Where's a Psychiatrist
When We Really Need One?
It's the proverbial 900 pound guerilla in the room. It's become so obvious. Yet no one dares say it.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is mad. No, I mean seriously ill. Mentally ill. Demonstrably so.
I can't say whether or not he was mad from the start, but I can tell you with some degree of certainty that he is now. And he's getting worse. Each succeeding news conference he looks, sounds and act more and more like the Harvey Korman character, Dr. Charles Montague, head of "The Place for the Very, Very Nervous," in the 1977 Mel Brooks flick, "High Anxiety."
Don's not yet quite at the Rainman stage -- yet, but if his slide towards madness continues at its current pace, he will arrive there, (shorts from K-mart and all,) before this administration's term in office ends.
Don got so nutty during his weekly news conference last week that Joint Chiefs head, General Pace, had to reel him in, not once, but twice. The first time was when Pace used the accepted term, "insurgents," to describe the indigenous fighters in Iraq.
Don interrupted, waving both hands over his head in an "abracadabra" fashion, to announce that over the weekend he had had an epiphany. We've been using the wrong term entirely to describe Iraqis killing our troops over there, he pronounced from on high. They are not "insurgents," they are "Enemies of the Legally Elected Iraqi Government," or EOLEIG's. (Guess we know now why Donald never made it as a corporate jingle writer.)
Now ask yourself, what kind of person, but a nut, would make such a pronouncement at a time when US kids are being blown up by the dozen each week. And to do so with such pompous grandiosity, on TV, and to cynical, hard-boiled reporters! Only a madman, a person so deeply "confused" in his own mind, he thinks his absurd ruling actually is contributing to a solution.
What on earth was he thinking? Actually, nothing new. Renaming fighters in Iraq has become a veritable nervous tick for Don. He's been re-branding the Iraqi fighters since the day we arrived there. Before the war even started he didn't even have term for them because, he assured us, there would be no opposition to a US attack on their country. But after Saddam was gone and US troops started dying at someone's hands, Don told the same TV cameras to pay them no attention because, he said then, they were just a handful of "Dead-Enders," (DE's.)
As conditions in Don's newly liberated Iraq deteriorated further he renamed them again. No longer Dead Enders, they were now "Foreign Terrorist Fighters." And better yet, he assured, they had been reduced to a rag-tag bunch that were "in their last throes."
So now that things are really bad, (in Iraq and in Don's head,) he decided it was time for another re-branding. How does Don plan on defeating the insurgency? By calling it something else, of course. There, the little bastards are gone now. Never mention their name again. Now, let's get about mopping up those EOLEIG's.
Once Rumsfeld was done revealing his renaming epiphany he gave the microphone back to a clearly embarrassed General Pace. The General was faced with the choice of joining his boss in looneyland, or using the now banned term, insurgents. Instead he said, "yeah, what he just said."
Mad as a hatter. Crazy is as crazy does. Does Don "do" as crazy as he speaks? One must assume so since he is in charge of the Department of Defense. As boss I figure he does pretty much what as he pleases. Worse, if he says such nutty things right on TV, can you even imagine the thoughts he shares with subordinates back in the privacy of his office at the Pentagon? Where "yeah, what he just said," becomes the day's marching orders.
The second time General Pace had to reel in his boss was when Pace was asked by reporters if US troops in Iraq were supposed to step in and stop Iraqi troops from abusing fellow Iraqis. Pace was in the process of saying the right thing, ("yes,") when Don-in-the-Box popped up again. "But I don't think you mean they have an obligation to physically stop it; it's to report it." he corrected the general.
Pace had no choice. "If they are physically present when inhumane treatment is taking place, sir, they have an obligation to try to stop it."
The look on Rumsfeld's face was the same look parents get from their teenagers when they tell them, "If your friends start drinking or using drugs you leave that party and come straight home!" You know the look -- the eyeballs roll up as their head jerks dismissively to the one side. At that point you know you just wasted a breath.
From that look it was clear that Rumsfeld believes that, while US troops had the right to invade Iraq, topple it's government, occupy it but has not business telling Iraqis not to beat, torture or kill their own folk. No our job... he says. (Administration vice-enabler, Dick Cheney, appears to agree.)
Don is, or has become, mad as a hatter. Worried? We have a certifiable loon in charge of the most powerful military on the face of the earth. Shouldn't someone do something about that? I mean if Bush insists on having a nut in this post, at least hire a harmless nut. The world is full of harmless nuts. He could find less nutty nuts downtown in any major city. Pick one with less dangerous notions than Don has. Like a nut who believes the answer is to pass a law requiring all Iraqi politicians carry a bunny rabbit in their pocket at all times. Or how about a nut who is certain that Britney Spears is the Virgin Mary reincarnate? That way the weekly Pentagon news conference would continue being ever so entertaining, but fewer people would get killed. (Oh, and by the way, even the most delusional street nuts don't believe simply renaming someone out to kill you makes them disappear. Now that's nuts – dangerous nuts. )
It's time for someone to tell Don Rumsfeld, "No more fruit cup for you!"
Still More Crazy Stuff
Did you catch the latest wrinkle in our Iraq strategy that materialized over the weekend? It seems the the Sunni's in Iraq wanna talk, and Pentagon planners see that as a big opportunity. I see it differently.
The Sunni insurgents (Dead Ender IOLEIG's) have indicated they are unhappy with all the al-Queda types fighting beside them and want the US to help them kill them off. And the Pentagon is seriously considering the offer. In fact, they are downright giddy at the opportunity.
Talk about a flat learning curve! Jesus H. Christ, don't these people ever learn?
You'd would think by now the Pentagon would have figured out that there's only one universally accepted law in the Middle East: "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." All other laws are just window dressing.
We missed that important little fact back in the 80s when we supported Iraq during the Iraq/Iran war. Then we helped Iran finally win that war by spending US lives and money to topple Saddam. "Thank you ever so much," said the Shiite religious nuts in Iran, "we'll take over now." And so they are.
Now the Sunni's, (who watch CNN when not planting IEDs,) have gotten the message that US voters are tired of all this and want US troops home next year. Until now the Sunnis have been perfectly happy to have the homicidal al Zaquari and his pals killing US troops for them. But if the US is going to leave that means the Sunnis will have two problems on their hands, the Shiites and religious nut al Queda militias.
If the al Queda fighter could be wiped out by US troops with Sunni help, then the Sunnis would be able to turn their full attention to killing Shiites. But, if US troops leave and all hell breaks loose – as it will – the Sunnis worry their Shiite enemies will align themselves with the radical Islamic foreign fighters. The Sunnis, you see, are a fiercely secular lot, while the Shiites are Iranian-like Islamists. The last thing al Queda fighters would want to see come to pass is a secular Iraq.
Which is why they dialed the Pentagon and said, "Come on down! Let's make a deal. What say we help you catch and kill off these pesky foreign fighters?"
The idea of getting inside intel on al Queda operatives in Iraq from their former Sunnis allies has Pentagon brass salivating – again. Of course if the US takes the deal and succeeds helping the Sunnis kill off foreign fighters, that means their joint enemy will be no more. And guess what – mission accomplished -- for the Sunis - who will go right back to killing the very US soldiers who helped them kill off those foreign fighters. And, since Sunni fighters would have spent six months fighting alongside US troops, they will know how to kill our troops in even larger numbers. It's nothing personal. Just business as usual in that part of the world.
Just when you think US war planners can't possibly make more of hash of things in Iraq they discover new ways to do just that.
Which is another reason to end this deadly farce sooner rather than later.