Thursday, September 29, 2005

Operation Enduring Failure

Martin van Creveld, peering through a glass darkly, foresaw this spectre of defeat in an essay called Why Iraq Will End as Vietnam Did.

"[He] who fights against the weak – and the rag-tag Iraqi militias are very weak indeed – and loses, loses. He who fights against the weak and wins also loses. To kill an opponent who is much weaker than yourself is unnecessary and therefore cruel; to let that opponent kill you is unnecessary and therefore foolish. As Vietnam and countless other cases prove, no armed force however rich, however powerful, however, advanced, and however well motivated is immune to this dilemma. The end result is always disintegration and defeat; if U.S troops in Iraq have not yet started fragging their officers, the suicide rate among them is already exceptionally high. That is why the present adventure will almost certainly end as the previous one did. Namely, with the last US troops fleeing the country while hanging on to their helicopters’ skids."

via Wolcott

An insightful writeup of the coming fallout from this failure.


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

BushCo the Movie, Starring Steven Segal

I've been overwhelmed by keeping up on the events of Katrina, the most fucked up photo op platform for Bush that the faux press has participated in. Unfortunately for the ratings based press corp, even the soulless producers were ill equipped to deal with their location reporters reversion to human form. When they were faced with the actual human cost of Bush's failure, they were unable to summon their usual unctuousness and whitewash the whole fiasco. They were unable--for a moment--of making Bush a hero yet again for his unrivalled skill ot being able to stand still, squint and force out some sequence of words that--if you tried real hard--sounded almost like english and almost like sincerity.

So, we have a window here where things are fucked up because they are fucked up, instead of the media doing the Our Society is In Danger because A White Girl is Missing and if she is missing than you are next slippery-slope bullshit.

And then I read this:

Lots of people are, with good reason, somewhat fascinated by tales of the medieval Vikings and the classical Icelandic sagas make for interesting reading. Contemporary Scandinavia -- prosperous, homogenous, peaceful, egalitarian -- is infinitely duller and can only generate heroic tales by importing significant irrealism and transposing the setting to the unremittingly hostile climate of Greenland. There's surely something regrettable about this, but it would be moronic to deliberately re-engineer 11th century social conditions in order to generate better stories.

Updated: The media appears to be helpless to fact check the most outlandish rumours (massive deaths, child rapes in the Superdome). But it's not helplessness that causes them to trumpet any salacious idiocy, it's because it's just a more exciting narrative. So what if it's false? Then they get the opportunity to tut-tut over the media afterwards, like it's Those Other People up to their Old Antics and act as though they had nothing to do with it.

Yes, we're living in a Steven Segal movie. Every other action hero at leasts goes to the gym, gets in shape, and takes some real fight coaching. Segal has not use for this--quick camera cuts and angles are utilized to make his hilarious chop-socky look almost not like a demented flailing of limbs at all who confront him. And his blousy, long-sleeved shirts cover up the sagging flesh. No shirtless scenes in a Segal fight! And so it is with our hapless president. His only interest is having the production company make it look like he's doing something. He has no interest in actually doing anything other than have the truly spineless press corp and the sycophantic republicans act their part--or else.


Monday, September 12, 2005

No Car, No Worth--Die, Bipeds!

The New York Times reports on hotel guests, in town for an convention of emergency medical specialists. Here's what happened to them:

The hotel allowed its guests and nearly 250 residents from the nearby neighborhood to stay until Thursday, Sept 1. With its food exhausted, the hotel's manager finally instructed people to leave. Hotel staff handed out maps to show the way to the city's convention center, to which thousands of other evacuees had fled.

A group of nearly 200 guests gathered to make their way to the center together, the four said. But on the way, they heard that the convention center had become a dangerous, unsanitary pit from which no one was being evacuated. So they stopped in front of a New Orleans police command post near the Harrah's casino on Canal Street.

A New Orleans police commander whom none of the four could identify told the crowd that they could not stay there and later told them that buses were being brought to the Crescent City Connection, a nearby bridge to Jefferson Parish, to carry them to safety.

The crowd cheered and began to move. Suspicious, Mr. Bradshaw said that he asked the commander if he was sure that buses would be there for them. "We'd had so much misinformation by that point," Mr. Bradshaw said.

"He looked all of us in the eye and said, 'I swear to you, there are buses waiting across the bridge,' " Mr. Bradshaw said.

But on the bridge there were four police cruisers parked across some lanes. Between six and eight officers stood with shotguns in their hands, the witnesses said. As the crowd approached, the officers shot over the heads of the crowd, most of whom retreated immediately, Mr. Bradshaw, Ms. Slonsky and Ms. Golden and her son said.

Mr. Bradshaw said the officers were allowing cars to cross the bridge, some of them loaded with passengers. Only pedestrians were being stopped, he said. Chief Lawson said he believed that only emergency vehicles were allowed through.

Mr. Bradshaw said he approached the officers and begged to be allowed through, saying a commander in New Orleans had told them buses were waiting for them on the other side.

"He said that there are no buses and that there is no foot traffic allowed across the bridge," Mr. Bradshaw said.

Doesn't this seem like some B-movie horror script, except that the cops have been told that the brain eating zombies are notable only for the fact that they dont' have cars? "They will come on foot! They look just like other people, but don't be fooled! In there wake comes the vile brown hoards that destroy property values!"

With Republicans in charge, it's always about property and not people. And not the long term view, just a relentlessly short-sighted, unlearning, unquestioning, reptilian response: "Them not like us! Them bad tribe!" All higher intelligence is put to use in rationalizing the reptilian behavior into palatable and reasonable narrative for public dissemination.


Friday, September 02, 2005

MSM No Longer the Washington Generals?

I'm getting the impression recently that the MSM has decided to actually step up and not be the Washington Generals to the BushCo Globetrotters. They used to able to pull off easy layups of any lameass excuse every time they were exposed as total failures but this time feels a little different, if only a little.

However the "Nobody Could Have Possibly Imagined (insert latest catastrophe)" seems to actually getting old with people. It's almost as if it's actually dawning on these dimwits that BushCo is really as bad as their results would indicate. But that's assuming you think with your own mind, not the Rush hive mind or the corporate zombie lickspittle minds of the MSM androids.

Maybe I should start a free t-shirt offer to the first person to predict the number of days from now that we're back to usual fare of celebrity obsession, missing blonde girl, chat room predator threat stuff. How long before the MSM totally forget that the next catastrophe will be just as bad if not worse because they won't give it any coverage Sorry, it's just not as lucrative as their usual conjured up melodramatic garbage.

At least there a few in the print media who know whats going on:

At a fundamental level, I'd argue, our current leaders just aren't serious about some of the essential functions of government. They like waging war, but they don't like providing security, rescuing those in need or spending on preventive measures. And they never, ever ask for shared sacrifice.
Yesterday Mr. Bush made an utterly fantastic claim: that nobody expected the breach of the levees. In fact, there had been repeated warnings about exactly that risk.
So America, once famous for its can-do attitude, now has a can't-do government that makes excuses instead of doing its job. And while it makes those excuses, Americans are dying.
Well said.


Meet Mike Brown, the Who Could've Imagined Guy!

If the Fire Chief of your town says "Who could've imagined a fire?" after a fire, it's OK to question their credentials. So Mike Brown, the head of the Agency that has Federal Emergency Management in it's fucking name is all over the teevee making sure people understand that nobody but nobody could have predicted there would be, you know, a disaster when a natural catastrophe that is bound to happen at some point, you know, happens. From DailyKos we find out why:

Yes, that's right... the man responsible for directing federal relief operations in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, sharpened his emergency management skills as the "Judges and Stewards Commissioner" for the International Arabian Horses Association... a position from which he was forced to resign in the face of mounting litigation and financial disarray.

I watched this guy squirming around like the rat guy in Harry Potter and I thought I sas a thought bubble over his head: "When will people learn to lower lower their expectations of us?"

"When there is no lion on the mountain, the monkey will rule" --Confucious

Mike Brown has a notable history at FEMA!

U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla) has urged President Bush to fire Michael Brown as undersecretary of the Homeland Security Department in charge of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Wexler cited reports in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that FEMA under Brown's management inappropriately gave away $30 million in disaster relief funds to people in the Miami, Florida, area even though they were not affected by Hurricane Frances, which made landfall more than 100 miles away.

Later Update: Looks like what New Orleans is getting is "appropriate"

In a May 15, 2001, appearance before a Senate appropriations subcommittee, Allbaugh [then head of FEMA] signaled that the new, stripped-down approach would be applied at FEMA as well. "Many are concerned that federal disaster assistance may have evolved into both an oversized entitlement program and a disincentive to effective state and local risk management," he said. "Expectations of when the federal government should be involved and the degree of involvement may have ballooned beyond what is an appropriate level."

Jeebus, how many cover stories on gutted FEMA and looming disasters are there? It certainly is beginning to look like the only people who didn't expect a hurricane disaster are in the government.