Can we really have too many Vietnams?
>ON THE RADAR headline: 'Raq 'n' Roll, Baby subhead: Can we really have too many Vietnams? byline: By Steven Wells email@example.com
photo credit: HAWK KRALL--> "Iraq [is] starting to look like Vietnam on speed," writes Frank Rich in his book The Greatest Story Ever Sold, "a quagmire retooled for the MTV generation."
Subtitled The Decline and Fall of Truth From 9/11 to Katrina, Rich's book, recently released in paperback, is vital reading and an even more vital resource.
Jaded liberals have the dreadful habit of dismissing writers like Rich because "everybody knows" Bush sucks. But this president and his gang of Bond villain sidekicks have been so utterly wrong about so much for so long that no human brain is capable of comprehending all the stupidity and venality at the same time.
Barely a day has gone by since Bush declared his candidacy without some crime being committed against democracy, humanity, decency, truth, the reputations of genuine war heroes (Kerry, Murtha and McCain), the image of America abroad, or the integrity of the Constitution. After a certain point the intellect collapses under the sheer weight of detail. All you're left with is "Bush sucks."
Can you--to choose one small instance--remember what actually went down at Abu Ghraib? Try "forced group masturbation, electric shock, rape committed with a phosphorescent stick, the burning of cigarettes in a prisoners' ears, involuntary enemas, and beatings that ended with death." Among other things, some of them involving dogs. It's great to have that kind of detail all in one place, and with an index.
Besides which, not "everybody knows." The evil, incompetent, swaggering fucker is still in power and still doing untold damage to America, and around a third of voters still think he's the bee's knees. Americans and Iraqis are still dying, being hideously disfigured or turned into orphans, widows or cripples by a war that need never have started. Billions of taxpayer dollars are still being squandered, embezzled, doled out to Republican contributors or just given to the rich in tax cuts. (Recent articles in Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone estimate $8.8 billion sent to Iraq--266 tons of it, plastic-wrapped and stacked on palettes--just plain disappeared.)
And there's an entire slate of GOP candidates ready to keep delivering more of the same. More dead, more wounded, more maimed, more traumatized. More shame. More horror. More Abu Ghraibs. More Guantan�mos.
But let's not talk about it. Because "everybody knows."
Rich is meticulous, taking us week by week, lie by lie, smear by smear, corpse by corpse through the stupidest war since the last stupidest war.
Rich is right. Iraq is Vietnam. And what's the betting we'll be fighting another one in 20 or 30 years' time, probably led by a president who spent the war against terror not in the front line but partying hard as a Young Republican coke fiend? I can hardly wait.
PW's Weekend Picks: March 7-9
Calendar: March 5-12
PW's Weekend Picks
Calendar: Feb. 26-March 5
PW's Weekend Picks: Feb. 21-23