FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Operation Candor

by MARK ZEPEZAUER

CHICO, CA., Sept. 13, 2003. White House aides today staged another significant photo opportunity involving the USS Abraham Lincoln, in order to declare that “major combat in Iraq has resumed.”

President Bush had previously mentioned the policy shift in a little-noticed August 14 interview, but officials felt that the recent increase in coalition casualties called for a potent visual metaphor. Accordingly, the president was airlifted off the deck of the mighty aircraft carrier and delivered by helicopter to the northern California campus of Chico State University.

In order to underscore the policy reversal, Mr. Bush was dressed in the uniform of a drunken fratboy: baggy trousers, backwards baseball cap, and a sweatshirt bearing Greek letters. The campus has long been noted as one of the main “party schools” of the West, and the president endeared himself to the beer-swilling crowd by announcing that “it’s wonderful to be here in the great state of Chico.”

“I don’t have to change my mind too often, but when I do, it’s a doozy,” he went on to explain. “I think it’s obvious to anyone who’s paying attention that we’re in a combative situation in Iraq. Maybe it’s not exactly major, but it wouldn’t be fair to the kids that are over there killing and being shot at if we called it minor combat. I understand a lot of them are minors, and that would just be rubbing it in.”

A senior White House official, on condition of anonymity, said that the photo-op was the first step in a planned “candor offensive,” designed to shore up the president’s battered reputation as a “straight shooter.” Mr. Bush has taken considerable heat for a series of questionable statements, including the assertion that Iraq intended to buy uranium from Niger, that Saddam Hussein had refused to allow weapons inspections, that canvas-covered trailers were weapons of mass destruction, and that Arnold Schwarzenegger might make a good governor.

The aide acknowledged that the strategy was not without risk, but maintained that it would be a net plus, politically, for the president to be seen saying things that were obviously true. Still, veteran reporters were shocked when Mr. Bush told the students, ‘Let’s just call it medium combat. What the hell do I know about combat? I never saw any of it.” Nevertheless, the crowd seemed enthused by the president’s plain speaking, and so he continued.

“The problem is, we’ve had more kids popped since we shot the campaign commercial on that big boat than before. When I told the Iraqians to bring it on, I was thinking more of a turkey shoot situation, like in my daddy’s war. Up to that point, we were losing about one troop a day; one point zero five, I believe. Now I think most of us could live with that ­ unless you’re the kid getting popped. But that goes without saying. Anyway, since they brought it on, our combat deaths are up almost thirty percent.”

At this point the crowd grew a bit restive, as if unsure of when to applaud. “I had my people do the math,” said the president, “and now we’re losing one point three three kids a day*, and that’s not working for me. So here’s what I figure: if the body count was lower when we were in combat, well, then, we’re in combat again!”

The president then set his jaw determinedly, and assumed a pinched expression on his face. “And I can tell you this: we’re going to win this one all over again!” A sustained ovation greeted this comment, and Mr. Bush then departed the stage and changed clothes in order to receive funds from local dignitaries.

* Actual death rates from the “Iraq II: Coalition Deaths” website: from Top Gun photo-op to “bring ’em on:” 62 days/65 deaths; from “bring ’em on” to August 28: 57 days/76 deaths.

MARK ZEPEZAUER is an author and cartoonist based in Tucson, Arizona. His most recent book is Boomerang! How Our Covert Wars Have Created Enemies Across The Middle East And Brought Terror To America, from Common Courage Press. He can be reached at: comicnews@earthlink.net

 

More articles by:
June 27, 2016
Robin Hahnel
Brexit: Establishment Freak Out
James Bradley
Omar’s Motive
Gregory Wilpert – Michael Hudson
How Western Military Interventions Shaped the Brexit Vote
Leonard Peltier
41 Years Since Jumping Bull, 500 Years of Trauma
Rev. William Alberts
Orlando: the Latest Victim of Radicalizing American Imperialism
Patrick Cockburn
Brexiteers Have Much in Common With Arab Spring Protesters
Franklin Lamb
How 100 Syrians, 200 Russians and 11 Dogs Out-Witted ISIS and Saved Palmyra
John Grant
Omar Mateen: The Answers are All Around Us
Dean Baker
In the Wake of Brexit Will the EU Finally Turn Away From Austerity?
Ralph Nader
The IRS and the Self-Minimization of Congressman Jason Chaffetz
Gordon Smith
Goodbye UK, Goodbye Great Britain: What Next?
Martha Pskowski
Detained in Dilley: Deportation and Asylum in Texas
stclair
Headaches of Empire: Brexit’s Effect on the United States
Dave Lindorff
Honest Election System Needed to Defeat Ruling Elite
Louisa Willcox
Delisting Grizzly Bears to Save the Endangered Species Act?
Jason Holland
The Tragedy of Nothing
Jeffrey St. Clair
Revolution Reconsidered, Guest Starring Bernard Sanders in the Role of Robespierre
Weekend Edition
June 24, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
A Blow for Peace and Democracy: Why the British Said No to Europe
Pepe Escobar
Goodbye to All That: Why the UK Left the EU
Michael Hudson
Revolts of the Debtors: From Socrates to Ibn Khaldun
Andrew Levine
Summer Spectaculars: Prelude to a Tea Party?
Kshama Sawant
Beyond Bernie: Still Not With Her
Mike Whitney
¡Basta Ya, Brussels! British Voters Reject EU Corporate Slavestate
Tariq Ali
Panic in the House: Brexit as Revolt Against the Political Establishment
Paul Street
Miranda, Obama, and Hamilton: an Orwellian Ménage à Trois for the Neoliberal Age
Ellen Brown
The War on Weed is Winding Down, But Will Monsanto Emerge the Winner?
Gary Leupp
Why God Created the Two-Party System
Conn Hallinan
Brexit Vote: a Very British Affair (But Spain May Rock the Continent)
Ruth Fowler
England, My England
Jeffrey St. Clair
Lines Written on the Occasion of Bernie Sanders’ Announcement of His Intention to Vote for Hillary Clinton
Norman Pollack
Fissures in World Capitalism: the British Vote
Paul Bentley
Mercenary Logic: 12 Dead in Kabul
Binoy Kampmark
Parting Is Such Sweet Joy: Brexit Prevails!
Elliot Sperber
Show Me Your Papers: Supreme Court Legalizes Arbitrary Searches
Jan Oberg
The Brexit Shock: Now It’s All Up in the Air
Nauman Sadiq
Brexit: a Victory for Britain’s Working Class
Brian Cloughley
Murder by Drone: Killing Taxi Drivers in the Name of Freedom
Ramzy Baroud
How Israel Uses Water as a Weapon of War
Brad Evans – Henry Giroux
The Violence of Forgetting
Ben Debney
Homophobia and the Conservative Victim Complex
Margaret Kimberley
The Orlando Massacre and US Foreign Policy
David Rosen
Americans Work Too Long for Too Little
Murray Dobbin
Do We Really Want a War With Russia?
Kathy Kelly
What’s at Stake
Louis Yako
I Have Nothing “Newsworthy” to Report this Week
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail