Edge of the West
WASHINGTON D.C.—Has cronyism given way to fetishism? The walls in the office of Joshua Brewster Bolten, new chief of staff for the president of the United States, are lined with close-up pictures of his boss's hands. Not that there's anything wrong with it.
Good hands are hard to find and I knew we were in them when they rolled out that Iraqi-villains card deck thing- with Saddam Hussein the designated Ace of Spades- a few weeks after the US Army stormed into Baghdad three years ago, even though whoever came up with the idea is probably a couple cards short of a full deck. It reminded us, after all, that although many a tyrant has to fall, it's all in the game.
Yes, I knew we were in good hands even though that road to Baghdad was a ghost road, undefended, allowing our army to roll in there faster than you could say Ahmaninejad. It turns out to be kind of like that cartoon where Roadrunner darts full-speed to the brink of a cliff only to stop on a dime while the unsuspecting Wile E. Coyote in full chase flies right on over the edge. Was that the clever Ace of Spade's plan all along, to let the overzealous invaders in without so much as a whimper, and then unleash all of hell's fury in the form of urban guerilla warfare that has now taken at least 2500 American lives?
We were still in good hands, and stylish hands, just six weeks after the invasion when George W. Bush, calling himself the "War President", stepped out onto the deck of an aircraft carrier dressed in full-out jet-fighter-pilot drag, looking for all the world like an action figure from Toys R Us, "The Decider" if you will, and declared to all who would listen, "Mission accomplished."
A few months later, when we finally found the Wile E. old Ace of Spades himself, hiding in a hole in the ground, and immediately got him an appointment with a menacing-looking dentist, I knew for sure that we were in good hands because that video of Saddam's mouth being probed went all around the world, serving notice that we will extract information using whatever methods necessary, "Marathon Man" methods included.
And I liked the hands we were in when our leaders started giving out nifty names to people and things other than themselves- names like Dr. Germ, Chemical Ali, Curveball- although you'd think maybe they might have come up with something a little more reassuring than "Curveball" for the intelligence agent who gave them the false information they needed to justify war, but nobody's perfect.
Oh my, then they started naming the bombs.
We're proud owners now of the Daisy Cutter, the Whiskey Pete, the Bunker Buster, and, sit down- this now- Divine Strake, the name given to a 700-ton mega-monster scheduled to be tested in the desert near Las Vegas in June. The Department of Energy, like they don't have better things to do what with the exploding price of gasoline, released a statement assuring neighboring citizens that the mushroom cloud they will see rising in the distance from Divine Strake is of no danger to them. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
I was reminded again of the good hands we're in when Bush said about Bin Laden, "I just don't spend that much time on him," because what he does spend it on is his ongoing 3-year war in Iraq of which he said, "We will win and it will be a major blow to Bin Laden." Some would argue that victory in Iraq appears to be more of a major blow in Bin Laden's favor, as the secular state of Iraq, formerly led by the Al Quada-hating Saddam, appears to be transforming in a Baghdad minute into the fundamentalist Islamic state Bin Laden could have only wished for in his wildest dreams- with us doing the dirty work for him.
How sweet the fruits of victory. Afghanistan, our other "liberateds", are feeling liberated enough to show off their new-found freedom by doing things like sentencing guys to death for converting from Islam into Christianity.
This just in. Right-wing commentator for the Fox News Channel, Tony Snow, has been hired as the new Bush press secretary. Taking one for the good-hands team, Snow will get less money to shill for the President in the White House than he did on Fox.
And with the floodgates now wide open that allow arch-conservative broadcasters into government, rumors are flying that Bill O'Reilley stands poised to take over the State Department, bringing his signature "shut up" to world diplomacy; Sean Hannity will take over at F.E.M.A. with his vast experience covering national disasters like Natalee Holloway and Terri Schiavo; and Rush Limbaugh- opiate addict or no opiate addict- will take the helm at the Department of Health and Human Services, bringing much-needed euphoric energy to a downbeat capital.
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