Friday, December 29, 2006

Hail to the dead unelected president

Happy Ford day weekend, to crib a phrase from Wonkette. Our other unelected president, GWBush, has declared Tuesday a federal holiday in honor of the recently deceased Gerald R. Ford. Bush will be spending his extra day off cutting brush in Crawford and figuring out how not to cut and run in Iraq. The decider needs time off to decide, as if he hasn't had enough paid days to figure out what to do in Baghdad.
Which brings us to the big question: Why the huge media fuss about Jerry Ford? And how come he's getting so much respect now when he got so little in the late '70s?
Obvious. Compare the old clips of Ford as president with the one of Bush mumbling nice things about him. Bush seems insincere, hungover and stupider than anyone ever would have accused Ford of being. Ford was the guy who declared our long national nightmare over, and here we are in the middle of another one. There is no Ford in the wings waiting to take over from Bush. This long national nightmare has two more years to run.
Every media tribute to Ford is a rebuke to Bush, and a wish for simpler, non-Nixonian times. That's the way I read it. And Bush, paranoid drunk that he is, seems to read it that way, too. Thus he won't be coming to Ford's funeral.
He has hundreds of others to plan, and won't attend any of them either. He calls it a surge. Rhymes with dirge.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Heckuva job, Rummy

Donald Rumsfeld was demobilized from his job at the Pentagon, a few years too late. There is little chance of demobilization anytime soon for the soldiers and Marines in Iraq. Instead they're likely to be stuck in the quagmire for another two years, with the National Guard called back again and again.

Heckuva job, Rummy. That's essentially what our willful idiot president said to Rumsfeld at his resignation ceremony. Bush said "he always put the troops first, and the troops know it."

Unfortunately, he didn't put in enough troops at first, and looting and insurgency quickly spiraled out of control. He wanted to follow his obsession of smaller, more mobile forces instead of following his generals' advice that it would take hundreds of thousands more troops to pacify Iraq. By all accounts, when the statue of Saddam came down, Rumsfeld started to lose interest. But before he went back to his pet project of transforming the military, he made some crucial bad decisions that have transformed the military in deadly ways.

First, he wouldn't accept any advice from the State Department, the British or anyone else on managing post-war Iraq. The "consummate bureaucratic warrior" had to keep control within his office. Second, he created the insurgency as we know it by ordering colonial administrator Paul Bremer to demobilize the Iraq army and fire all Baath party members from their jobs, thus rendering the institutions of the country unmanaged and creating 350,000 armed enemies.

While he was putting his troops first, he did so without giving them adequate body armor or adequate strategies to deal with the enemies he had put on the street. And he refused to listen to the few generals who dared tell him his notions were wrong. In fact, he tended to fire them. The man's arrogance is such that he has compared himself to Churchill. If you think he bears no resemblance to Churchill, remember that Churchill was the man who gave Britain Gallipoli. Rumsfeld has given America a four-year Gallipoli.

Before Rumsfeld left the Pentagon office he held so long, he said a few words, typically stubborn and obtuse, aimed at keeping American troops in Iraq. "Today, it should be clear that not only is weakness provocative, but the perception of weakness on our part can be provocative as well," he said, among other things.

Who created that perception of a weak America? It was the triumverate of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld who conjured a war we cannot win and shouldn't have waged, a war that has killed tens of thousands, shamed our nation and broken our military.

That's the word, "broken." Even the Army chief of staff used it, when Rumsfeld was safely halfway out the door. He left as the second longest-serving secretary of defense after Robert McNamara, who also left behind a hopeless war. And a broken military.

Unlike McNamara, though, Rumsfeld won't suffer a guilty conscience. A conscience is required.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I'm the Indecider

"President" George W. Bush is delaying his speech detailing his new strategy for Iraq until early 2007. There could be any number of reasons for this.

One: He still doesn't have a strategy to announce. He hasn't had one for almost four years, so why should he have one now?

Two: He can't announce that the troops will be home by Christmas until after this Christmas.

Three: A speech now would cut into his vacation, so he has to run back to West Texas. There's brush to be cut.

Four: The electronic box under his suit that feeds him speeches is on the fritz.

Five: Dick Cheney hasn't made up his mind yet. He's a quandary, because someone finally gave him what-for on the subject of Iraq, and someone with more pull in the oil biz -- King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

Six: The family intervention by the Iraq Study Group didn't take and Bush is laid up with a bad case of Jack Daniels.

Seven: All of the above. Whatever the reasons, the decider is the avoider and Congress should be the impeachers.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Live slow, die old

Sorry, that previous post self-destructed somewhere in the middle and I was too discouraged to start over. No one is out there reading anyway, so who the hell cares? It was just some garbage about how the phone never rings once you've left your job. Even most of the telephone solicitors and wrong numberers seem to give up on you.

Here are some more things you don't have to worry about when you get oldish and leave your job (engrossing details later):

Buying clothes. You find you have all the clothes you'll ever need for the rest of your life, except possibly sweat pants and socks, which tend to wear out while padding around the house. My closet is filled with beautiful pressed shirts, which I swear someday I will wear fashionably untucked with sneaks and linen pants so I can look like a rich beach bum. But I'm saving them for something, and wearing T-shirts and jeans, looking like a bum, sans beach. Of course, I've switched to long-sleeve T-shirts (a little expenditure there) because I'm an oldish guy and in the summer I fear skin cancer and in the winter I don't run the heat very high because I fear heating bills. Sweat shirts and fleece, that's the answer, and the universal oldguywear.

Bad service in restaurants. No, you don't have to fear that because you stop going to restaurants or you go to them when the staff is standing around waiting for customers to arrive, around 11:30 a.m. or 5:30 p.m., the official AARP dining hours.

The high price of gas. Who drives? No wonder old people are always crashing into farmers markets and store windows. They're out of practice. After you leave your job, the desire to get on the road with people going to their jobs fades pretty quickly, along with the desire to drink bad office coffee.

Bad weather. The funny thing is, the first thing in the paper that old people turn to is the weather report, and the last thing they'd consider is going out in the weather — bad weather, anyway. We're probably going to sit around the house in our sweats and fleeces, no matter the weather, so who the hell cares? But we care, probably so we can gloat that we don't have to go out in it, ruining our clothes, wasting expensive gas and enduring bad service in a restaurant. Instead we sit here, knowing the phone's not going to ring.

One of these days I'll get out there and use these coupons.