The mandate of heaven is a cruel and capricious spirit. Take Smilin' Jay Garner. About a month ago, Iraqis everywhere awoke after a night of bad dreams and thought, collectively, gee we'd like this non-Arab speaking weapons salesman to be the absolute Jefe of our brand spankin' new country! We don't want electricity, garbage pickup, safety from robbery, or those stinkin' museums and libraries -- we want a well protected ministry of oil! we want every exile group, as long as it is led by Ahmad Chalabi, to be supplied with American arms! And we want to give them their choice of residence in the wealthy side of Baghdad! And we want hands off Garner to preside over it all! These messages, ectoplasmically and extrasensorally delivered to the very heartland of Iraq -- Washington D.C. -- were not ignored. Smilin' Jay made a triumphant tour of the country. To reassure the Iraqi people, Smilin' Jay even tried to institute a continuity of style with the previous regime: just like Saddam, he disappeared into the presidential palace and was seen rarely thereafter in public.
But alas. The Iraqi people woke up, liberated and democratic, a week ago after a night of pleasant dreams (oh, the tax cuts that danced like sugar plumbs in their heads!) and decided no, Smilin' Jay wasn't the embodiment of Iraqi history. That honor goes, instead, to Kissinger Associates l. Paul Bremer III!
His Thirdness, being blessed by Henry Kissinger, is preparing us for a delicious treat: the high squeals of Christopher Hitchens, who has to maintain his cred by dissing Kissinger - otherwise, he's just another rightwinger in the rat pack - while tergiversating madly to rationalize our pyrate rule in Iraq. This should be good.
The Washington Post recorded L. Paul's historic maiden speech in Iraq. Here's what he said:
"It's a wonderful challenge to help the Iraqi people basically reclaim their country from a despotic regime," Bremer said in a tarmac interview minutes after his plane landed in Basra.
He spent a short while in the southern city before flying to Baghdad, where the civilian reconstruction agency is headquartered.
Asked whether he was, in effect, directing a U.S. plan to colonize Iraq, Bremer said: "The coalition did not come to colonize Iraq. We came to overthrow a despotic regime. That we have done. Now our job is to turn and help the Iraqi people regain control of their own destiny."
A wonderful challenge? Isn't this the neutral language of the over-coached CEO, plotting the downsizing of his company? Whatever else you say about the pirates of yore, at least there was some steel in their yeahs and nays. Here's an anecdote about Blackbeard:
"One night, drinking in his cabin with Hands, the pilot, and another man, Blackbeard, without any provocation, privately draws out a small pair of pistols, and cocks them under the table. Which being perceived by the man, he withdrew and went upon deck, leaving Hands, the pilot, and the Captain together. When the pistols were ready, he blew out the candle and crossing his hands, discharged them at his company. Hands, the master, was shot through the knee and lamed for life; the other pistol did no execution. Being asked the meaning of this, he only answered by damning them, That if he did not now and then kill one of them, they would forget who he was."
Surely L. Paul should consider Teach's way of disposing of extra associates. It would at least add a colorful anecdote to our colorless pillaging expedition.