A Day For a Thrilling Show:
Today's Independence Day speech by President Bush at Fort Bragg was given to troops he has condemned to death or wounding, with Bush threatening the soldiers with, "I will make you this promise, I'm not going to allow the sacrifice of 2,527 troops who have died in Iraq to be in vain." Bush touted the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, saying, "At this moment of vulnerability for the enemy, we will continue to strike their network. We will disrupt their operations, and we will bring their leaders to justice."

Of course, reality, as ever, is just a motherfucker for the President, especially since the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq just told the BBC that Zarqawi's death hasn't done a whole fuck of a lot to make Iraq safer: "[I]n terms of the level of violence, it has not had any impact at this point."

So, sure, Bush can tell the Fort Bragg troops, "You are serving our country at a time when our country needs you. And because of your courage, every day is Independence Day in America," but we know that it is and it isn't. Independence Day oughta be about freedom and liberty and justice for all and those kinds of niceties of a putative democracy. Instead, it is just an occasion for saber-rattling, the mock explosions of fireworks, and promises of more war for even the unforeseeable future.

The Rude Pundit prefers, as ever, Kurt Vonnegut's take on celebrating war in Cat's Cradle. It's becoming a yearly tradition here, sort of a "Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus" for the rude:

"We are gathered here, friends," he said, "to honor lo Hoon-year Mora-toorz tut Zamoo-cratz-ya, children dead, all dead, all murdered in war. It is customary on days like this to call such lost children men. I am unable to call them men for this simple reason: that in the same war in which lo Hoon-year Mora-toorz tut Zamoo-cratz-ya died, my own son died.

"My soul insists that I mourn not a man but a child.

"I do not say that children at war do not die like men, if they have to die. To their everlasting honor and our everlasting shame, they do die like men, thus making possible the manly jubilation of patriotic holidays.

"But they are murdered children all the same.

"And I propose to you that if we are to pay our sincere respects to the hundred lost children of San Lorenzo, that we might best spend the day despising what killed them; which is to say, the stupidity and viciousness of all mankind.

"Perhaps, when we remember wars, we should take off our clothes and paint ourselves blue and go on all fours all day long and grunt like pigs. That would surely be more appropriate than noble oratory and shows of flags and well-oiled guns.

"I do not mean to be ungrateful for the fine, martial show we are about to see – and a thrilling show it really will be…"

He looked each of us in the eye, and then he commented very softly, throwing it away, "And hooray I say for thrilling shows."

We had to strain our ears to hear what Minton said next.

"But if today is really in honor of a hundred children murdered in war," he said, "is today a day for a thrilling show?

"The answer is yes, on one condition: that we, the celebrants are working consciously and tirelessly to reduce the stupidity and viciousness of ourselves and all mankind."