Deep Underground with Raul Groom

Monday, May 17, 2004

Wow, big day in news. I was in North Carolina for the weekend and didn't follow the goings-on, so I was overwhelmed this morning by everything that's happening. First, the Indian stock market seems to be crashing. Apparently the Ghandi government is expected to slow the pace of neoliberal economic changes, which has international investors spooked. We'll know tomorrow whether it's a minor hiccup or if there's going to be a real panic. I'd like to point out, BTW, that if neoliberal reforms really worked, they wouldn't be reliant on constantly favorable government policy to keep the markets from suddenly spiraling into a black hole. But that's a post for a slower news day.

In Iraq, somebody blew up the head of the IGC. This seems a little weird to me, since the IGC doesn't really have any power, but I guess it's a symbolic thing, like the IRA going after the royals. In any event it certainly speaks volumes about the "security situation" in a country when the head of the government gets blown up in the street. I had a new idea about how we can help the Iraq problem though - we could leave immediately. Oh, right, that's not new, I've been saying that for over a year. My mistake.

The big story of the weekend as far as the press is concerned is a weird and hilarious episode of Meet the Press where Colin Powell briefly appears to turn into a palm tree. There are articles galore on the incident, but most fail to mention that the "glitch" happened just as Russert was asking Powell about all the bogus shit he said in the February 2003 "Let's Kick Saddam's Ass" presentation to the U.N. Fortunately Powell overruled his press aide and went on to say he did indeed find it quite troubling that he had lied to the SC and helped to build public support for a war that killed tens of thousands of people and left an entire country without a government and littered with radioactive dust. Maybe he didn't use those exact words. Check the transcript and see for yourself.

You should also look at the interview with stuffed shirt pseudodemocrat Joe Biden squaring off with paranoid schizophrenic pseudorepublican John McCain. They basically agree on everything, including a lot of shit Biden said that wasn't true and/or made no sense.

Biden is one of these guys who's best read in transcript form than watched on TV. He's a lot like Dubya in that way, in that he does a pretty good job of making it seem, through inflection, that what he's saying makes a lot of sense, even when it's ludicrous tripe.

Neither of these guys should ever get anywhere near the White House, BTW. If McCain winds up as Kerry's veep I'm joining the Secret Service. I'd take a bunch of bullets before I'd let McCain be President. The man is a nutcase.

Here's a few of the stranger assertions by Biden:

1) Delaware Joe opens by saying that if only we had recognized that Iraq posed no threat to world security, that would have given us plenty of time to convince the rest of the world that Iraq posed an imminent threat to world security. Russert and McCain apparently have no problem with this reasoning, as both let it pass without comment. When these guys are in a room, you can cut the intellectual tension with a knife, let me tell you.

2) Biden says our next big mistake was not killing everybody in central Iraq during the early months of war. Seriously, here's the quote: "Imagine if we had not treated the French--excuse me, the Turks with such disdain, that 4th ID would have come down from the north through the Sunni Triangle, there may not be a Sunni Triangle." Yeah! If only we had just killed everybody, creating a liberal democracy would have been so much easier. I also like the slip "Imagine if we hadn't treated the French with such disdain." When you think about it, THAT statement would make a hell of a lot of sense. We wouldn't be there! Tens of thousands of people would still be alive! The UN and all the U.S. relationships with its allies wouldn't be in tatters! The entire world wouldn't hate our guts! Now that would be pretty cool.

3) This part is great. Biden again: "We're there now to make sure the Iraqis end up with a government. What kind of government? One that's secure, its own borders, is representative, is not a threat to its neighbors and does not have weapons of mass destruction. How do you get there? You get there by an election." He mentions a lot of irrelevant shit here to make it sound like we've done this huge service for Iraq. But take a look again. Iraq before the war - Government - check. Secure - no, but only because we were bombing them every couple of months. Its own borders - check, I guess, but I'm not sure what this means. Whose borders would Iraq have? France's? Then, you see, it wouldn't be Iraq. It would be France. Who by the way can you imagine if we hadn't treated them with such disdain? Never mind. Not a threat to its neighbors - check. No weapons of mass destruction - check. The only item that really belongs on the list is the elections.

4) Here's the part I still don't get. Biden: "Tim, it is America's mission. Ninety percent of the troops will remain American. We've got to change the face of it, though. No German troops, no French troops, the no German or French veto for NATO-led force. I want a NATO commander, I want--which is an American. I want a NATO label on it. That, in turn, will get additional likelihood of Muslim countries being willing to participate. But the additional U.S. forces must be U.S. forces. But you need legitimacy along with it, Tim. And the legitimacy requires to give the new Iraqi government excuse to say, "It's not the same old deal."

Is Biden channeling Dubya? The preceding statement makes no sense whatsoever. And by the way, Germany doesn't have a veto on the security council. I guess he's talking about NATO, but, hell, I don't know. It's all just gibberish. Of course neither Russert nor McCain asks him what on earth he's talking about. We're all supposed to pretend this is sage wisdom. In fact it's just a bunch of words strung together. You could get better foreign policy analysis from a See 'N' Say. "The Senator says : Blahhhhhhhhhhh."

5) Biden, to Bush: "I said, "Mr. President, you sit in a chair that commands worldwide respect..." Really? Maybe next time a foreign leader wants a meet and greet, we should send Bush's chair.

6) Biden on the Abu Ghraib scandal: "Big nations can't act small. Noble nations can't act meanly. It is not comparable to say that, 'Well, they do it; therefore, we can do it similarly.' It does us incredible damage, but I don't think it's comparable to Saddam's torture chambers by any stretch of the imagination. But it is as damaging to us as Saddam's actions were to his reputation." So our torture is "similar," but not "comparable." Except that it is comparable. Could Biden pass a Turing test?

7) This is one for the hall of fame - Biden makes a slippery-slope argument on the Abu Ghraib abuses, but says that we should stand just a little ways down the slippery slope. He doesn't even understand the thrust of his own fallacies. "We can treat al-Qaeda this way [torturing them] and we can't treat prisoners captured this way, but where do insurgents fit, etc.? This is a dangerous slope."

8) Of course, Biden trots out just how fucking ecstatic he'd be if Kerry picked McCain for a running mate. Here's a good bet - if Cheney winds up retiring, how many republicans do you think are gonna go on TV and recommend he pick a Democrat to be his new running mate? The over-under is 1/2 of one republican. Get your bets in now.

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