FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Operation Candor

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:
July 19, 2018
Rajai R. Masri
The West’s Potential Symbiotic Contributions to Freeing a Closed Muslim Mind
Jennifer Matsui
The Blue Pill Presidency
Ryan LaMothe
The Moral and Spiritual Bankruptcy of White Evangelicals
Paul Tritschler
Negative Capability: a Force for Change?
Patrick Bond
State of the BRICS Class Struggle: ‘Social Dialogue’ Reform Frustrations
Rev. William Alberts
A Well-Kept United Methodist Church Secret
Raouf Halaby
Joseph Harsch, Robert Fisk, Franklin Lamb: Three of the Very Best
George Ochenski
He Speaks From Experience: Max Baucus on “Squandered Leadership”
Ted Rall
Right Now, It Looks Like Trump Will Win in 2020
David Swanson
The Intelligence Community Is Neither
Andrew Moss
Chaos or Community in Immigration Policy
Kim Scipes
Where Do We Go From Here? How Do We Get There?
July 18, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
Politics and Psychiatry: the Cost of the Trauma Cover-Up
Frank Stricker
The Crummy Good Economy and the New Serfdom
Linda Ford
Red Fawn Fallis and the Felony of Being Attacked by Cops
David Mattson
Entrusting Grizzlies to a Basket of Deplorables?
Stephen F. Eisenman
Want Gun Control? Arm the Left (It Worked Before)
CJ Hopkins
Trump’s Treasonous Traitor Summit or: How Liberals Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the New McCarthyism
Patrick Bond
State of the BRICS Class Struggle: Repression, Austerity and Worker Militancy
Dan Corjescu
The USA and Russia: Two Sides of the Same Criminal Corporate Coin
The Hudson Report
How Argentina Got the Biggest Loan in the History of the IMF
Kenn Orphan
You Call This Treason?
Max Parry
Ukraine’s Anti-Roma Pogroms Ignored as Russia is Blamed for Global Far Right Resurgence
Ed Meek
Acts of Resistance
July 17, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Trump & The Big Bad Bugs
Robert Hunziker
Trump Kills Science, Nature Strikes Back
John Grant
The Politics of Cruelty
Kenneth Surin
Calculated Buffoonery: Trump in the UK
Binoy Kampmark
Helsinki Theatrics: Trump Meets Putin
Patrick Bond
BRICS From Above, Seen Critically From Below
Jim Kavanagh
Fighting Fake Stories: The New Yorker, Israel and Obama
Daniel Falcone
Chomsky on the Trump NATO Ruse
W. T. Whitney
Oil Underground in Neuquén, Argentina – and a New US Military Base There
Doug Rawlings
Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War” was Nominated for an Emmy, Does It Deserve It?
Rajan Menon
The United States of Inequality
Thomas Knapp
Have Mueller and Rosenstein Finally Gone Too Far?
Cesar Chelala
An Insatiable Salesman
Dean Baker
Truth, Trump and the Washington Post
Mel Gurtov
Human Rights Trumped
Binoy Kampmark
Putin’s Football Gambit: How the World Cup Paid Off
July 16, 2018
Sheldon Richman
Trump Turns to Gaza as Middle East Deal of the Century Collapses
Charles Pierson
Kirstjen Nielsen Just Wants to Protect You
Brett Wilkins
The Lydda Death March and the Israeli State of Denial
Patrick Cockburn
Trump Knows That the US Can Exercise More Power in a UK Weakened by Brexit
Robert Fisk
The Fisherman of Sarajevo Told Tales Past Wars and Wars to Come
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail