In a cross between CBS's Survivor and VH1's The Surreal Life, we have George W. Bush's American Foreign Policy Part Deux. You can see it today in the earnestly mendacious efforts of just about every member of the administration and their staff - except for those, like Major General Geoffrey "Gitmo-Everything" Miller, who have stopped talking, having evoked their Fifth Amendment/Article 31 right to avoid self-incrimination.
American Foreign Policy under Bush was all about Iraq. We know this now. Part One included new bases, new lily pads, new launching pads, and new oil flows. It included newly strengthened alliances between the policymakers in Tel Aviv and those in Washington.
A lot of Americans are waking up to this Part One, as the recent standing room only town meeting co-hosted by Virginia Democrat Jim Moran and Pennsylvania Democrat Jack Murtha. Watch the video. It is shock television at its best, courtesy C-span. Murtha and Moran say they want troops out soonest, and both insist we are not building permanent military bases in Iraq. Like I say, it's shock TV - see for yourself!
But Part Deux is where it really gets interesting. Apparently, NYT senior reporter James Risen and his long suppressed yet suddenly urgent book State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration, is flecked with glittering truth. As with gold these days, the value of these specks seems to be rising.
Washington plays global war much as kings and lords of medieval times. Not because we treat our military officers as politically complicit, rewarding loyalty to the king over duty to the Constitution. Seriously, folks, what Constitution? And not because our armies are some strange combination of mercenary, corporate beneficiary, and serf, even though they are - and what's worse, we don't think it all that strange.
Gordon Prather explains how the kingdom wages its wars of choice in his succinct "Planting Evidence." Much like a mafia don aiming to eliminate his competition, significant energy is spent undermining the enemy before the nuclear-optional bunker busters are unleashed. This preparation of the battlefield goes beyond lies, badmouthing, and threats -- set-ups are de jure. And when Americans are being entertained, we like nothing better than an ingenious setup.
And make no mistake - Americans are being entertained. Iraq was made possible through simple lies, badmouthing and threat language that is historically remarkable in its outrageous audacity. Iran, however, like Libya a few years ago, is being played a slightly different way. Here, the art of the setup is sublime, and most incredibly glorious.
We've gone from planting Chinese nuclear drawings on the hapless Libyans to planting doctored Russian blueprints on the less hapless but just as vile, I'm sure, Tehran. If anyone wonders why the Republicans who despised Clinton heartily endorsed retention of Clinton's CIA director George Tenet, and then benighted him with a Presidential Freedom Medal, look no further than the early 2000 work of the CIA on behalf of the King in the grand Iranian set-up.
American Foreign Policy, Part Deux. A game, a show, a real-life experiment. Thousands will die, of course. But just as in The Surreal Life, we don't really know them, and we don't really care. It's all in good fun, and by God, it passes the time. Perhaps the ever entertaining Pentagon Channel will even pick it up in syndication.