For a long time, war has been hell -- but a modernist hell, expressed in the symbolism of Terence Malick flicks, the surrealism of Joseph Heller novels, the German expressionism of ... well ... all that German expressionism! But with a subtle turn of non-sensical jargon -- seen in the brilliant soundbyte, "post-surge redeployment" -- President Bush has bravely implanted our understanding of war firmly into the post-structuralist era. No wonder nothing we do in Iraq seems to make even a lick of sense!
But that's why we have literary theory to help explain everything. According to the Wikipedia, post-structuralism "generally operates on some basic assumptions:"
1. " Post-structuralists hold that the concept of "self" as a singular and coherent entity is a fictional construct. Indeed. And we can all agree that any concept of the President as "singular" or "coherent" is, very much a "fictional construct."
2. "The meaning the author intended is secondary to the meaning that the reader perceives." This couldn't be more true of the term "post-surge redeployment." The authors of the term mean for us to accept "post-surge redeployment" as the obvious and perfectly-according-to-plan next step in a broad war strategy that's been close to flawless (remember: we "accomplished our mission" years before the enemy was in its "last throes," which came months before the surge designed to render those throes into a state of finality was even launched! It's like the movie Memento, but BETTER). However, the reader perceives a different meaning behind "post-surge redeployment" than the one its authors intend: namely, that we are actually cutting and running, but in such a way that might get Giuliani elected, if everyone plays their cards right and the press keeps obsessing over John Edwards' haircut.
3. A post-structuralist critic must be able to utilize a variety of perspectives to create a multifaceted interpretation of a text, even if these interpretations conflict with one another. See, this is where Tony Snow comes in, obviously.
Some of course, will disagree with this interpretation. But one thing most sane observers will agree on in Iraq: the situation there is seriously Foucault-ed up.
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