Monday, March 27, 2006


Moving on ...

I'm not sure much more can be milked from Ben Domenech (as naughtily horrific as that phrasing may be). It was a fun run, the hilarious culmination of which may well be this from Sadly, No! In the end, we all became borderline plagiarismaholics, trembling greedily at the thought of another tumblerful of 24-year-old single malt Loch Domenech ... so smokily inviting through the prism of crystal-clear snark, full-bodied yet surprising us frequently with odd, counter-intuitive riffs on the nature of truth, a potent potable that truly scaled the heights of pure, reckless sophistry.

Fortunately, before someone had to invent a 12-step program to wean us of our addiction to the demon Red Benny, he himself
cut-and-pasted ran*, leaving only those die-hard, last-to-leave-the-party hedonists amongst us to lick the damaged furniture of our trivernal saturnalia of Ben for whatever spillage might have gone undrunk, before facing up to the brutal reality of a splitting hangover, the prospect of a round of physically crippling withdrawals, and, finally, if we are disciplined enough to stay on the wagon, sweet, full recovery.

So now we move on. To bigger, more important issues, the first of which, for me at least, will be Iraq. Or, as I have come to call it, the most fucked-to-hell place going.

Now some may say that this is a defeatist, pessimistic outlook. And the truth is, I don't really like to comment on Iraq because I'm not there to see the Potemkin brigades first-hand or to walk the heavily-policed streets of the Green Zone in person. For all I know, Iraq really is one giant grammar-school-and-hospital barnraising party, as
some would have it.

And yes, I'm being shockingly tongue-in-cheek here, but the truth is, I lived in Thailand for eight years, and I have myself experienced the delusions outsiders often have about a country they have never been to, or perhaps once visited for a few weeks. So really, I am very sympathetic to the idea that most of us Americans have not the first fucking clue about what life in Iraq is really like.

That said, the number "30" and variations thereof keeps popping up re: Iraq, wherever I chance to look. As in, "30 Killed in Iraq Bombing" ... which is apparently a headline macro over at the Associated Press offices, given the frequency it turns up on my newsfeeds.

You see, much as I believe in going somewhere to find out what it's really like, I can't help but think these sort of numbers in and of themselves tell a pretty goddam powerful story. Countries that are decent places to hang out simply don't have dozens of people having their bodies ripped apart, separated from their heads, or otherwise experiencing less-than-optimal structural integrity on a near-daily basis. You know ... they just don't.

Yes, I opposed this war from the outset, as probably 99 percent of my regular readers** did as well. So none of the above is really going to be very enlightening in a Digbyesque way to all of you who predicted this sort of mess was likely to happen, and who argued, marched or even just silently stewed against the invasion of Iraq back in 2002-03.

Still, I think it's important to show why, despite so many Bush apologists' claims, the general dissatisfaction with the Iraq War in the U.S. is not some media creation. When Americans regularly open their newspapers to discover such headlines as "Iraq Police Find 30 Bodies, Most Beheaded" or click over to Yahoo to see that "Shiites Assail U.S. Raid; Bombing Kills 40" or check in with a favorite blog for "More Good News" ... well, it doesn't really matter how many orphanage-painting and heroic-Iraqi-voter stories the media also reports. People are going to figure out something's rotten in Legoland.

We're not complete idiots, you know. We may not be in Iraq to see things first-hand ... but when a country is as demonstrably fucked-up as this one is, you don't need to be Lawrence of Arabia to figure it out.

*Sorry. Last Ben joke evar, promise.

**This may be shocking news to Pinko Punko, snag and my mom, who were probably unaware that they were each 0.33 percent in favor of the Iraq War three years ago.

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