Steaming heaps of enmity

Comedian Bill Maher uncorked a top-notch wisecrack last week on his HBO show during his recap of the story of Mexican-American demonstrators on May Day getting treated rather brusquely by LAPD. Maher’s line about the large number of Hispanics who showed up to demonstrate against government policies that day, and I’m paraphrasing here: “Once again, we see Mexicans doing the work that white Americans just don’t want any part of.”

Reflections upon the “truthiness” of that joke led me to mentally scurry back to early 2003, when the beatdown sales job for the invasion of Iraq was in its full, grisly, and, we know now, misguided swing. As I recall my own very gooey, uninformed, embarrassingly laissez-faire stance toward this oncoming train wreck, I wish I could go back in time and act a little more passionately, a little more knowledgeably, and a little more skeptically about it all, and maybe even hit the damn street a couple of times in protest of this incredibly reckless blunder that’s now become this very large tar pit filled with blood, money and a whole bunch of folks who don’t seem to be too inclined to agree on much. Some part of me knew better back then, but I was lazy enough to let smarmy pukes like William Kristol half convince me that this was a really swell thing for us to do. To the courageous few who did get off their asses before the invasion to protest, I congratulate you on your foresight and moxie, for whatever that’s worth.

Right now, America seems to be indulging in a severe anger spasm about Iraq. This is understandable. One of the memorable conclusions of Washington Post reporter Thomas Ricks’ book Fiasco is that the Coalition Provisional Authority under L. Paul Bremer could not have laid a more perfect foundation for a violent and large insurgency if it had tried. So, upon reviewing Bushco’s decisions and incredible bunglements involving this war, Dubya’s administration has thoroughly earned the steaming heaps of enmity that the American people are now pissily sending its way.

We’re gonna have to get over this particular spasm here pretty soon and start talking about what the hell to do next. Of course, it’s impossible to avoid the conclusion that we’re up to our ass in a horribly complex problem that defies solving, which then ignites new waves of anger at Bush, Darth, Condi, Rummy, Tenet, et al. This leads me back to the same Maher show and his interview with Republican prez candidate Tommy Thompson. The interview was typically painful to watch, since Thompson appeared to have had an aide pound a two by four way way WAY up his ass just before the show. But the guy had an interesting, maybe even good, idea about something to do in Iraq. He said the first thing he’d do as president would be to let the Iraqi people have another vote; a vote on whether they want us to go or want us to stay. That’s a great call—and would make for a most interesting election.