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Monday, June 20, 2005

Your Meritocracy at Work 

1.) Our august colleague Chris Floyd of Empire Burlesque on the recent appointment of Robert G. Joseph as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs, the position formerly held by John Bolton:
Joseph has been a key player in the "nuke 'em all and let God sort 'em out" school of international diplomacy since his early minioning days in the diseased bowels of the Reagan administration. He came into his own after the Crawford clownmaster seized power in 2000, serving as a "special assistant" to the president, in charge of destroying the ABM treaty, that 30-year bulwark against nuclear conflict. He was also instrumental in fashioning Bush's maniacal "Nuclear Posture Review," which calls for the production of "low-yield, precision-guided nuclear weapons" that can actually be used in combat, or in "pre-emptive" strikes at, well, basically anybody the president decides might pose a vague threat against "American interests" somewhere down the line.

But increasing the risk of global nuclear annihilation is not enough for jolly old Joseph; he also has a fondness for biological and chemical weapons. Along with nukes, they make up a Holy Trinity of WMD that "have substantial utility" in the "international environment," he writes. And he doesn't just want user-friendly WMD to be "a permanent feature" of life on earth; he's keen on militarizing the heavens as well – pre-emptively and unilaterally, natch. And it goes without saying that he opposes any attempts to place limits on American testing and deployment of mass-death weapons.

That's "arms control," Bush-style, for you: a perfect joke. Yet Joseph's merry pranks don't stop there; he was also responsible for pushing one of the many big lies – sorry, funny stories – in Bush's pre-invasion propaganda blitzkrieg: the pure hokum about Saddam's non-existent search for African uranium to fuel his non-existent nuclear program. As with so many others, Joseph's egregious intelligence "failure" has been rewarded with honors and promotion. Because of course it was no failure at all; it was a well-played pantomime, faithfully following the script of Bush's war-crimes comedy.
2.) Our exalted collague Roger A. Gathman of Limited, Inc., on the rumored promotion of Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, lately of Abu Ghraib, to head of the U.S. Southern Command, overseeing American military operations in Latin America:
There is the American dream and there is the dirty American dream. The latter has been generally maintained by subaltern torturers and Fort Benning alumni in Central and Latin America. So we find it entirely appropriate that Rumsfeld is considering moving General Ricardo Sanchez to the command of the American army’s Latin division. Sanchez’s wonderfully innovative practices in the fields of German Shepherd unleashing, heart attack induction, and forced orgies has, after all, made Abu Ghraib a byword of America’s solidarity with the freedom lovin' people of Iraq. And the Bush administration’s management strategy of promoting those who’ve done the most damage to America’s interests and prestige to ever higher posts made Sanchez’s promotion almost inevitable.

Latin America has been stirring beneath the American dirty dream. This must worry the Bush people – this is a white house staffed, after all, with men and women who, in the eighties, rubbed epaulets with Ollie North and various contra drug dealers in the crusade against New World Communism. Others from that crusade – the editorial writers at the Washington Post, for example – have been openly fretting about Bolivia. The blood-in- our-mouth editorial in the WP today, with its distinct threat that the U.S. should support the separation of the Eastern province in Bolivia (where the gas is) if the Indians there get too uppity, and its casting of Evo Morales as the next Latin American matinee terrorist, after Chavez, is evidence that the old and vile boys on the Potomac are wondering what is up with Bush’s hardliners – too distracted by Iraq to manipulate a few Bolivian generals into whipping up a corrective massacre or two, it looks like.
AS LONG AS YOU'RE THERE: Read Floyd on the previous round of U.K. government documents leaked in September 2004, almost eight months before the Downing Street memo --
This time it was a tranche of leaked documents from March 2002, a full year before the war: reports to Tony Blair from his top advisors, stating plainly that the intelligence about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was unsubstantiated, that there was no connection between Saddam and al Qaeda, that there was no legal justification for invading the country, and that any such invasion would lead to years of bloody, chaotic occupation, the Daily Telegraph (an arch-conservative, pro-war paper) reports . . . .

The public record, available to anyone who wants the truth, is undeniable: the war was waged on false pretenses – and the war leaders knew it. They knew it would bring unimaginable death and suffering to multitudes of innocent people in Iraq – and to thousands of their own soldiers and civilians as well. They knew it would lead to more terrorism, more chaos, more insecurity in the world. Yet they plunged ahead anyway, deliberately deceiving their own people with a poison cloud of lies, exaggeration and bluster. Why? Because for the warmongers, the game was worth the candle: the loot, the power, the "dominance" to be won was an irresistible temptation.
-- and Gathman on the real anti-war movement:
While the anti-war movement in this country has either hibernated as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party, suffering the curious death from asphyxiation that befalls mammals who spend too much time with their heads up their assholes – or rallied its invite only, vegan lefty undergrad troops to acts of high, symbolic impotence – the real antiwar movement has been beautifully self organizing in the burbs and the highlands. It consists of parents who don’t want to sacrifice their children for the mad vanity project of a bunch of D.C. eggheads. Ah, every once in a while LI does feel the distant intimation of … well, let’s admit it, patriotism … when we witness such things as the undeclared general strike against the project that was imposed on us by the Weekly Standard crowd and their Pentagon companeros. While the Rubicon that divides the noble lie from the pathological one is so easily jumped in D.C. that the noble liars don’t even give it a second thought, the consequences outside of D.C. – the abasement of American prestige, the skewing of American self interest into a dead end filled with alien corpses, the impoverishment of American culture, the elevation to power of the greatest single collection of educated morons since Mcnamara started flowsheeting kill-to-hill ratios in the War room – is nevertheless felt, as it were, in the very air and water.

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