The Failed Rhetoric of a Failed Adminstration on a Failed War:
Here's something that President Bush needs to know: he's lost the Rude Pundit's brother. When the Rude Pundit visited his family in red state America for the last week, one of the first conversations he had was with his older brother. Rude Bro, a recovering dittohead, told the Rude Pundit that John Kerry wasn't worth his vote and that when the Rude Pundit was trying to convince him to vote for Kerry, he saw dancing monkeys in his head, which, if you think about it, is pretty much what most of red state America saw. "That's okay," the Rude Pundit said. "Just hope you don't have one of those dark nights of the soul when you wake up just before your daughter's drafted and wonder, 'What the hell have I done?'" The problem would be that Rude Bro's 16 year-old daughter was sitting right there. And the idea of being drafted freaked her. Big time. Especially since she has a cousin that's fightin' over in Baghdad.
Later, Rude Bro, who's about as kickass a Dad as any kid could want, said that he doesn't support the war anymore. Who knows what did it: the WMDs, the death, the accumulation of lies and deceit and blood into a stew of confusion. Either way, though, Rude Bro was not gonna study war no more and, at least on this issue the President's lost a former supporter. Oh, and Rude Niece was still freaked about the draft. "Well, maybe she should be," said the Rude Pundit. Still and all, the Rude Pundit later assured his niece that "there's not gonna be a draft - if there was, there'd be riots in the streets."
When Bush spoke on Tuesday, he was trying, desperately, to get back in the good graces of people like Rude Bro. Unfortunately, what he declared was that the United States (or the "coalition") has transformed Iraq from a relatively stable, if insane and murderous, dictatorship to a battle-scarred, body-part strewn shitstorm of a terrorist magnet, using American soldiers as bait and Iraqis as pawns: "Some wonder whether Iraq is a central front in the war on terror. Among the terrorists, there is no debate. Hear the words of Osama Bin Laden: 'This Third World War is raging' in Iraq." It's always nice to allow the terror masterminds to control the rhetoric and define the terms of engagement, no? Later, he said, "We fight today because terrorists want to attack our country and kill our citizens, and Iraq is where they are making their stand." Or, you know, it's cheaper to drive to Iraq than to deal with American airport security.
How many of the soldiers at Fort Bragg, those mighty props that Bush loves to parade about with whenever he wants to make himself look like the biggest hamster in a room of guinea pigs, thought, "Oh, shit, this crazy fucker's gonna get us killed?" Especially since there's now a 1 in 100 chance that, if you come from Fort Bragg and get sent to Iraq or Afghanistan, you're gonna die.
See, despite what Karl Rove and other powermad munchkins say, most Americans wanted to kick some terrorist ass after 9/11. Get in, blow some shit up, get out, and have a big fuckin' party back home. Who the fuck cared where, really - for, surely, when you fuck with the biggest dog, someone's gettin' bit. And Rove and Bush and the rest took advantage. Most war supporters didn't sign up for World War III, to transform the hearts and minds and culture and tribes and history of a region of the world in a strange, messianic attempt to rid the world of eeeevil. The reaction against the war is the reaction not just to mounting casualties and costs: it's the reaction of parents whose teenage son said he'd be back by midnight and now it's five a.m. and Mom's worried and Dad's pissed and that little motherfucker's grounded.
Or, at a basic level, as so many have pointed out, we were fuckin' told six months, tops, and now we're told over a decade, and even then Americans won't get to have the victory party.
So how can we do anything but laugh, not feeling the call to arms by the President when he says, "We live in freedom because every generation has produced patriots willing to serve a cause greater than themselves. Those who serve today are taking their rightful place among the greatest generations that have worn our nation's uniform. When the history of this period is written, the liberation of Afghanistan and the liberation of Iraq will be remembered as great turning points in the story of freedom." Most Americans didn't want to turn history: they just wanted to feel safe. And those who support the war? Fuckin' answer your President's call, bitches.
Like the vast, vast majority of the nation, Rude Bro didn't watch Bush's pathetic, quiet exercise in tilting at windmills. Not through any conscious decision or not. But, certainly, and truly, he didn't care enough to make the time anymore. There's errands to be run, family to visit, kids to care for, things that really do matter in the long run.