i'm with stupid

Sometimes, it does seem like the American unconscious speaks not through our novels or songs, but in our cutesy tshirt phrases. Historians, looking at the Bush epoch, might want to apply the phrase I'm with Stupid. It will explain a lot about the national decline...

Often, LI is blinded by our rationality. For instance, because we believe that it is entirely irrational for the White House, even given that it is presently inhabited by the petulant, death spiraling child , to actually bomb Iran. As for other forms of military intervention, besides the odious and everpresent American use of small secret forces, forget it.

However, we have abundant evidence that Bush will engage in hugely irrational acts, and will be enabled in doing so by the American population. A population that still has not computed the enormity of the fuckup that was Tora Bora, or the meaning of Osama Bin Laden’s continuing happy existence. Requiring a terrorist to maintain a bogus war on terror, the Bushies have kept Osama bin Laden on tap – partly intentionally, partly accidentally. The accidental part is derived from the original conditions of our vanity project in Iraq: here, the war on terror reveals that underneath the feint, it is a war to recolonize the Middle East on the part of an American petro elite that believes it can reverse history and bring back the fifties. This is ironic, since the petro industry actually needs OPEC to keep prices up. But obviously, today’s oil execs are driven by the panic fear of the nineties, when the bottom dropped out of the energy market. The fear that oil prices will once again go down below the 20 dollar a barrel level drives all the petro-carnivores, the cancerous brood that nests around Cheney and has tied a tire around Uncle Sam’s neck and set it on fire. However, their overreach, using American tax dollars and American blood, has backfired big time – the pieces are not going to be picked up in the Gulf Region by some magical combination that leads us to victory. The question is, how is America going to deal with defeat? The war on terrorism is over – to put it in AEI terms: We Lost. All of which means this: dealing with the consequences of that systematic failure has overshadowed apparently peripheral problems, like bin Laden. In those shadows, those problems are building.

All of which leads us to the nuclear crisis we face – in Pakistan. Pakistan possesses both the bomb and a large and powerful constituency for Al Qaeda like politics. And what happened with the bomb and its technology in Pakistan is, shall we say, rather underreported. So we enjoyed the large article by William Langewiesche in the January Atlantic. Oddly enough, it hasn’t gotten a lot of publicity from our cursory survey around the Net – but then, it wouldn’t. The great and real problems facing the world – the environmental crises that are upon us (he says, in Austin, where the temperature today might just climb to 100), the economic crises that are upon us, and the strategic crises that are upon us are all silently exorcized by newspapers that are happy to be Good Leakers, God bless them every one.

Langewiesche’s article is about celebrity as much as it is about the bomb. Abdul Quadeer Khan, the Father of the Pakistan hydrogen bomb, was and is a celebrity of Bollywood proportions. It is his fame and what he did with it that makes the story fascinating on the human level as a sort of Rushdie tale – before Rushdie began repeating himself like some demon possessed clock that had learned it was funny to tell the wrong time.

Tomorrow, we are going to examine the article.