Thursday, May 06, 2004

The voices of the right are taking the wrong approach to the brouhaha over torture in a U.S military prison in Iraq. Claiming the system works because the crimes were uncovered, denying that the abuses were much worse than what happens in our civilian prisons, or saying this is to be expected after the Iraqi mob abused our civilian contractors, all sound defensive. Face it, our interrogators were careless and let the soldiers who softened up the prisoners for questioning get caught.

Talleyrand, praised for the wit of his remark about the Bourbons, "Ils n'ont rien appris, ni rien oublié", is usually also given credit for the cynical comment about the killing of the Duc d'Enghien, "C'est pire qu'un crime, c'est une faute". Actually those words were from Joseph Fouché, who was Napoléon's Minister of Police. While the outrage across the Muslim world make that line apt for the current scandal, Talleyrand was even more brutally realistic. His true comment was "Is there any reason to make such a fuss? A conspirator is seized near the border, he is brought to Paris, and he is shot. What is extraordinary in that? Come on, d'Hauterives, that's business!"

To that diplomat, "business" meant power. It was the attitude of Michael Corleone when he was told that the attempt on his father's life "was business, not personal." He responded "It's all personal, every bit of business. Every piece of shit every man has to eat every day of his life is personal. They call it business. OK. But it's personal as hell. ... If a bolt of lightning hit a friend of his the old man would take it personal. ... He takes everything personal. ... And you know something? Accidents don't happen to people who take accidents as a personal insult." As the Marxists say, it was "no accident" that this scandal blew up at this time.

Supporters of this ongoing Crusade (don't fear the word!!) shouldn't be thinking about covering our rears, but about taking the initiative. Don't see problems, see opportunities. So, for misjudgment or mismanagement, someone's got to "take the fall", as Hammett put it? Great!! This is our chance to seize even more control over the remaking of the Middle East. Throw that moderate politician and druggist Rumsfeld to the Wolfs, and put a truly dedicated neo-conservative in charge of the Pentagon, so that we won't have to keep prodding him on to be more aggressive about Operation Inigo Montoya. Elevate Rummy's deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, to be the new Secretary of Defense.

Let the liberal media assume they have scored a great victory by driving Donald out of office, and while their attention is diverted by clapping themselves on the back, march an armored war elephant right up to the front lines. The next time the Ba'athists interfere with "business", by abusing bodies of our boys, Paul The Merciless will lead the Bu'ushists in rigidly applying the watchwords Hugo attributed to the two sides in his own novel of guerrilla warfare: "Pas de grace (mot d'ordre de la commune) -- Pas de quartier (mot d'ordre des princes)." Let any future Fallujahs forever be linked with Lidice.

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