FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

They Fiddled While Nero Got the Matches

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:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
February 17, 2020
Sheldon Richman
Anti-BDS Laws Violate Our Freedom
John Horning
NEPA is Our National Defense System

Evelyn Leopold
How the UN’s Middle East Peace Plan Was Trounced by Its Own Members
Stephen Cooper
“Just Mercy” and Justice Don’t Exist in Alabama
Patrick Cockburn
Sinn Fein’s Victory is Ireland’s ‘Brexit Moment’ When Left-Out Voters Turn on the Elite
Ralph Nader
“Democratic Socialism” – Bring it on Corporate Socialists!
Phillip Doe
Every Day’s a Holiday for the Oil Business in Colorado
Binoy Kampmark
Fashion Fetishism, Surgical Masks and Coronavirus
Cesar Chelala
The Democrats’ New Chapter
Robert Koehler
The Wall: Separating Democracy From Voters
Peter Cohen
Time to Retire the “He Can’t Beat Trump” Trope
Sr. Kathleen Erickson
Lessons From Ministering on the Border
Alvaro Huerta
Another Five Lessons for Democrats to Defeat Trump in 2020
Wim Laven
Donald Trump’s Plan for America: Make it Ignorant
Christopher Brauchli
You Tube’s Trump Predicament
Steve Klinger
Trump Shoots Romney at Prayer Breakfast; GOP Shrugs
Elliot Sperber
Ode to the City Bus 
James Haught
Megachurch Mess
Weekend Edition
February 14, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
Mayor Mike, Worse Than Mayor Pete
Bruce E. Levine
“Sublime Madness”: Anarchists, Psychiatric Survivors, Emma Goldman & Harriet Tubman
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Leader of the Pack
Jennifer Matsui
The Doomsday Cuckoo Clock
Paul Street
Things Said in Confidence to 4000 Close Friends This Week
Jonathan Cook
Even With Corbyn Gone, Antisemitism Threats Will Keep Destroying the UK Labour Party
Thomas Klikauer
Cambridge Analytica: a Salesgirl’s Report
Joseph Natoli
Vichy Democrats vs. the Master Voice
David Rosen
Sanders vs. the Establishment Democrats: McGovern All Over Again?
Louis Proyect
Marx, Lincoln and Project 1619
Robert Hunziker
Amazon Onslaught
Russell Mokhiber
NPR and the Escalating Attack on Single-Payer Health Care
Ramzy Baroud
Breaking with Washington: Arabs and Muslims Must Take a United Stance for Palestine
Mike Miller
Race and Class: Overcoming the Divides
Michael Brennan
Timeline: How the DNC Manipulated 2016 Presidential Race 
Jacob G. Hornberger
U. S. Lies and Deaths in Afghanistan
Rev. William Alberts
Trump Served Up Projection at the National Prayer Breakfast
Nick Pemberton
The Overwhelming Sex Appeal Of Bernie Sanders
David Swanson
Why This Election Is Different
Dan Bacher
Western States Petroleum Association Tops CA Lobbying Expenses with $8.8 Million Spent in 2019
Christopher Ketcham
The Medium Warps the Message Straight to Our Extinction
Erik Molvar
Trump’s Gutting of NEPA Will Cut the Public Out of Public Lands Decisions
William Kaufman
Tulsi Gabbard: A Political Postmortem
Colin Todhunter
Menace on the Menu in Post-EU Britain
Gregory Elich
Mnangagwa’s Neoliberal Assault on the Zimbabwean People
Ron Jacobs
The Lies of Industry and the Liars Who Sell Them
Binoy Kampmark
Subverting the Blacklist: Kirk Douglas’s Modest Contribution
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail