Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Etiology of Dementia

Observing the symptoms does not always allow the observer to specifically identify the disease process. I'm thinking today of our celebrated Secretary of State, one Condoleezza Rice, who's like a rock star on a worldwide Chaos and Crapola Tour, 2008. Based on her babblings as quoted in the news, there seem to be at least two possibilities: the complete loss of any ability to perceive irony, or simple fruitcake craziness. Either one might explain the data.

On her way to Brussels, she apparently managed to keep a straight face while saying this:
"Russia is a state that is unfortunately using the one tool that it has always used when it wishes to deliver a message. And that is military power. That is not the way to deal in the 21st century."
How a representative of a rogue state that's spent the last 30 years blasting the hell out of, oh, let's see, Lebanon, Libya, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Somalia, Iraq again, Bosnia/Serbia/Kosovo/whatever, Afghanistan, Iraq still more ... how this person can keep from collapsing in a giggle-fit while accusing the Russkies of being addicted to military means of "delivering messages" demands an explanation of some kind. Tone-deafness or sheer lunacy: take your pick.

Now for another whack at them commies:
Rice's response was that Russia was effectively roping itself off from the rest of the world and in danger of destroying its case for integration into global institutions. "Russia is the loser here," she said.

"Does anybody really doubt that Russia could use its overwhelming military advantage to beat up on a small neighbor? Well, that's what they've done," she said.

The Russians had committed "wanton destruction of civilian infrastructure." They were also harassing people on highways and had closed the port of Poti, she said. Rice also cited "reports of the use of munitions that should never be used against civilians" -- an apparent reference to a human rights' group's accusation that Russia dropped cluster bombs in populated areas of Georgia. Moscow denied doing so.
Again, after what we've done to Iraq, how can a sentient person force her lips to utter these words without breaking into demonic laughter? The only failures of symmetry here are that (1) the Russians didn't have to go halfway around the world to fight -- they had only to cross their own border; (2) the Russians are at least arguably looking after a legitimate national interest of their own -- they could have called it "Monroe Doctrine East," maybe; and (3) as far as I know, the Russians have yet to be accused of running a torture/rape/murder facility like Abu Ghraib in either South Ossetia or Georgia.

Don't relax too soon, Ivan; Condi ain't finished with you yet:
WARSAW — Despite fierce opposition from Moscow, the United States and Poland signed a long-stalled agreement Wednesday to place an American missile defense base on Polish territory.

The Kremlin has leveled sustained criticism against the American plan, characterizing it as a hostile act near the Russian border. But American officials insist that the system will defend against threats from countries like Iran and would not target Russia.

“Missile defense, of course, is aimed at no one,” said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who signed the agreement in Warsaw with her Polish counterpart, Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski. “It is in our defense that we do this.”
Notice the construction of that sentence from the news story: " ... American officials insist that the system will defend against threats ... " Did "defend" just become an intransitive verb, and I missed the memo? Will defend what? Poland? Europe in general? North America? That last is the only legitimate use of our tax dollars, but obviously isn't the intention; you don't put a defense for location A against an attack from location B in location C. But Condi knows best, in whatever alternate reality she lives. Interceptor missiles in Poland are gonna defend Americans from ... something. Peace, probably.

None of this is really funny at all, of course. Our managers are working day and night to make the owners of many nukes, who also happen to be fully-competent missilemen, feel surrounded and besieged. Why, I don't know; that leads back to the question with which this overly-long post opened. In a practical sense, though, "why" may not matter much. When butts have to fry, those sizzling fundaments won't belong to the Continuity-of-Government types, hunkered down in their elaborate secret shelters. Care to guess which butts they'll be? Yep -- you're sitting on one. I'm sitting on the one next door. Good times.

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