Rumors of War

I can never keep it straight whether the warm, dry air & the cool, moist air that cause tornadoes when they collide come from the north or south or east or west, but it sure feels tonight like some similarly volatile combination is about to bust out over America. On the one hand, The Passion of the Christ just racked up enough in ticket-sales to keep Mel Gibson & his descendants in myrrh & frankincense for generations to come. That’s been followed by a spate of TV-movies about the life of a hunky looking Judas & the life of an even hunkier looking Jesus, plus a report on Good Morning, America by a former ABC employee & religious nut who filmed audiences watching The Passion w/a night-vision camera the better to witness their religious goosebumps, & whose pronouncement that the movie was responsible for at least one “miracle” went entirely unchallenged by that world’s worst living excuse for a journalist, Diane Sawyer. Further, this week saw a string of demonstrations by looney-tunes folks upset about gay marriage, all of them fronted by groups w/names like “Americans United Against Preversions.” On the surface it looks like a return to the early years of Reagan’s first term, but this time around all that “Morning in America” crap is having a hard time finding traction. Even a larger-than-expected uptick in the employment rate couldn’t cheer up Bush’s supporters for more than a half-hour or so.

And no wonder. Look at today’s news, for instance. (And this on a Sunday, for crying out loud.) At least eight more U.S. troops dead (w/“dozens more” wounded, but we never seem to learn any more about them unless they’re wholesome, blond, & taken as POWs), & this time it’s a hardcore Shiite faction that teed off on us. Not the Sunnis, not foreign terrorists, but members of the very group that stand to gain the most from our presence in the first place. Nor does it help that the attacks took place in at least four cities around the country & in response to our shutting down a newspaper. It’s the kind of development that drops the bottom out of your stomach, but the number of our killed & wounded will probably be the focus of media attention thanks to last week’s grisly doings in Fallujah. Meanwhile, the 9/11 commission, having already taken several startling turns in the last couple of weeks courtesy of Richard Clarke, was also restive. It turns out that the commission’s executive director, Eugene Zelikow, faxed the White House a photo of Admiral Leahy testifying at the ’45 Pearl Harbor hearings in an effort to disprove Condi Rice’s contention that there was no precedent for an executive branch person to appear at such hearing. Meanwhile, commission chairman Thomas Kean said on Meet the Press that the public is going to be “surprised“ by the commission’s findings, adding that he doesn’t expect the White House to drag out its intelligence vetting of the report because “Nobody has any interest in having the report sitting around Washington during the election period and pieces of it leaking out. Nobody has any interest in this thing coming out September or October, in the middle of the election,” remarks that surely caused a run on the White House liquor cabinet. And finally, no less a personage than Foreign Relations Committee chairman Richard Lugar announced that he is “really haunted” by the thought of us handing power back to the Iraqis on June 30 without a more secure & comprehensive plan for the transition.

I’ve always wondered what it would take to make a man like Dick Lugar feel haunted, & right now it looks like the same thing it takes before an established political pimp like Lugar will start peeling his lips off the backside of his own party’s administration: an all-out policy meltdown. With such a complete & obvious disaster on his hands, it’s hard to believe that George W. Bush is avoiding impeachment, much less caught up in a dead-heat race for reelection. I guess it’s a good time to remember those sourpuss Congressmen on Rodino’s committee who were so enveloped in denial that they voted against the Articles of Impeachment, even knowing what they knew.

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