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This Is The End

Here are two articles that, read in conjunction, should scare the festering shit out of you:

"War Signals?":

As a strike group of six US naval vessels prepares to deploy to the Persian Gulf, wary critics of the Bush Administration and members of the military are raising flags that an "October surprise" attack on Iran may be imminent.

"The End Times Hits Primetime":

Karl Rove and Co. may be flirting with selling the public the same thing cult leaders throughout history have sold their followers: the afterlife.

The first article should be self-explanatory. The second claims that many in the current US administration are readers of a novel which claims that bombing the right places is the best way to trigger the Second Coming.

No, I don't know what to do about it. Protesting automatically makes you a member of the fringe and doesn't so much grant you the power of invisibility as force it upon you. Anyway, I'm sure many Democrats wouldn't protest the use of force in Iran because, well, they don't want to be known as the party that kept Jesus from coming back.

I find myself hoping that the nation's military will disobey the nation's commander-in-chief. This may be one of those times when the prospects of the many ride entirely on the whims of the few.

If you think I'm exaggerating: remember a couple months ago, when the main talking point that greeted Israel's invasion of Lebanon was "IT'S WORLD WAR THREE!"? And remember when moderate Condi claimed the Lebanese civilian casualties were the "birth pangs of the new Middle East"? Well, in my bedroom is a pamplet that someone left wedged in my door that shows an evil pregnant lady, captioned "BIRTH PANGS OF THE TRIBULATION HOUR". This is absolute proof that when people talk about birth pangs, the world's children should not be rejoicing.

Even if you subscribe to the doubtful theory that there are some things the current US administration is not willing to do to achieve its ends -- and God knows lately those ends have not included "making itself look good" -- you have to agree that the main wellspring of administration policy seems to be satirical cartoons. Every time cartoonists try to find a way to pointedly exaggerate what's going on, before long that IS what's going on.

You also have to agree that once the administration has convinced itself something is the case, no force on earth can change their minds. Why should they? They already have their one-act script:

Once there was a nation. This nation was called America. And then, one day, everybody hated America because it was free.

Except Jesus. He liked us.


-- and it's too good a script to change at this point in post-production. Even though it's not really the documentary it claims to be.

The idea of a script figures prominently in everything these guys do. A couple of years ago, I planned to write up the ways our war in Iraq resembled the French strategy in World War One. (And, yes, comparing America's leaders with the French is meant to be shocking). Iraq has many fewer dead than World War One (or World War Three), but in both wars three things figure prominently: a continuing conviction at the top that the enemy was being soundly defeated (even though, in France, the Germans were killing twice as many French as the French were killing Germans), the hysterical nationalistic chest-beating in the media, and the corresponding near-complete lack of press access to what was actually going on.

Not that the press minded. It served everybody's interests to claim that the Germans (or the insurgents) were about to be defeated, when real intelligence would have plainly laid out that this was not the case. Nor were the French (or us) interested in the enemy's real strategy, or the aims it was trying to achieve. No, the script clearly stated "The enemy is being defeated", and they were going to get it right if it took all night. Or all their young men.

Still, it's just possible that Iraq has the first insurgency driven by the fact that they hate the occupiers' freedom.

But this Iran thing. You should really think about what script is being followed, and what this administration thinks is going to happen to make THE END appear in big bright letters. And you should think about what to do about it.

And then you should tell me. Because I don't know.


It might appear to undercut my point that Germany lost World War One. Yes, it might appear that way. But of course it doesn't. You know me -- I'm good. I wouldn't foozle you.

What won the war wasn't France or Britain or Italy, but -- ironically, considering the context I'm discussing this in -- a vast influx of fresh American soldiers. France didn't win the war so much as realize it had been throwing away precious manpower in the name of allowing its generals to appear tough, and then decide to conserve its remaining strength as best it could. Britain never even got that far. So influential was the American Expeditionary Force that it could out-and-out refuse to work under any command but its own, and France and Britain had to accept.

Before the Americans got there, however, France and Britain were pretty much limited to throwing men against the Germans' superior firepower. However, French propoganda said these attacks were bleeding the Germans to death, and French generals couldn't not believe French propoganda. So they kept throwing. And throwing. And throwing. While the Germans kept killing, and killing, and killing.

For anyone interested in further aspects of this nontraditional take on World War One, check out The Myth of the Great War by John Mosier. He's also written a book about a later war, titled The Blitzkrieg Myth. (The latter book is less military heresy than an attempt to exploit unused alternative energy sources. This is because reading the book makes Patton, Guderian and other deceased Panzer arteests spin very, very fast inside their graves, which happen to be wrapped with copper wire. At one point in 2003, they generated enough electricity to power all of Operation Shock And Awe).

This time, though, there are no Germans. And no vast influx of fresh American troops. Not unless we go the Roman route and make military service a requirement for becoming an American citizen. You know -- if all those immigrants are willing to work for us for two bucks an hour, then surely they are willing to die for us.

We are that special.

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