Friday, May 28, 2004

Old Joke

Originally from somewhere in Eastern Europe, as the Soviet Union was crumbling:

An elderly man has been waiting for hours outside the meat store when the clerk announces that there is no meat today

He loses it. "I worked hard all my life. I fought in the Great Patriotic War. And now I can't even get a piece of meat? This whole system stinks!"

A large, thuggish man steps up next to him. "Comrade, comrade, think of what you are saying! In the old days, you know what would happen to you." He mimics shooting the old man in the head.

When he got home, his wife greeted him. "So they're out of meat again?"

"It's worse than that. They're out of bullets."

So how do we know we're in Real Trouble in Iraq? We're running out of bullets.

Why I Love the Internet, part 247

Searchable database of lies, half-truths, innuendos, etc, from the Bush administration.

Someone with more time and energy than me could put together a drinking game from this. "If <administration official> says "Saddam" and "Osama" in the same sentence, take a drink".

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Pep Rally

From the right side of the aisle, we've been hearing the cant of "support the war, support our President, dissent is treason" since this little war started. Now, this is more than just your basic "shut up and sit down" that you get when The Powers That Be don't want to hear something. The Administration is perfectly capable of simply ignoring views that they don't like without calling "treason". Consider oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. They're gonna do it, and they don't care what anybody says.

Where is this coming from? Where do we get the idea that, not only is it treasonous to disagree with any little thing the Administration says, we all have to cheer as hard as we can to "support the troops"?

My high school had mediocre sports teams. Mediocre players, mediocre coaches, mediocre results. We won some, we lost some. But for those of us not actually on the teams, when we lost, it was always because we weren't cheering hard enough. "We need your support", said the posters, the rallies, the announcements on the PA system. Don't show up for the game? You're stabbing them in the back. Show up and they still lose? You didn't cheer hard enough. In short, you are responsible for the performance of the players on the field.

I should mention that this idea didn't extend to the players. They knew darn well why they won or lost. High school sports at this time and place were viciously competitive and the coaches weren't really up on the latest theories. Four hours a day of practice is not good for high school students.

So this "support the troops" business is no more or less than a high school pep rally. If we all chant slogans and jump up and down and cheer on cue, our team will win; otherwise, they will lose. It's our attitudes that matter; not theirs.

Now, on the basic level, this is just silly. Your friendly average soldier in Iraq doesn't care squat what I, or any other blogger, says. "Oh, no! Lightning says we shouldn't be in Iraq! I'm gonna walk in front of an RPG!". Not bloody likely.

But on a deeper level, this is profoundly disrespectful. The current U. S. military is a fine, very professional organization. "Professional" means doing your job. Saying that the troops would not do their jobs because not everybody agrees with the policies that put them there reduces them to the level of unprofessional crybabies.

But it's just fine for shifting the blame to somebody else. The disaster in Iraq is squarely the responsibility of Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell, and all their furry little Neoconservative friends. Not bloggers, marchers, or pundits who were all considerably more accurate than the Administration in foreseeing what would happen if we marched into Iraq.

From now on, any time anybody gives me the "support our troops" nonsense, I'm gonna demand to see them dance with pompoms. Or do a real cheer. Georgie Bush should be good at this; he was a cheerleader in college. Maybe this explains it ...

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