Wednesday, February 28, 2007


By Ivan G. Goldman
Worn out from the unceasing barrage of ineptitude, arrogance, and falsehoods, beaten-down voters look to the future like sleepers in the blistered confusion of a nightmare about to end. They know they can get screwed badly over the next two years, but after that, whatever goes wrong will go wrong under another president, and heck, we can do two years standing on our head. Why, it’s not even as long as we had to endure the O.J. coverage.

Yet the night holds more nightmares: Innocents (that includes our own sons and daughters) will keep dying in Iraq. We may drop a nuke or two on Iran. The globe will continue poaching over a low flame. The Bush regime will resist pollution controls. Fundamentalist storm troopers and plugged-in corporations will keep picking our pockets. Corrupt Iraqi plutocrats who understand his weaknesses better than Democrats in Congress ever did will keep outsmarting our dimwitted prince. Our health bills will go up. Health delivery will go down. Al Qaeda will score more victories in Afghanistan and may yet pull another Nine-Eleven on us. And Bush will lie about all of it. As Leonard Cohen tells us, "Everybody knows that the dice are loaded. Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed."

But in order to keep the damage down in the future, we need to understand more about how, during the previous six years we got beaten to the punch time after time by an administration chock full of cowardly, posturing chicken hawks.

A writer by the name of Eliot Weinberger, in a February 3, 2005 article in the London Review of Books, did it the right way. You can find it here. Copy the link and call it up.

Good writer Weinberger shows, rather than tells.
The article, “What I heard in Iraq,” should have been a knockout punch to this administration. Natually it wasn't ready for prime time in the U.S. In a series of chronological statements and events Weinberger catalogs the administration’s lies and denials as he cites indisputable facts the blunder-amusses disputed anwyay. We see how the wretched Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and the rest relied on the media’s cowardice, incompetence, and failure to do even elementary research. We watch Rice, Powell, and the other usual suspects take advantage of their natural belligerence in a format that rarely leaves room for follow-up questions. They lie, wriggle away by answering another question, and sometimes launch a verbal assault against the questioner before calling on someone else (at moments like these Bush liked to call on a male prostitute posing as a reporter who’d been planted there by the administration. I wish I were kidding)

The article was later adapted for the theater by Simon Levy. Reviewers call the result devastating. Theater-goers walk out shell-shocked, beyond anger. BBC Radio will air it in April. The play has been to Los Angeles, Edinburgh, Scotland, and elsewhere. It’s set to run on March 20 in Los Angeles again and also in Philadelphia. Theater people are trying to organize productions in other cities. Go to this link for more information:
Here, from Weinberger’s article, is part of what happens:

I heard a reporter say to Donald Rumsfeld: ‘Before the war in Iraq, you stated the case very eloquently and you said they would welcome us with open arms.’ And I heard Rumsfeld interrupt him:
‘Never said that. Never did. You may remember it well, but you’re thinking of somebody else. You can’t find, anywhere, me saying anything like either of those two things you just said I said.’
But a little higher we already read,
I heard Donald Rumsfeld say there was ‘no question’ that American troops would be ‘welcomed’: ‘Go back to Afghanistan, the people were in the streets playing music, cheering, flying kites, and doing all the things that the Taliban and al-Qaida would not let them do.’

I heard a reporter ask Donald Rumsfeld: ‘If they did not have WMDs, why did they pose an immediate threat to this country?’ I heard Rumsfeld answer: ‘You and a few other critics are the only people I’ve heard use the phrase “immediate threat”. It’s become a kind of folklore that that’s what happened. If you have any citations, I’d like to see them.’
And I heard the reporter read: ‘No terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people.’
Rumsfeld replied: ‘It – my view of – of the situation was that he – he had – we – we believe, the best intelligence that we had and other countries had and that – that we believed and we still do not know – we will know.’

To me, that was the high point. Tough-guy Rumsfeld counterpunched and breaking down under the weight of the facts. Truth can be ugly. But use it well and you can make lovely things happen.


savannah said...

i posted this link on my blog with credit to you...maybe my 2 readers will pass the link on as well! thanks again

Ivan G. Goldman said...

With you two, plus me and you, that makes five readers for the both of us. Now tell me something -- how do I post a link to you? All this blogger stuff gives me a headache.

savannah said...

*ack* i am the techno doofus..not to mention the fact that i'm MAC based and using Safari in a PC/windows dominated world...all of which means...i dunno...there are some directions on blogger, but they make absolutely no sense to me...all i know is i need to switch my browser to foxfire because that works with blogger stuff better (notice the use of tech terms such as "blogger stuff")

i just copied the link you gave and posted it in an entry on my site

Adjil said...

You two crack me up! I found Digging Deeper from Savannah's blog, which I've been reading since she was kind enough to leave a comment on my blog. :-)

I also have links to both your logs on my blog.

To make the link active in a post, just highlight it and click on the little button that shows a link, and put the whole address in there (easier to copy it before clicking on the button). Thats all you do.

Ivan G. Goldman said...

I dunno, kid. I read your post 4 or 5 times and most of what you referred to felt like Cantonese. No, it's not coming from you. My mind clams up when I hear even the slightest hint of geek-speak. I'm told it's got something to do with my circumcision.