Well, that didn't take long. A mere week after all American combat troops left Iraq, we have American troops engaged in combat in Iraq. Whoa, didn't see that coming! Well of course, this so-called “withdrawal” of combat troops was just the latest con in the ongoing con game called “the war in Iraq”. Anyone with half a brain could tell you that if you have any American troops in Iraq – for any reason – sooner or later they're going to find themselves under attack, at which point they will instantly become – at least temporarily – combat troops. (A similar observation was made years ago, by the way, concerning women in combat. While putting women into direct combat roles is still contrary to regulations, it became clear that putting women into a war zone was the equivalent of putting them into direct combat – and that's where the issue stands... as a “creatively gray” area.)
The point is, when you have a war that's a hoax in its entirety, there's not too much you can do to make it worse; you can only add to the grotesqueness. And none of it represents “progress” -- only a kind of trivial morphing from Perpetual War 1.0 to Perpetual War 1.1. Having fewer Americans killed per unit time in Iraq is a good thing, of course... but I don't detect any drop in expenditures, probably because there hasn't been one. Once the decision is made to spend a certain amount in a certain place, that's pretty much the end of the story... for years, or decades. To spend one dollar less is beyond the capability of Congress... but spending billions more is the easiest thing imaginable to get approved. I love the fact that, on the domestic side, Congress strains at gnats when it comes to budgeting and appropriations, but on the foreign/military side funding bills sail along “like shit through a goose”, as a former boss of mine used to say. And this only reflects our ongoing national priorities, which have been more or less unchanged since 1940 or so – namely, empire-building and military operations above all, and if there's anything left over for the citizenry, well OK, but they always have to be ready to “make sacrifices”. You know, the way the North Koreans have to make sacrifices so Kim Jong-Il has his steady supply of brandy.
But speaking of “leaders”... Tony Blair has come out with the predictably mealy-mouthed and self-serving memoir, and at a recent book signing in Dublin (of all places!) he got thoroughly “egged” and targeted with shoes, in the best Iraqi fashion. Now... given that the Irish hate the Brits, and particularly British prime ministers, just on principal... most of the energy behind this protest seemed to be based on Blair's record as a “war prime minister”. And this is not too hard to credit, given that he came off pretty much as Bush's lap dog... and since Bush was other people's lap dog, what did that make Blair? The lap dog of a lap dog? That's the most humiliating position any human being has been in recently... except for when Biden went to Israel. So in any case, Blair, being part of the so-called “coalition of the willing”, went off to war with bands playing and banners flying... and he has yet to this day to realize that he was thoroughly duped. He has no regrets! And that, it seems to me, says more than anything else about his competence as a leader (not to mention his intelligence).
But “here's a howdy-do”, to quote Gilbert and Sullivan: There have been serious inquiries within Britain as to the rationale for their involvement in the war. Do we see anything comparable on this side of the Atlantic, vis-a-vis George Bush, and now Barack Obama? No. On this recent occasion, Blair was called a “butcher” and a “war criminal”. Protesters chanted that he has “blood on his hands”. One protester attempted to make a citizen's arrest! Now... where do we find anything like this level of energy directed at George Bush? Or Obama, for that matter? To quote Robert Byrd: “Where is the outrage?” It seems that the American public is totally cowed on this issue – there are the occasional mumblings and murmurings, but when it comes to taking the next logical steps, no voices are heard – certainly not in Congress, and not among the general public... and not even in the paleocon or libertarian media. Has anyone petitioned the World Court to put Bush on trial? Not to my knowledge.
I think one reason is that it was fairly clear from the beginning that Bush was nothing but a tool... a figurehead... an empty suit... and that much better minds than his were at the helm and directing our efforts towards war. So in the back of people's minds, they may see Bush as more of a victim than a perpetrator -- or at least as a more or less helpless dupe. The Brits, on the other hand, don't seem to want to grant Blair any of the same consideration. Could it be that, over there, they actually expect leaders to lead? Gracious! It's a good thing we've gotten over that sort of nonsense.
Another disincentive could be the fact that both of the wars Bush started are still going on – thanks to his successor. Thus the total co-opting of the political class has been accomplished, in that the Republicans support the wars because a Republican president started them, and the Democrats support the wars because a Democratic president is continuing them. It is, truly, a brilliant piece of political maneuvering by the Regime – to basically shut down all meaningful protest, and leave it up to the “lunatic fringe”. Even the “tea partiers” are strangely silent about the two wars – yes, they are being run by a president whom they despise, but on the other hand, after so many years of “supporting the troops”, they're not about to “cut and run” at this point.
See, this is the way it is in American politics, and why it makes much more sense to talk about the Regime than about political parties. The Regime wants war; it wants this country bogged down in perpetual wars, and it wants it economically stressed, and preferably bankrupted, by wars. Compared to this overpowering agenda, political parties mean nothing... and the “tea party” movement is already fatally compromised by their unwillingness to come out unambiguously against the twin wars. Only the libertarians and paleocons (most, if not all) can hold their heads high – the rest are all abject slaves.
But at least a few people over in the British Isles have the courage to tell it like it is about one of the more despicable characters in the entire folly... and to take it to the streets. The “tea partiers” think they're so brave... but, in fact, none of what they say is of the slightest concern to the Regime. Now, if they tried actually coming out against the wars... but that's just not going to happen. They could take the example of the brave Dubliners... or they can keep doing what they are doing, which is to allow themselves to get distracted by the pseudo-issues that the Regime drags in front of them as a distraction. Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin should forget about “Times Square mosques”, and even about illegal immigration. None of it matters as long as the American empire continues to grow at the expense of not only American citizens but the rest of the world as well – but if you challenge them on the empire issue, you suddenly find out that they're not all that opposed to big government after all... as long as it does the things they like, and not the things they don't like.