“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Sunday, September 14, 2003


"Ala and his friends - in the local patois - are 'capsilun': the capsule people, part of a drug culture that, in Iraq, has its very roots in violent criminality. Their drugs of choice - Artane, valium and other hypnotics, and powerful anti-epileptics like clonazepam - were the drugs of choice in Abu Ghraib prison, smuggled in by families or sold to inmates by corrupt doctors". -- The Guardian
And thus runs a story in the Guardian about hopped up Baghdadi bandits. Capsilun is too good a term to reserve for those who rely on an all too physical pharamacopeia to get them through the night -- how about those, in D.C., who are drugged on power, arrogance and ignorance? Much worse drugs, all the way around. The Washington Post this Sunday is full of their bellowing.

Not that the Post is against their bellowing. One must always remember that Iraq was D.C.'s war, and D.C. is a Republican establishment town. The Washington Post was in the forefront of the half brightest and second best that afflicted the country with this war; it was the WP that gave its seal of approval to the Jessica Lynch myth, and to the various ridiculous versions of the weapons of mass destruction (I think that it is still not clear, to the great mass of Americans, that on the day we attacked Saddam, almost a quarter of his country was not only free of his influence, but had been for almost ten years. How is that for an imminent threat? A country that dare not even attack its seceding upper half); the WP has a bloodthirsty editorial page that has calmed down, somewhat, since the summer's debacle in Iraq. The big shift, however, has been with the dwindling liberal contingent on the paper, who can be relied on to talk about how we have to now take up the fight. The new liberal meme is to proclaim both America's moral responsibilitiy to Iraq and to dismiss the idea that Iraq could, at present, raise its own army or security -- of course, these would be riddled with minions of evil. Far better for those essential functions to fall on the minions of good, ie the US forces. Until, in the year 2020, the only people signing up to join Iraq's armed forces are thoughtful readers of John Rawls and Hilary Clinton.

The head Defense Department capsilun is Donald Rumsfeld, who has still not been questioned about how much of the 87 billion dollars we are potentially committing to Iraq is earmarked to restore the structures that were looted in the first, heady days of the liberation, while the Americans benignly looked on. The WP has noticed that some people are after Rumsfeld's scalp. It goes through the Rolodex, stopping heavily at former Army secretary White -- I mean, aren't all issues in America about the far right versus the less far right? But we really loved the end of the article, which was a big kiss for D.C. thinking:

"The view among many in the administration, Congress and military interviewed for this article was that Iraq likely would simmer down in the coming months and that security conditions would improve, in part, they said, because of the extraordinary efforts by the 122,000 troops deployed there. "

Simmering down, eh? Like a classroom of unruly kids. Or a big silly stew. This is the kind of non-thinking that the D.C. Bush crowd does so well -- it poses the question, are you for the 122,000 hard working troops in Iraq, or aren't you? Instead of the question, what the hell is "simmer down" supposed to mean? The extraordinary efforts of the troops -- who are being put out on an extraordinary limb by the extraordinary mindset of the Defense Department -- have little, really, to do with whether Iraq simmers down. On the weekend after the Fallujah massacre, one would expect a little more ... perspecuity from the makers and promoters of this unnecessary war. Apparently, the mental sloth of the supply-sider has spread from Bush's economic advisors to the military advisors. Just as tax cuts bring about unexplained and magical rises in tax revenues, so does straining the ability of an undermanned force in pursuit of an ignorant policy that expresses no intelligible goal bring about a general simmering down of the great Iraqi soup.

At LI, we think that soup, unsimmered, is going to spill all over our laps. That is, if we have the current crew of incompetents around mismanaging things for the next six months. But if we do, no doubt the WP will still be firing off just such probing articles.

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