We're getting to the point where there aren't a lot of explanations left. Malice? Stupidity? Conspiracy? Drugs?
At this point, the American government seems intent on igniting a regional war - a conflagration in the Middle East designed to suck in all countries. Norman Podhoretz, one of Giuliani's advisers and head of the gang of neoconservative thugs, says that we're in the midst of World War IV against Islamofascism. Of course, his claim makes about as much sense as the Belgians attacking us after Timothy McVeigh's attack in Oklahoma City. Whatever this is, this is not a battle between nation-states, but this subtle distinction escapes the likes of Podhoretz, Bill Kristol, and Paul Wolfowitz and people (like Bush and Cheney) who think these neocons have a clue about the world. And yet, Podhoretz's view about the world is becoming real - not because it describes something coherent or inevitable but because the leaders of the most powerful country in the world seem to believe him.
Last week, the House Democrats seemed to get to George's secret stash of hallucinogens before he did. They decided to reprimand the Ottoman Empire for its treatment of Armenians a century ago. This while showing itself wildly ineffectual against the atrocities in Darfar. It's rare that I agree with Bush, but I have to agree with him that this is really bad timing. Now, emboldened by their outrage against those self-righteous Americans, the Turks have announced their intention to send troops across the border into Iraq.
Meanwhile, Russian President Putin scolds Condi Rice after making her wait for a meeting, then heads south to meet with Iranian president Ahmadinejad and announce support for Iran's pursuit of nuclear technology. Throughout all this, the Bush administration continues saber rattling, threatening Iran and rebuking Russia.
The entire thing plays out like a poorly plotted conspiracy novel where the one guy who is supposed to save the world from pending doom has been distracted by Viagra and Prozac and is happy to accept his senior officer's suggestion that he just follow orders and not worry about any of this. It's like we're in a Tom Clancy novel but the hero decided to walk across the book store to pursue the heroine of a Harlequin instead, leaving his story to be played out like dada art.
It's no wonder that in the midst of all this, Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert have such high ratings. Absurd is the only thing that can make sense of this. I came across a quote at http://www.overheardinnewyork.com/, a collection of comments overheard in New York. One of these random quotes seems to sum up this period of neo-absurdist policy better than I ever could:
Guy on cell in the Financial District: "So, the ecstasy turned out to be Excedrin."