Monday, December 04, 2006

Bush the great surrealist - Niall Ferguson - Los Angeles Times

premonitions of civil war - Salvador Dali

David Seaton's News Links
Niall Ferguson is an unapologetic imperialist and certainly very conservative, closer to a 'vieux-con' than a neocon. He is however a man of interesting insights such as the following, "The great category error of our time is to equate radical Islamism with fascism. If you actually read what Osama bin Laden says, it's clearly Lenin plus the Koran. It's internationalist, revolutionary, and anticapitalist-rhetoric far more of the left than of the right. And radical Islamism is good at recruiting within our society, within western society generally. In western Europe, to an extent people underestimate here, the appeal of radical Islamism extends beyond Muslim communities.", which is one of the most intelligent things I've ever read about bin Laden and Islam's future in the west. For his unabashed advocation of imperialism, Ferguson, a professor at Harvard and Cambridge, was once a favorite of the neocons. One can see in this article from the Los Angeles Times, that he is washing his hands of them and all who sail in them. He also takes the lead in discovering the Surrealist vein of Bush.The idea is beginning to take hold that Bush like Captain Queeg in "The Caine Mutiny" is not in his right mind, is a danger to the ship and must be relieved of command. Those Americans who have always laughed patronizingly at Latin America's military coups are in a position to finally understand how their seeds take root when systemic, political, decadence reigns. DS
Abstract: In Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse-Five," the hero has a hallucination — or, perhaps, a vision. A veteran of the strategic bombing of Germany, he turns on his television to be confronted by the uncanny spectacle of history played in reverse. American planes fly backward over Germany, sucking the bombs upward and miraculously extinguishing the flames sweeping through Dresden.(...) I wonder if a similar vision has flickered tantalizingly through the mind of the Iraq Study Group's James A. Baker III: a vision of the Iraq war in reverse. American soldiers, some dead, some maimed, would pick themselves up from the dust of Mesopotamia. Iraqi insurgents would suck the rocket-propelled grenades out of the American Humvees and allow them to reverse all the way back to their bases. Saddam Hussein would be freed from jail, then taken to a hole in the ground where his beard would withdraw back into his chin. After a while, all the Americans would gather in Baghdad and cheer as a statue of Hussein was put back on a plinth. Symbolically, a Stars and Stripes flag would be used to unveil it. As a parting act of philanthropy, U.S. planes would suck dangerous explosives out of Iraqi power stations, ridding the country of the only weapons of mass destruction that were ever there. Unfortunately, time's arrow travels in only one direction, though its precise arc can never be predicted. We are where we are, and there is no going back.(...) On Thursday, Bush struck again. "This business about graceful exit," he told reporters, "just simply has no realism to it at all." Yes, to hell with realism. As for talking to the Iranians (another study group priority). to hell with that too. "Iraqis are plenty capable of running their own business," the president declared, "and they don't need foreign interference from neighbors that will be destabilizing the country." Just in case Baker missed that, the president threatened Tehran with "isolation" if it does not abandon its nuclear program. Only one man in the world can outdo Bush when he is in this kind of Dali-esque form — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Connoisseurs of his surrealist style were given a treat last week in the form of a letter from Ahmadinejad "To the American People."(...) When confronted with such master practitioners of the politics of surrealism, it's hard to know how far back you'd have to go to sort this whole mess out. To find a credible Iraqi prime minister, I'd say you'd need to rewind the tape to 2004, when the opportunity was missed to crush Sadr's Mahdi army. To get to the last credible American president, you'd need to get to 2000. and give the election to Gore. But to find an Iranian leader who wasn't a dangerous fanatic? All the way back to 1979, before the revolution, I fear. Yes, it's been a pretty long road to this slaughterhouse. But, as Vonnegut says, so it goes. READ IT ALL

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