Saturday, August 18, 2007


Digby (Hullaballoo) is on a roll today. Pinging off a 2003 video Atrios has resurrected, her piece about Tom Friedman (“Tripping on Crazy”) provides as righteously gobsmacked an indictment of Friedman’s raving complicity with Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice, and Powell prior to the Iraq invasion as anything I ever hope to see in this vale of tears. I don’t know, maybe it takes a woman to recognize stupid, mind-melting boythink when she sees it. Get this (quoting Friedman, now):

No, the axis-of-evil idea isn't thought through -- but that's what I like about it. It says to these countries and their terrorist pals: ''We know what you're cooking in your bathtubs. We don't know exactly what we're going to do about it, but if you think we are going to just sit back and take another dose from you, you're wrong. Meet Don Rumsfeld -- he's even crazier than you are.'' . . . . There is a lot about the Bush team's foreign policy I don't like, but their willingness to restore our deterrence, and to be as crazy as some of our enemies, is one thing they have right.

And how’s that workin’ for ya now, Tom?

I guess Iron John didn’t cut it.

Friedman’s take reminds me of a story a guy friend told me once. Seems he was being harrassed by some redneck neighbors. Now, Pete’s a little guy (not his real name). The fact that he’s also an ex-Marine isn’t obvious at first sight. So he decided to show the fellers just how tough he really is. He tore off a pad from a prickly pear cactus bare-handed and ate the whole thing—thorns and all—right in front of their faces. This is exactly the kind of boythink Friedman was celebrating. “You think I’m a wus? I’ll give you something to think about!” The problem is that Pete ended up in the hospital, and(duh) the boyz in the hood weren’t deterred. They were inspired.

To put it plainly, 9-11 wasn't just a hideous act of terror. It was an act that hit American men where they live. That a gaggle of Arabs could take down New York City's Twin Towers was a hugely public symbolic castration, a monumental humiliation that could not help but generate a tragic collective insanity among American males. I don't mean the attack per se, which rightfully generated rage and agony. I mean that it was the symbolic castration that made them fall in behind the first fool they found with a big gun, no plan, and a bad attitude. And it was the symbolic castration that also made it necessary to bracket W's "package" in parachute straps on the infamous day he proclaimed "Mission Accomplished."

It isn’t that an horrific attack on our soil didn’t demand a dissuading response. Of course it did. What I’m saying is that it demanded a huge and deadly response, all right, but it would have been better if the response had been well thought out and aimed at the right target. This one was neither. I guess that’s what happens when men go crazy.

Ironically, this same week, blogs across the net have pinged off the discovery by C-SPAN 3 of a video in which none other than Dick Cheney explains exactly why going after Saddam was a really crazy idea. Its utility is especially clear now that it is juxtaposed with Friedman’s pathetic war dance. Because, much as I hate to admit it, this Cheney, this 1994 Cheney, shown speaking about the first Gulf war, is doing well thought-out war-think:

Once you took down Saddam Hussein's government, what are you going to put in its place? If you take down the central government in Iraq you can begin to see pieces fly off. Part of it, the Syrians would like to have to the west. To the east, Iran. To the north, the Kurds.[If Iraq's] Kurds spin loose and join with the Kurds in Turkey, then you threaten the territorial integrity of Turkey. It's a quagmire. How many additional dead Americans is Saddam [Hussein] worth? Our judgment was "not very many" and I think we got it right.