horseman #4). And fuck your crass, callous attempts at selective partisan point scoring. I don’t give a good god damn about ‘nutroots’ and ‘left wing media conspiracies’; I care about flesh and blood people who have had their lives uprooted, have died and continue to die because the ideological industrial complex decided to abuse its authority and misuse Iraq as a geopolitical petri dish.

So don’t try to tell me that half-assed PR stunts like the Kagan ‘surge’ or selective-but-ultimately-meaningless number crunching of coalition/civilian casualties (which always cycle seasonally – come back to me when Ramadan hits and then maybe IF numbers are still down there’ll be something to be cautiously optimistic about) designed purely for domestic consumption are meant to do anything more than allow for another Friedman Unit. If Bush was actually serious about doing what was best for Iraq and the surrounding region, he would have immediately adopted the (not at all perfect, but sure as hell better than any other alternative at such a late point in time) ISG recommendations, which could have maybe–maybe–stopped some of the bleeding. Instead, he went with the AEI’s preferred victory blueprint (and his ego).

Surprise, surprise.

So now Bush is merely buying time until Jan ‘09, when Iraq will be someone else’s problem, and both the MSM and the Democratic-controlled Congress are enabling it with the same old Kabuki performance they always do. Shit, Warner’s even furrowing his brow yet again. And I’m willing to bet an F.U.’s worth of wages that he’ll vote the party line, again, too.

The sheets have been soiled, blood and shit stains already well-set as soon as the bombs started shocking and aweing. 4 years later, you can illuminate the mess with a ray of hope, but that doesn’t clean it up. The bed will not be unshat, no matter how many pretty graphs are compiled and commissioned think tank op-eds are published.

Feel free to dismiss the preceding rant as defeat-o-crat moonbattery (free Mumia! Bu$hitler! etc). Doing so won’t make Iraq any less a failed state, nor will any other 26% solutions.

adapted from a comment left at Comments From Left Field

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Still Censored

by matttbastard

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We as a city and a region have been censored. We’re cut out of the news and the public consciousness, not by way of any sinister cabal so much as for the fact that we’re no longer interesting. Disasters are interesting when CNN can show pictures of old ladies dying in wheelchairs in the heat and looters carting big-screen TVs out of Wal-Mart. They’re not so interesting months later, when there’s nothing to look at but rotting hulks of houses and people living in FEMA trailers or tents on their slabs because the insurance hasn’t paid out yet. We as a city and a region are in danger of being banned by further federal neglect and incompetence, by our own political blundering, by the departure of our talent, and by the indifference of our former countrymen and women. I say former because I am no longer sure whether New Orleans is part of America or whether my government considers me a full citizen worthy of its protection.

  • NOLA-based author Poppy Z. Brite, from a 2006 speech given at a Banned Books Week event.

“The mentality that people can wait around indefinitely for the federal taxpayer to solve all their worldly problems has got to come to an end.”

  • GOP Presidential candidate Rep. Tom Tancredo (Colo.), calling for an end to federal aid for unworthy former citizens Katrina victims (as quoted by The Hill, 08.31.07).

Via Libby Spencer.

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The Birth of ‘Pubic Diplomacy’ (h/t John H. Brown)

by matttbastard

Hearts and minds? Fuck that noise – an Israeli porn site has figured out that it’s all about touching Arab libidos:

According to a recent report in Daily Variety, when executives at Ratuv installed software that could track where their users were logging in, they found that the site was getting thousands of hits a week from such countries as Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq, even though some of these governments block the “.il” domain address on Israeli websites. So Ratuv responded by translating the entire site into Arabic, and traffic quickly skyrocketed.

What makes this more than a tale of clever entrepreneurs making a buck off Middle Eastern sexual repression is that Ratuv isn’t an ordinary porn site. It’s a clearinghouse of political parody porn, making fun of Israeli affairs such as sex scandals and often featuring Mossad agents or army soldiers getting out of uniform, thus providing a view of the Israeli military seldom seen in the Arab world. The next step, says Ratuv’s manager, is to make movies with Israelis and Arabs performing together, in order to foster more intimate relations between the two peoples.

[…]

Expecting Arab men to be swayed by Ratuv’s political content might be a little like expecting American men to read the articles in Playboy, but the site can’t be any less effective in changing public opinion than U.S. media efforts to date. After pouring millions into the Al Iraqiya TV station to create an unbiased news outlet in Iraq, the U.S. handed the channel to the Iraqi government, and it soon became a Shiite propaganda arm for blasting Sunnis and coalition forces. Our Arabic-language satellite TV network, Al Hurra, is thought to attract only a fraction of the viewers of Al Jazeera.

Heh, indeed. But lest you think this is all just a modest proposal, John H. Brown has much, much more on other recent overtly sexual (and sexist) diplomatic endeavours.

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Quote of the Day: Cry Me A River

by matttbastard

“…I’ve got God’s shoulder to cry on, and I cry a lot. I do a lot of crying in this job. I’ll bet I’ve shed more tears than you can count as president.

George W. Bush, from an interview with author Robert Draper (courtesy NY Times)

No comment.

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