Whacking Iraq

Is it the Bush White Houseor Tony Soprano's house?

Ive compared him to a suicide bomber and likened him to Middle Earths evil Lord Sauron. Ive called for regime change and made the case for impeachment. Ive nearly emptied the rhetorical cupboard at George W. Bush. What is left to say?

Perhaps, one happy day in future times, we can look forward to him sitting in the dock, on trial for treason, smirking like Hermann Goering at Nuremberg. He would be called to account for stealing an election; he would be tried for war crimes; he would be judged for turning America into an international pariah; he would be sentenced for gutting the Constitution and lining the pockets of his friends; he would stand accused of selling the nations prosperity for the dream of empire. He would be charged with betraying his oath in the name of fulfilling it: the man who destroyed his country in the name of saving it.

If nothing else changed, I have no doubt the world would be a better place without Saddam Hussein. But will the world be a better place for how we are changing it in order to be rid of him? Or for how we are changing America? Like a global sheriff at high noon, Bush envisions that he is telling the bad guys to get out of town by sundown. Only hes not. Hes telling the bad guys to get out of their town, or else. Thats a very different story.

Somehow, Bush has turned Uncle Sam into Tony Soprano. A war in Iraq? Badda-boom, badda-bing. All we gotta do is whack So Damn Insane.

A couple of seasons back on the HBO series, The Sopranos, a show about the day-to-day struggles of your typical mafia family, Tony Sopranos wife, Carmella, was wracked with guilt about her husbands chosen profession. She visited a shrink, then a priest. How do I live with the guilt? How do I live on this blood money?

This is what many who are outraged by Bushs war plans feel today. Were caught in an America that acts like an international thug; whose prosperity depends on inequities it is determined to preserve or exacerbate. As patriots, we struggle to live with a country that stands for so much good yet does so much wrong. It was painful to watch Bushs Iraq speech Monday night because our presidents moment of truth was filled with so many half-truths. Before our eyes, he seems to be turning into the man he hates.

America is becoming a one-party countrydominated by Republicans and Democrats. The latter were once the loyal opposition, but now, no longer oppose. We have become a nation that once had the worlds sympathy and respect, but now is openly loathed by former allies, stalked by increasing numbers of enemies, pitied for our foolishness, feared for our might. Our domestic infrastructure deteriorates. The media is filled with propaganda and grovels before power. We issue edicts: My way or the highway. We say it is Gods will. We invest billions of dollars in weapons of mass destruction. Indeed, George Orwell Bush is Saddamizing America.

Once upon a time, I could imagine no worse president than Richard M. Nixon, whose hand I shook in 1968 outside the Olympic Hotel. At the time, I worked for a woman who was on old lefty, and I used to brandish my Nixon claw at her occasionally, and she would cower, genuinely revulsed. The 60s saw our heroes assassinated and Nixon triumph. Joyfully, he was deposed, but things still got worse. We endured Gerald Fords bungling, Jimmy Carters self-righteousness, then slid into Ronald Reagans senescent American morning, and wiped our bleary peepers during Bushs blurred vision thing. Suetonius would have had a field day with this crowd.

After the Prague spring of the Clinton years, Bush II came along and cracked down. Instead of tanks, he had a crooked Supreme Court and troops lining the inauguration route from the Capitol down Pennsylvania Avenue all the way to Dick Cheneys undisclosed location. Nothing has been right in this country since that day. All that is wrong is worse; all that was good is eroded; all that was promising lies further from attainment.

Back to The Sopranos. Carmellas shrink said dump the creep. Her priest saw things differently. They left the confessional and moved to his office, where he asked her if she still loved her husband. Yes, she said. Well, divorce was not an option, of course. But did she have inner boundaries she could setlimits she could live within that allowed her to preserve her conscience and her marriage? Yes, she said, she could do that. She could set those limits.

Thats what we have to do right now. We loyal Americans who oppose this regime have to dig down and set those inner borders. Either that or cross a real border. Love it or leave it, people say. You are traitors for criticizing our country, our president, or our war. Go to France, where those commie frogs believe in libert鬠駡lit鬠fraternit鬠whatever that means.

Well I love America, but its clear to me: The country is leaving us.

kberger@seattleweekly.com

 
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