19 January 2007

The Middle East Act II, Scene i : The Winds of Baghdad

To those of you coming late to the play, Act I was a well produced but poorly staged affair with little to recommend it in the beginning. So take a seat and I will catch you up as best I can.

In that first Act Radical Islamists started things off quickly and attacked the United States with their overthrow of the Shah in 1979. America, so befuddled after the experiences in Vietnam and mired in the Cold War quagmire could not even figure out that it was being attacked and did nothing to redress those attacks. By not being able to figure out that the world is a worse place when America flees from her Friends and Allies and betrays her idealistic concept of universal liberty, the foes of the Nation pressed her hard and the litany of death, destruction and spreading war are all due to America not being America. That long act of disillusionment had a crashing and stunning change-around by the end of Scene ii, in which not only did the Cold War play get interrupted in mid-Act and get pulled off the stage but those attending this new play got to see America try to be a strange multi-culti, love everyone everywhere and involve every single Nation in making Foreign Policy. Because of some adulation from the Cold Wars demise, that worked for about a year, which was long enough to put paid to an expansion by the dictator Saddam in the Middle East.

Those who came in on Scene ii got to witness America's return to strong indeterminism and its inability to promulgate any Foreign Policy that did not have a Cold War chilliness to it. Most of those same policies led to worse and worse things during Scene ii, with multiple bombings of US Embassies, the movement of further Islamic Radicalism and the rise of the Transnational Terrorist networks aided and abetted by Nation States, but no longer beholden to them. Thus strange sounding groups attacked and attacked America again and again, even in New York, but the responses could not be keyed to *anything* as America did not understand this as warfare and could not come to terms with fact that war had been declared upon it by non-Nation State groups.

Now those folks off to the side, do you see them? The ones with cobwebs, pallid stature, and reading from those scripts with icicles and cold vapor seeping from them... yes, those ones in the purple outfits and lace, the very ones! Those are Congress.

It seems that when the Cold War play shut down and they trotted over here to this play, they kept their old scripts with them! So we have had very strange goings-on when the spotlight suddenly turns on them, like that one in the Jesters outfit with money dripping from his pockets and oily shoes... see him? Thats John Murtha, and he has been playing the money backed buffoon that cannot even stick around to help people after a genocide and puts forward that Haiti is a perfect place for a war. Over there, that white haired fellow with the scissors and white-out canister? Yes, the one with the several different guises on simultaneously! That is John McCain and he can't even figure out what congressional responsibility is or even figure out that "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech"! I know they must be the comedic relief but they brought those cobwebs with them... I don't think that they are mere stage dressing at this point.

In any event these bozos upon the Hill have been so interested in internecine conflict that they believe they should stretch it to Foreign Policy. Scene ii of Act I was not helped by a buffoon President who 'talked a good game' but couldn't figure out which end of the National Security apparatus got used for what. What can you say about a President that sends the FBI out to investigate acts of War? Amazing, isn't it? Well, everyone knew that very temporary lull as the Cold War play ended and this one was going full throttle wouldn't last and Foreign Affairs has been this political football sitting out there... see it? ....yes, the overlarge football on the front of the stage on the table with the glaring spotlight on it! And NONE of the American actors can even look at it! It has not budged since... well... since the play began, really. It defrosted for some time in Scene ii.

After multiple attacks on US Embassies, on the US homeland, against military personnel at sea and abroad, Scene ii, Act I was very disheartening and the idiocy of the election that went on I am *sure* was meant of comedic relief, but everyone took it so seriously... no not for National Security implications, but for inane political backbiting and vilification. Seems the authors of the play stole some pages from early US politics on that, although no duels have been witnessed. Anyways, the man who did make it, the current President off to the other side there... yes, the one in the red suit juggling chainsaws, cream pies and lit sticks of dynamite, has been having to put up with the peanut gallery press hitting him with spitballs throughout the latter part of Scene ii and continuously since. That said Scene ii didn't end with that configuration there now, but with the cream pies being thrown asunder right up until the attacks on 9/11. Scene iii was one of those sudden, dramatic turnabouts in which it appears only a few actors have actually gotten the revised scripts.

Scene iii was a heavily made one of combat, warfare, and Congresscritters reading from their Cold War scripts, although the spotlight doesn't seem too well coordinated with them, and one or two got caught asleep on the backbench they sit on... folks in Mexican and other garb have been crawling under that since they took their seats after pronouncing they would do something about those folks crawling under there in Scene i. Most of us in the audience figures them to be seatwarmers as that is the only way they can stay alive after the continual cold generator outfits they wear keep them firmly in the Cold War. Yes, that is John McCain giving pronouncements from it... and Murtha and Kerry and... well, they do appear to be fixtures on the landscape these days. Oh, that one crawling under? Hezbollah. The Iranian regime installed its First Foreign Legion in Lebanon early in Act I, Scene i and for all their goose stepping around people can't seem to figure out just what they are on stage and no one will actually *call* them a Foreign Legion... go figure. But Scene iii took place in Afghanistan and Iraq to help start to get the terrorist training centers out of the way, which seemed pretty important because of 9/11 at the end of Scene ii.

Whats that you say? Logic? Cause and effect? Not understanding that not actually addressing problems makes them worse and running away from them makes those same problems lethal? No, that is expecting far too much of the American actors there... they all have so many chilly pages from the Cold War that even icicles still hang from the rafters over there by the President and the audience by the Congressional side has had to move back some rows and put on multiple layers of clothing. Doing nothing about Hezbollah coming in? Well, do you see mime over there? Yes in the triple-layer union suit by Congress... he is doing his 'virtual wall' impression... that and the congresscritter on the end is feeding nickels into the revolving door arrangement as they refuse to pay for anything better. So, sadly, it appears that logic has been removed from all of the lines that all of the actors speak, or so badly twisted as to be fantastical. Except for those with the ice cubes dripping from their mouths, and those leaden bits of prognostication don't really go anywhere.

Those folks, way in the background pushing on the scenery to topple over the revolving door, back bench and most of that side of the stage, you say? They are the secessionary elements that refuse to have anything to do with anyone else, save sing 'Kumbaya' now and again. Yes, they wear 'Che' shirts for a reason... notice that they are made of ice, also. I think the program refers to them as the 'glacial contingent' for being locked in ice and continually moving southwards. They also put forward placards with those coming under the Congressional bench every so often proclaiming that America needs illegal labor, while those folks over at the other side of the stage throwing eggs at them are the unemployed Citizenry.

So Scene iii was going merrily along with Murtha and Kerry putting on their Vietnam uniforms and making pronouncements and then hurriedly changing back to their normal clothes, although Kerry has had his 'magic hat' on for some time now. It apparently has a tinfoil lining. He and a bunch of other frosted bozos have had all sorts of reports read to them took part in votes against Iraq and condemning Saddam all through Scene ii and then a man came around with a rubber mallet to bonk each of them on the noggin to make them forget everything that they had ever said or heard in that regard. That was precious to see, but Kerry does have his own mallet for self-bonking and he changes his attitude about every 15 minutes.

That election was actually *worse* than the 2000 one and the donning and taking off of uniforms by all and sundry has made those doing so comical all out of proportion to their expertise. Every so often one of them will pick up that dunce cap, last put on by Senator Reed, and ask to have Islamofascism explained to them... again. But that didn't stop the actual actions of the soldiers who seem to actually HAVE A SCRIPT and were performing all out of expectations based on any war the US has ever fought.

The glasses? Oh, Congress, the gallery and various others put them on to see their Rose Colored view of the future and then complain bitterly that nothing is reaching up to that standard of perfection. Mind you they don't actually tell you what that standard *is*, which apparently is forgotten the moment the glasses come off and they are all dumb-struck when they have them on. What the bonking, glasses, and so on all going on at the same time, you ask? Why yes they are, and it has been especially comical with the Congresscritters, although less so with those Frozen Generals that get cycled through every so often to pontificate on things from ages past in warfare. Still for all the mayhem going on center stage they are a comedic relief, of sorts.

The end of Act I, Scene iii was apparently coming to a grand conclusion with full Constitutional governments in Afghanistan and Iraq standing up, dead enders fighting off until the dead end and such like. Really quite grand, if you don't mind the naysaying, rose-colored tinted expectations and other bits and pieces continually being cast about on-stage. The Iraqis did have this strange expectation that our troops had money bags to hand out and bribe everyone! Quite a shock when the scripts started to get handed out and they realized that they had been given pencils to start writing in their parts.

They are still confused on that, somewhat, while the Afghanis preferred to bring out their ancient British quills and bottles of ink and slowly go through precision lettering exercises. That has worked better than this penciled in affair in Iraq. We all expected Scene iii to end and the Act to end with the REAL quagmire that showed up in NOLA, and with the muddy footprints and such all around and people wanting to build walls around sinking land in a swamp! Seems Congress had created its own quagmire and gotten stuck in it! That was grandly funny, save for the audience members too close to the stage... they got quite wet and such and didn't like the mud flung at THEM by Congress and the gallery and such like. That was a great prelude to the Iraqi elections and such! What a contrast in competence that was between the ineffectual and sanctimonious Congress and the professional US Armed Forces. Surely, we all thought, that we would get a between-Act intermission to take in what happened. But the stagers of this surprised everyone and the entire center stage is on a turntable!

Slowly it started to turn and the Act II, Scene i opened in Lebanon! They had never used that turntable in all of Act I and now they used it to shift the entire focus of the play and we were so amazed that an intermission wasn't needed. So sorry you missed that!

When we all came to this play we thought for sure that it was in the 'Drama' category, but, instead, it has turned into a 'Comedy' and even descended into 'Farce'! In truth most of the Congressional side over there has been farcical all along, but when the President put down his juggling instruments for a few moments and announced he would now espy the Foreign Policy, he put on his Admiralty Jacket, Cap and had the spy glass handed to him by Ms. Rice. Surely, we thought, he would finally look Front and Center to the big football in the glaring spotlight! Or at least to the actual center of the stage and find a way to address it. Or even to the folks crawling under the Congressional seatwarmers. But it was not to be, alas! He turned and we could all see emblazoned on the back of the Jacket: United States of Titanic! He looked far off into the darkness of the back of the stage and pronounced that an iceberg was seen and that we should merrily steam in front of it! How quickly the farcical elements were brought on!

Most of the peanut gallery of the Press then charged forward to center stage and started holding mock battles, had mock casualties paraded around in multiple places, and generally, started to declaim all of their creation as the actual war going on in Lebanon! The actors that were already there with their blood stained Hezbollah banners then started to do likewise and the treatment given was, indeed, farce as the declaration of 'fake, but accurate' was heard again and again and again. And when anyone pointed out that they were, indeed, making this stuff up, they attacked those who questioned them viciously. They then started to take in factbooks and rip out pages and put in their own with crayoned in numbers and start reporting on those. Even worse are the ones who step forward to take up their Mitre of the Media and proclaim that any political party that is well armed and attacks and intimidates its own people is legitimate in their eyes! Then each of them started pulling out various hats to wear and would swap between their 'reporter', 'journalist', 'commentator', and 'analyst' hats constantly, often forgetting which hat they had on and what they were actually saying. Mind you, Israel did defend herself well, Hezbollah got its fanny spanked and things continued on in their slow way in Iraq, with the Iraqis still scribbling in their scripts as they went on. Luckily all those with the media have now donned yellow shirts and headbands, so spotting them is very, very easy.

Ah, you ask about those men off to the side all hunkered down in rubble and everyone firing at them and why they have dayglo painted targets on shirts? Those poor fellows had been one of the 'Legitimate Armed Political Parties' in Palestine. It seems that they were actually so foolish as to believe their own jargon and actually did run for elections! Why is that a bad thing you ask? Well, it turns out the authors of the play had the PLO realize that something was up and so they made sure that their enemies WON the election! In all the disbelief the PLO 'took the money' and ran off stage then came back with their AK-47's and RPGs, all the while Hamas was having to put down their weapons, look at empty bank accounts, corrupt intermediaries and put on those self-same dayglo overshirts. The howls of laughter from the audience at the stunned look on the faces of Hamas was so loud even the press got drowned out! The general running around there since then with all sorts of petty proclamations and looking under mattresses for stashes of cash and begging for anyone to help them has been most amusing.

Who are those folks over there by the Syrian flag? You mean the scientists in lab coats and such? Ah! Well those are the various nuclear scientists that have showed up from the old Iraqi Regime, Iran, and ex-Russian Republics. And Bashir al-Assad is running the 3 card monte table his father set up for him so that they can continue to accrue WMD components while just looking like petty tyrants. The Soviets felt a bit swindled, but that hasn't stopped their Russian successors from trying their hand at the game. Iran has been a big backer of the game and looks a bit greedy at the stockpiles that the Assad family has been able to accrue over the past couple of decades. Now Iran, the audience was led to believe, was sloshing with petro-dollars to play this game, too! But, it has turned out that the oil they tramp around and that people slip over on their section of the stage is no mere stage dressing but an actual destruction of their own infrastructure by negligence. So that is worrying, to say the least, as the number of terrorists slipping around there are quite numerous.

Just recently the President put on his Commander in Chief hat and has grandly pronounced a change in tactics. Now, what has been mirthful, in the extreme, is that he proudly reads from that Big Book of Tactics and everyone is calling it Strategy! Meanwhile the Big Book of Strategy hasn't been touched since the actual invasion of Iraq and just sits there with a bit of dust on it. It is pretty hard to chisel into the thing, so it is no wonder that the President doesn't like to approach it.

Now that brings you up to date on the players on the stage for the closing down of Act II, Scene i! The drama is limited, the melodrama is omnipresent and the pure farce is handed out at nearly every turn.

Apparently the Football of Foreign Policy is not only invisible to the actors on stage but highly radioactive as no one wants to approach it.

I am quite sure that no one will do that in Scene ii, either.

If we survive it.

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