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Bless Me, Ye Ignorant Sluts!

April 2, 2007

The other day I linked to a little death-threats-in-the-comments dust-up over at Done With Mirrors. You might think Callimachus was some kind of right-winger. Just a reminder:

Let’s say it up front: GWB and co. are a bad lot; arrogant and embodying the most resistant strains of cultural conservatism and capitalism in American society. Blame it on Texas, if you need an explanation, as the historical magnet for the most exaggerated and aggressive characters of the old South.

They have a predatory mentality, a game-winning mentality. The executive branch is their team base, and they go out every day in eye black to compete with Congress, the Democrats, the courts, the media, and they play to win. Whatever tactics serve them against you, they will use, however shamelessly hypocritical it is of them. If they can slip one past you, they will. It’s up to you to catch them.

Read the whole thing and my brilliant comment.

Just another illustration that the company I keep on-line is not limited to the Rovian Sock Puppets. For what that’s worth.

***

Politics is ugly. (Then again so’s your Momma. And let’s not even get stated on Asghar’s Momma.) But isn’t that to be expected? Didn’t Jacob wrestle the “Angel”?:

 22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maidservants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.

28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, [e] because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”

I was really surprised at Callimachus’s description of  Bush & Co. as a “game-winning” mentality. Yet I understand. Winning is so gauche. So jock-like. So much about the things that I am not. That must be why I am fascinated by them. Game-winners that is. I haven’t cared about winning much in my life. That could be why I’ve suffered so many crushing defeats.

I’m interested in winning now, broadly understood.

***

The last few years, among other things, were about me discovering politics. And I can assure you, I was indeed “shocked, shocked” at what was taking place, even among the ranks of the Saints. Oh the Obloquy!

Sometimes though I think: maybe this isn’t so bad. Maybe this is how it works.

Maybe.

Maybe there’s a blessing in this somewhere.

I’m looking.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Callimachus permalink
    April 3, 2007 8:56 am

    The thing is, the “winning is the only thing” mentality that I sense in this administration is why I trusted them to do it right in Iraq and Afghanistan. If they had gone after the Iraqi insurgents and the Taliban and al Qaida the way they went after John McCain or John Kerry, this thing would be over. It’s why I voted against Bush in 2000, but for him in 2004.

    But ….

  2. Tim C. permalink
    April 6, 2007 3:22 pm

    Dave:

    You wrote: “And I can assure you, I was indeed “shocked, shocked” at what was taking place, even among the ranks of the Saints…..Sometimes though I think: maybe this isn’t so bad. Maybe this is how it works. Maybe. Maybe there’s a blessing in this somewhere.”

    I’ve been thinking about the main blessing you talk about may be that when the Church is functional, that it can take folks for every political srtipe: communist, republican, democratic, green party member, anarchist, tory, labour party member, etc… and make the political differences so secondary to the goal of the Kingdom of Jesus.

    And although the Church often simply makes things worse politically adding to the hate, distrust, incivility and ungraciousness in political discourse…

    Sometimes…Sometimes it shows hope of being one of the few civil gracious places left where people who vehemently disagree on what Calvin called “temporal” issues, can agree in a deeper way on deeper things.

    Sometimes.

    Happy Easter.

    Christus resurrexit! Vere resurrexit!

  3. Kathleen permalink
    April 10, 2007 10:56 pm

    My dearest Mr. Grecula…somehow I do not believe that this is the first time in your life that you have been, “shocked, shocked, ” by American foreign policy. Perhaps, it is that you have never chosen to pay attention to not only our national but international politics in the past. Ever remember anything about the Sandanistas? Nicaragua? Chile? Allende? Iran? The Shaw? Do you remember the hostages of 1979 (was that unprovoked?) The majority of our secretive foreign policy is abhorrent. Please let’s stop putting the American corporations and American war machines in charge of our American Foreign policy.

    Maybe this isn’t so bad. Maybe this time we will actually learn the art of negotiation and fairness. Maybe we can actually all start to comprehend what Jesus, Buddah and Mohammed said in their respective works of art? Is that so much of a stretch?

    First of all let’s really think about the majority of the population in Iraq. My prayers and thoughts go out to them on a daily basis. I will not condone what my country has done. I will live a lifetime to atone for those sins.
    Kathleen

  4. Tim C. permalink
    April 11, 2007 5:50 pm

    Still not quite right but closer:

    The metric in Obama’s plan is not “if you stop fighting” either.

    The mertic is do you do what you need to survive, and that is more than a peace deal. And it wasn’t done in the constitution.

    Fareed Zakaria spelled it out well in his previous column:

    “It would seem reasonable, then, to measure [the surge’s] progress not just by neighborhoods secured and militants killed, but in political terms as well. And as it happens we have a series of benchmarks that have been set out at various points by the Bush administration and the Iraqi government.

    Just before the referendum on Iraq’s Constitution in October 2005, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad brokered a deal that secured Sunni participation in exchange for the Iraqi government’s promising to set up a committee to amend the Constitution to incorporate Sunni concerns later. This was to have been done four months after the formation of Iraq’s elected government—in other words, by September 2006. Nothing has happened. When he took office, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki announced plans for an ambitious program of national reconciliation. Nothing has happened.

    In January, after persistent inquiries from Sen. Carl Levin, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice wrote to Levin setting out the benchmarks and timeline that the Iraqi government had signed off on. They included new election laws, the scheduling of provincial elections, laws on investment and oil-revenue sharing, the disbanding of militias, the reversal of de-Baathification and the granting of amnesty. In supporting the surge, Sen. John McCain also listed these goals as crucial to progress. But none of them has taken place. The revenue-sharing law has passed the cabinet but not yet moved through Parliament. The Los Angeles Times reported in February that Baghdad had abandoned plans to reverse de-Baathification. It quoted a U.S. official who said that the reform, far from advancing as promised, was “moving backward” and was “almost dead in the water.” The amnesty law also appears moribund.

    These two measures have historically proved crucial in almost any political process that has ended a civil war. Without some kind of amnesty and prospect for rehabilitation, there is little incentive for insurgents to lay down their arms and join the political process. Last week the Sunni vice president of Iraq urged his own government to begin talks with the insurgents, a position that General Petraeus has also taken.

    There are less formal benchmarks that are also not being met. Maliki was to have reshuffled his cabinet to remove members who actively fomented civil war. That has not happened. The government was to finally start spending money in Sunni areas. That has not happened. Militias were to be demobilized. Instead, one of their most notorious leaders has been released from prison and publicly embraced by Maliki.

    For four years President Bush has given Iraq’s leaders unconditional support. They have not interpreted it as a reason to make compromises. In fact, talking to both U.S. officials in Iraq and Iraqi politicians, it appears that the chief reason there has been some movement on a few of these issues—the oil laws and noninterference in U.S. military operations, for instance—was the fear that Congress was going to force a withdrawal of U.S. forces.

    The Democratic bills in Congress have two features: timeline and benchmarks. The rigid timelines the House bill imposes are problematic because they give the United States little room to maneuver in a highly volatile situation. But the benchmarks to measure Iraq’s political progress—prominent in the Senate bill—are entirely in keeping with the basic strategy being outlined by Gates, Petraeus and, indeed, Bush. The only difference is that this is a strategy with teeth. If the Iraqi government does not do what the administration itself has argued is crucial to success, then American troops should begin withdrawing. (There will still be a need for a reduced force to fight Al Qaeda, secure Kurdistan and prevent major refugee flows.)

    Announcing his new surge policy on Jan. 10, President Bush said, “I’ve made it clear to the prime minister and Iraq’s other leaders that America’s commitment is not open-ended. If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the support of the American people.” In a sense, Congress is merely following through on the president’s promise. ”

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17778186/site/newsweek/

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