We have not bathed Paul Bremer in our usual appellations, because we can't think what to call him. Alan kidded us about our Smilin' Jay phrase -- he noted that it had not spread over the Internet. In fact, we not only originated it, we were its sole adopters. By some accident, the phrase did fit -- as courtiers in the State and Pentagon continue their gladiatorial leaking contests, we are learning that Garner, with what one report describes as a 'backslapping' style , was as alien to the Iraqi expectation of leadership as Bambi would have been,
J.Paul, however, is more of a Reaganaut. We are assured that his authoritarian style is more to the liking of the masses. While Smilin' Jay imitated Saddam by essentially vanishing into the presidential palaces, Bremer seems intent on imitating Saddam's press secretary, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, by subordinating the standard of veracity to the enthusiasm of the pronouncement. Thus he has dissolved the Iraqi army, suggested that the interim government start on smaller things -- like judging quilting contests or something -- and is continually elaborating the every day in every way, life is getting better and better message. In today's Washington Post, he allows himself the standard rhetorical wallow in the joys of free enterprise. Joys that are being experienced on the street corners of Baghdad, apparently, where looted goods and weaponry are being sold with the kind of pedlar's vigor that once made the Yankee a proverbial figure of fun. There's something a little heart sick about this eloge of commerce among the smoking ruins of the country. The American media has decided to finesse the evident disaster in Iraq by resorting to schizophrenia; they issue one article from their embeds that consists pretty much of occupation p.r. -- then they issue color pieces that are more in the tone of the Lamentations of Jeremiah. No attempt is made to make these p-s.o.v. cohere.