April 21, 2007

Early Encouraging Signs the Surge is Working


Having ushered in the post-spin era, talking points are the refreshing new way to package cynicism and callousness.

When the president's "complete confidence" in the AG is exclaimed from all corners, people everywhere know it's the same complete confidence that Rummy enjoyed until Election Day.

The tactic copied from Madison Avenue is obvious: repeat something enough times and people will start to believe it's true. If they have intellectual pretensions they may say they don't believe it, but somewhere, deep in their hearts, there will be a nagging doubt brought on by having heard the same message over and over. Remember how you felt about WMD during the ramp-up to the war? Don't feel bad. It's child's play, really, like making rats push levers for food pellets.

When crafting the actual sentences involved, it is not necessary for a message to be overt. All that is required is for the message to be unavoidably embedded somewhere in its syntactical  embodiment, like a gemstone waiting to be chiseled out. The White House press corps will diligently parse every syllable, unearthing a diamond from apparent rubble.

The only problem is, this time it isn't working. It's obvious to anyone that, by expressing complete confidence in the AG after such horrendous incompetence and dissembling testimony, the President is either disingenuous or a fool, or most likely, both.

As the chaos and carnage in Baghdad obscure the "early encouraging signs the surge is working," with suicide bombers daily killing scores of innocents, the US is subjected to its own peculiarly homegrown version of mass-murder.

Statistically speaking, we are a nation that believes in God, yet we are reluctant so far to speak of our fallen soldiers as martyrs, preferring to label them "heroes" or "patriots." When our patriots make the ultimate sacrifice, they have done so in the fight for our freedom, which, by the way (in case you haven't heard) is not free. So goes the logic. It's a logic of principle, if not exactly one of reality.


In keeping with this line of reasoning, it might be suitable also to speak of the 32 victims of the Virginia Tech massacre as patriots, for they gave their lives for your right to bear arms. Leave it to the deranged killer to claim the title of martyr, which of course he did.

 The Bill of Rights comes with collateral damage. People are killed every day as a result of one amendment or another. It's just a fact of life, one that affirms the beautiful balance inherit in our Constitution. This is precisely why we take the fight to the terrorists, and fight them over there, so we don't have to face them here, on our soil.  Our soil is reserved for school and workplace shootings.

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