Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Well, Somebody Had to Do It
I couldn't find a good Fisking of Brian Reade's fulminations in the Daily Mirror.I had ignored it, but then I got this missive from my brother in California:
This was forwarded to me from someone who titled it "my sentiments exactly." Wow.
I was wondering if you could write a counterpoint version (if you had the time and desire).
Since I couldn't point him to someone else, I did it. So here goes.
GOD HELP AMERICA
Better than 'God help the world', don't you think?
THEY say that in life you get what you deserve. Well, today America has deservedly got a lawless cowboy to lead them further into carnage and isolation and the unreserved contempt of most of the rest of the world.
The contempt of the world is a matter of sublime indifference to us -- for you spineless Eurotrash will still buy our products, lend us money, watch our movies, and eat our fast food. Does it make you feel better to complain as you do so? Then feel free ... we'll still be happy to take your Euros.
This once-great country has pulled up its drawbridge for another four years and stuck a finger up to the billions of us forced to share the same air. And in doing so, it has shown itself to be a fearful, backward-looking and very small nation.
Ah. I had wondered why so many millions risk everything -- and even sometimes lose their lives -- to get here. It's because they're so fearful that they risk so much. Makes perfect sense, doesn't it?
This should have been the day when Americans finally answered their critics by raising their eyes from their own sidewalks and looking outward towards the rest of humanity.
Hmmm. You wouldn't happen to remember either of the two great European wars of the last century, would you? And would you happen to know what country is responsible for the agricultural innovations that daily save hundreds of millions from death by starvation?
And for a few hours early yesterday, when the exit polls predicted a John Kerry victory, it seemed they had.
But then the horrible, inevitable truth hit home. They had somehow managed to re-elect the most devious, blinkered and reckless leader ever put before them. The Yellow Rogue of Texas.
A self-serving, dim-witted, draft-dodging, gung-ho little rich boy, whose idea of courage is to yell: "I feel good," as he unleashes an awesome fury which slaughters 100,000 innocents for no other reason than greed and vanity.
I do so love the 'dim-witted' charge. You see, George Bush put his academic records out for everyone to see and ridicule -- for all that they show that he's in the 95th percentile of intelligence. (I'm at 99.5, myself, for what it's worth -- but I recognize my limitations; I am no politician, nor do I wish to be.) John Kerry (also no politician) did not release his Yale records, for reasons that we can only guess at. But Kerry did display (some of) his military records, including -- inadvertently, no doubt -- some aptitude test results.
Kerry is not as smart as Bush; he scores about five percentage points lower.
See the New York Times (that fabulously pro-Bush organ) for details (but you'll have to pay).
A dangerous chameleon, his charming exterior provides cover for a power-crazed clique of Doctor Strangeloves whose goal is to increase America's grip on the world's economies and natural resources.
I do not recall that those were the goals of the original Dr. Strangelove, but we can easily forgive such minor ignorance of American culture in one who so despises it.
It is doubtless foolish to try to explain economics in so small a space as this, so let me just say that America does not force anyone to sell us anything at the point of a gun. If anyone be truly unhappy with the price we offer for their natural resources, then they are perfectly free to sell them to someone else at a higher price.
And in foolishly backing him, Americans have given the go-ahead for more unilateral pre-emptive strikes, more world instability and most probably another 9/11.
Why else do you think bin Laden was so happy to scare them to the polls, then made no attempt to scupper the outcome?
There's only one headline in town today, folks: "It Was Osama Wot Won It."
And soon he'll expect pay-back. Well, he can't allow Bush to have his folks whoopin' and a-hollerin' without his own getting a share of the fun, can he?
Heck, guys, I hope you're feeling proud today.
Our dear friend Osama famously said 'When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse.' Were Kerry to have been elected, then we would have seen an explosion of anti-American terrorism, since al Qaeda would have (correctly) calculated that Kerry would not have the will to take casualties. Cf. the Madrid bombings, the craven response of the Spanish thereto, and the new comity that exists between Spain and the Islamic world.
What's that you say? That no such new comity exists? Why, imagine that!
To the tens of millions who voted for John Kerry, my commiserations.
It is a mark of the noble mind to pity the mentally infirm.
To the overwhelming majority of you who didn't, I simply ask: Have you learnt nothing? Do you despise your own image that much?
Ah, but you see, we don't care about our image. We care about reality. You may control our image now -- just as you despised Ronald Reagan twenty years ago -- but history will out. The politics of appeasement have never and will never produce anything but temporary ceasefires and disastrous wars. Bush, like most Americans, understands that. How Europeans cannot, given their history, is beyond my poor powers to comprehend.
Do you care so little about the world beyond your shores?
Bingo! (That's an Americanism for 'Precisely so, old chap'.)
How could you do this to yourselves?
The real question is, 'How can we do so much for Europe at so high a cost in the face of such hatred?' What would happen to your sclerotic economies were we finally to abandon all our military bases in Europe? Do you not remember the squeals last year when Bush announced that he was paring back our military presence there?
How appalling must one man's record at home and abroad be for you to reject him?
Oh, I should say it should be at least as appalling as Jacques Chirac's or George Galloway's.
Kerry wasn't the best presidential candidate the Democrats have ever fielded (and he did deserve a kicking for that "reporting for doo-dee" moment), but at least he understood the complexity of the world outside America, and domestic disgraces like the 45 million of his fellow citizens without health cover.
No, he didn't. The mark of one who understands complexity is the ability to explain it simply. Bush could; Kerry couldn't. But, as I said above, Bush is smarter, so that shouldn't be a surprise.
And it is remarkably amusing to hear a Britisher denounce American health care. Admire this, for instance: 'Surgeons Close Wounds with Paperclips'.
How is it, do you suppose, that such things happen (and happen regularly) in the utopia of nationalised health care, but not in the dog-eat-dog catastrophe of free-market health care?
He would have done something to make that country fairer and re-connected it with the wider world.
Instead America chose a man without morals or vision. An economic incompetent who inherited a $2billion surplus from Clinton, gave it in tax cuts to the rich and turned the US into the world's largest debtor nation.
Yes, and you will continue lending us money, won't you? Because investors can make far more, far more reliably, lending to the US than, say, Britain. The other economic nonsense we can leave to one side; I think that Bush has done rather well overcoming the Clinton recession (the economy began to fail at the end of Clinton's term) and September 11th (which took many billions [or is that milliards?] out of the American economy).
A man who sneers at the rights of other nations. Who has withdrawn from international treaties on the environment and chemical weapons.
The right to torture and murder the regime's opponents? Why is such a right not worth so much as a sneer?
As for the environment, pointing you to the (socialist) Bjorn Lomborg probably isn't going to help, is it? You don't sound like the kind of person who can read, much less understand, actual data. Suffice it to say that our environment will continue to improve, even as the environment in the third world all you bien-pensants idolize continues to deteriorate.
A man who flattens sovereign states then hands the rebuilding contracts to his own billionaire party backers.
*sigh* There are two companies in the world capable of doing the work necessary in Iraq. The other one is French. Should we really reward our enemies -- and make no mistake, France is an enemy of the United States; their foreign minister has said as much -- with such contracts?
A man who promotes trade protectionism and backs an Israeli government which continually flouts UN resolutions.
Ah, the UN. Knew that would show up eventually. We have spent hundreds of billions of dollars on the UN and have precious little to show for it.
Perhaps you've heard of the Duefler report? It shows that France and Russia were being systematically bribed by Saddam and that the UN itself has been utterly corrupted by the billions in Oil-for-Food money that it was given charge of. Moreover, the UN's "peacekeeping" and "humanitarian" forces have been consistently found guilty of the vilest sexual abuses of those they are charged to protect -- each story mentioned once in the American press and then forgotten; the UN is more-often-than-not incompetent to save those whom it graces with its attentions (see Rwanda and Sudan); and the UN's High Commission on Refugees bears the majority of the responsibility for the plight of the Palestinians (whose camps did you think they were living in? Israel's? Jordan's?). These facts should, one would think, cause any sensible person to question the doctrine that the rest of the world has the moral authority to judge the United States.
But sensibility doesn't seem to be your strong suit ...
America has chosen a menacingly immature buffoon who likened the pursuit of the 9/11 terrorists to a Wild West, Wanted Dead or Alive man-hunt and, during the Afghanistan war, kept a baseball scorecard in his drawer, notching up hits when news came through of enemy deaths.
A RADICAL Christian fanatic who decided the world was made up of the forces of good and evil, who invented a war on terror, and thus as author of it, believed he had the right to set the rules of engagement.
Which translates to telling his troops to do what the hell they want to the bad guys. As he has at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and countless towns across Iraq.
Oh, dear. That again. The Geneva convention applies only to those who make war by its rules. It does not apply to spies, saboteurs, or terrorists; nor should it. Anyone attacking American troops who is not in the uniform of a regular army is not covered by the convention.
We may, in our large-heartedness, extend such protections, but we are not required to. And may I point out that the inmates of Guantanamo gain weight in captivity? That most of them have never been fed so well in their lives?
You have to feel sorry for the millions of Yanks in the big cities like New York, Washington, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco who voted to kick him out.
Indeed you do.
These are the sophisticated side of the electorate who recognise a gibbon when they see one.
This from the continent that sand-blasts 'Thou shalt not kill' as hate speech?
I have no regrets taking my gibbon over your sophisticates; for gibbons, limited though they be, at least have a refreshingly straight-forward ability to distinguish between those who wish them harm and those who wish them ill. In a dangerous world, gibbons are far more likely to survive than, say, you.
As for the ones who put him in, across the Bible Belt and the South, us outsiders can only feel pity.
Were I a Kerry voter, though, I'd feel deep anger, not only at them returning Bush to power, but for allowing the outside world to lump us all into the same category of moronic muppets.
The self-righteous, gun-totin', military lovin', sister marryin', abortion-hatin', gay-loathin', foreigner-despisin', non-passport ownin' red-necks, who believe God gave America the biggest dick in the world so it could urinate on the rest of us and make their land "free and strong".
And why do _you_ think God gave America the 'biggest dick in the world'? And is this really what passes for reasoned discourse in Europe?
This is getting tiresome ...
You probably won't be surprised to learn of would-be Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn who, on Tuesday, promised to ban abortion and execute any doctors who carried them out.
He also told voters that lesbianism is so rampant in the state's schools that girls were being sent to toilets on their own. Not that any principal could be found to back him up.
These are the people who hijack the word patriot and liken compassion to child-molesting. And they are unknowingly bin Laden's chief recruiting officers.
Al-Qaeda's existence is fuelled by the outpourings of America's Christian right. Bush is its commander-in-chief. And he and bin Laden need each other to survive.
Both need to play Lex Luther to each others' Superman with their own fanatical people. Maybe that's why the mightiest military machine ever assembled has failed to catch the world's most wanted man.
That's 'Lex Luthor'; funny that you should so often use American cultural tropes and equally often get them wrong.
Or is the reason simply that America is incompetent? That behind the bluff they are frightened and clueless, which is why they've stayed with the devil they know.
VISITORS from another planet watching this election would surely not credit the amateurism.
The queues for hours to register a tick; the 17,000 lawyers needed to ensure there was no cheating; the $1.2bn wasted by parties trying to discredit the enemy; the allegations of fraud, intimidation and dirty tricks; the exit polls which were so wildly inaccurate; an Electoral College voting system that makes the Eurovision Song Contest look like a beacon of democracy and efficiency; and the delays and the legal wrangles in announcing the victor.
Yet America would have us believe theirs is the finest democracy in the world. Well, that fine democracy has got the man it deserved. George W Bush.
But is America safer today without Kerry in charge? A man who overnight would have given back to the UN some credibility and authority. Who would have worked out the best way to undo the Iraq mess without fear of losing face.
Yes! And the UN is incapable -- but I said this already -- of displaying either credibility or authority. It never had much, and it has now squandered what little it had on desperate efforts to support anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism.
Instead, the questions facing America today are - how many more thousands of their sons will die as Iraq descends into a new Vietnam? And how many more Vietnams are on the horizon now they have given Bush the mandate to go after Iran, Syria, North Korea or Cuba...?
Now, if you love Iran, Syria, North Korea, and Cuba so much, why are you still living in England under Tony Blair? (And isn't he just as bad as the gibbon? If not, why not?) I'm sure all those countries are desperately eager to have a solon such as yourself grace their parliaments.
Today is a sad day for the world, but it's even sadder for the millions of intelligent Americans embarrassed by a gung-ho leader and backed by a banal electorate, half of whom still believe Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11.
Yanks had the chance to show the world a better way this week, instead they made a thuggish cowboy ride off into the sunset bathed in glory.
And in doing so it brought Armageddon that little bit closer and re-christened their beloved nation The Home Of The Knave and the Land Of The Freak.
God Help America.
It occurs to me that hatred -- and what is this bile but hatred? -- always disguises fear. What are you so afraid of? Is it the spectre of the Islamicisation of Europe? Or merely Europe's inconsequentiality in an Americo-Pacific world? Or, perhaps, you are so used to failure -- social, moral, economic, military, cultural, and spiritual -- that you can no longer abide success anywhere?
posted by vepxistqaosani 10:20 PM