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:

February 20, 2019
Anthony DiMaggio
Withdrawal Pains and Syrian Civil War: An Analysis of U.S. Media Discourse
Charles Pierson
When Saudi Arabia Gets the Bomb
Doug Johnson Hatlem
“Electability” is Real (Unless Married with the Junk Science of Ideological Spectrum Analysis)
Kenneth Surin
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline: Another Boondoggle in Virginia
John Feffer
The Psychology of the Wall
Dean Baker
Modern Monetary Theory and Taxing the Rich
Russell Mokhiber
Citizens Arrested Calling Out Manchin on Rockwool
George Ochenski
Unconstitutional Power Grabs
Michael T. Klare
War With China? It’s Already Under Way
Thomas Knapp
The Real Emergency Isn’t About the Wall, It’s About the Separation of Powers
Manuel García, Jr.
Two Worlds
Daniel Warner
The Martin Ennals and Victorian Prize Winners Contrast with Australia’s Policies against Human Dignity
Norman Solomon
What the Bernie Sanders 2020 Campaign Means for Progressives
Dan Corjescu
2020 Vision: A Strategy of Courage
Matthew Johnson
Why Protest Trump When We Can Impeach Him?
William A. Cohn
Something New and Something Old: a Story Still Being Told
Bill Martin
The Fourth Hypothesis: the Present Juncture of the Trump Clarification and the Watershed Moment on the Washington Mall
February 19, 2019
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Troublesome Possibilities: The Left and Tulsi Gabbard
Patrick Cockburn
She Didn’t Start the Fire: Why Attack the ISIS Bride?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Literature and Theater During War: Why Euripides Still Matters
Maximilian Werner
The Night of Terror: Wyoming Game and Fish’s Latest Attempt to Close the Book on the Mark Uptain Tragedy
Conn Hallinan
Erdogan is Destined for Another Rebuke in Turkey
Nyla Ali Khan
Politics of Jammu and Kashmir: The Only Viable Way is Forward
Mark Ashwill
On the Outside Looking In: an American in Vietnam
Joyce Nelson
Sir Richard Branson’s Venezuelan-Border PR Stunt
Ron Jacobs
Day of Remembrance and the Music of Anthony Brown        
Cesar Chelala
Women’s Critical Role in Saving the Environment
February 18, 2019
Paul Street
31 Actual National Emergencies
Robert Fisk
What Happened to the Remains of Khashoggi’s Predecessor?
David Mattson
When Grizzly Bears Go Bad: Constructions of Victimhood and Blame
Julian Vigo
USMCA’s Outsourcing of Free Speech to Big Tech
George Wuerthner
How the BLM Serves the West’s Welfare Ranchers
Christopher Fons
The Crimes of Elliot Abrams
Thomas Knapp
The First Rule of AIPAC Is: You Do Not Talk about AIPAC
Mitchel Cohen
A Tale of Two Citations: Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” and Michael Harrington’s “The Other America”
Jake Johnston
Haiti and the Collapse of a Political and Economic System
Dave Lindorff
It’s Not Just Trump and the Republicans
Laura Flanders
An End to Amazon’s Two-Bit Romance. No Low-Rent Rendezvous.
Patrick Walker
Venezuelan Coup Democrats Vomit on Green New Deal
Natalie Dowzicky
The Millennial Generation Will Tear Down Trump’s Wall
Nick Licata
Of Stress and Inequality
Joseph G. Ramsey
Waking Up on President’s Day During the Reign of Donald Trump
Elliot Sperber
Greater Than Food
Weekend Edition
February 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Matthew Hoh
Time for Peace in Afghanistan and an End to the Lies
Chris Floyd
Pence and the Benjamins: An Eternity of Anti-Semitism
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail