FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

They Fiddled While Nero Got the Matches

by BEN TRIPP

The thing that really gets my goat – and we’re talking about one of those big, shaggy goats with horns the size of a man’s arm and unblinking reptilian eyes, not some diminutive frog-belly from the petting zoo – is all this codswallop about how events in Iraq have gone so unpredictably wrong. Cacavi braccatum. The instructions for this war went as follows:

1. Drive to Baghdad
2. Proclaim victory
3. Accept tribute of flowers and sweets (do not eat sweets if unwrapped)
4. War pays for itself in oil revenues.

A pretty clever person would read this plan over a couple of times and wonder to himself (the person I speak of is male, and just happens to be a scratch golfer), “Gee whiz, what happens if they don’t offer loving tribute during step 3?” The answer is simple: push down the exhaust poppets by pulling out and giving 1/4 turn to the small wedge handles fastened to exhaust valve casing. No, wait. That’s step 3 for starting the 45hp OTTO marine engine of 1898. The correct answer is: fire at will until ordered to retreat.

Anybody who says the present situation couldn’t have been predicted is a liar, a knave, and a tergiversating poltroon. I predicted it, and what do I know? But don’t take my word for it, or my signature on a bank draft, for that matter. The entire international press and the two percent of the American press still in the news business predicted things would turn out this way. Additionally a vast majority of experts on the subject also predicted things would turn out this way, too, as well. The United Nations got it right, and so did France and Germany and everybody in Spain except the mustachioed dwarf who was running the country at the time. On hearing the American war plan, the people of Russia rolled their collective eyeballs with such force you could hear the squeaking noise as far away as Istanbul.

George Bush, Sr., the only member of his family to win a presidential election, predicted that things would turn out like this-and he did it in 1996 (Hebrew calendar year 5756: the Hebrew calendar is much older than the Julian in common use; on the other hand, try finding a Hebrew calendar with pictures of naked girls.) What I’m struggling to articulate is that we, meaning us, or everybody together including myself, who a long time ago predicted that invading Iraq would turn out to be a really bad decision up there with running off with Helen of Troy, were not only right, but our predictions were widely available through a variety of media including print, television, the Internet, and Morse code, so anybody now feigning astonishment should go soak their heads. Or more in line with the magnitude of the mendacity, go hang themselves. I can supply the cordage if required. With so many slack-jawed scoundrels stumbling about in mock-astonishment, Washington looks like Night of the Living Dead with neckties. Who knew?

Everybody knew, you damned fools. Everybody who was aware of ‘the situation on the ground’, to coin that hoary expression. But only those with nothing to lose would admit it. There are plenty of fork-tongued blandisheers abroad in the land who knew damn well things would come out this way, yet felt it was in their best interests to say elsewise from whatever bullies’ pulpit they occupy. Hey, things might have turned out okay. Miracles are real, man. Mortgage won’t pay itself. They are guilty of the vilest sin of all: expediency. Thousands are dead – the toll of the World Trade Center inflicted tenfold and arbitrarily – and yet, if truth be told (an outmoded idea) the people whose job it was to know what Iraq was up to, knew Iraq wasn’t up to much. They said nothing, or suggested the opposite was true.

A third-rate paparazzo with a two-stroke Vespa and a three-day weekend could have debunked the Bush administration’s claim that Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat to our nation (or the British Home Counties, for that matter) before the next edition of Cronaca Vera came out. But we wouldn’t let him into Iraq, nor the weapons inspectors paid to do that kind of thing on a more formal basis. No, we had better sources. Possibly Tom Clancy was one of them. Certainly Ahmed Chalabi, the ultimate expedientationist in an age when such feckless creatures are as common as trilobites. As trilobites were, I mean, before even the Hebrew calendar. What I mean to say is the next time you hear someone lamenting how unexpectedly things have gone wrong, remember there’s a special room in hell reserved for people who found it convenient not to know. It’s going to be standing room only, at this rate.

BEN TRIPP is a screenwriter and cartoonist, who lives in a large human settlement 100 miles south of Bakersfield, which we cannot name for security reasons. Ben also has a lot of outrageously priced crap for sale here. A collection of Tripp’s essays, Square in the Nuts, will be published this summer. If his writing starts to grate on your nerves, buy some and maybe he’ll flee to Mexico. If all else fails, he can be reached at: credel@earthlink.net

More articles by:
May 30, 2016
Ron Jacobs
The State of the Left: Many Movements, Too Many Goals?
James Abourezk
The Intricacies of Language
Porfirio Quintano
Hillary, Honduras, and the Murder of My Friend Berta
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes on ISIS are Reducing Their Cities to Ruins
Uri Avnery
The Center Doesn’t Hold
Raouf Halaby
The Sailors of the USS Liberty: They, Too, Deserve to Be Honored
Rodrigue Tremblay
Barack Obama’s Legacy: What Happened?
Matt Peppe
Just the Facts: The Speech Obama Should Have Given at Hiroshima
Deborah James
Trade Pacts and Deregulation: Latest Leaks Reveal Core Problem with TISA
Michael Donnelly
Still Wavy After All These Years: Flower Geezer Turns 80
Ralph Nader
The Funny Business of Farm Credit
Paul Craig Roberts
Memorial Day and the Glorification of Past Wars
Colin Todhunter
From Albrecht to Monsanto: A System Not Run for the Public Good Can Never Serve the Public Good
Rivera Sun
White Rose Begins Leaflet Campaigns June 1942
Tom H. Hastings
Field Report from the Dick Cheney Hunting Instruction Manual
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Julian Vigo
The Government and Your i-Phone: the Latest Threat to Privacy
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail