Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Riding The Crazy Plane

Madness as Method
Published: October 24, 2007

Though this be madness, yet there is method in't.
-Hamlet Act 2, scene 2, 193–206

Today, Maureen Dowd levels her shotgun at Dick Cheney but with a wide spread takes on plenty of other familiar targets.

Dick Cheney’s craziness used to influence foreign policy.

Now it is foreign policy.

He may have lost his buddy in belligerence, Rummy. He may have tapped out the military in Iraq. He may not be able to persuade Congress so easily anymore — except for Hillary — to issue warlike resolutions.
According the the UK Telegraph:
[Senator Clinton] was the only Democratic candidate who voted for a resolution last month that called on Mr Bush to list the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist group.
Clinton’s position on Iran lets her get pilloried on both the left and the right as Dowd later points out:
Rudy is using his more martial attitude toward Iran as a weapon against Hillary, painting her as a delicate ditherer on the topic.
And delicate ditherer is both our Alliteration of the Afternoon and a new Hillary epithet fitting with the Hamlet reference in the title. But the main thrust of the article is that not only does Cheney, as the biggest of the chickenhawks, want to bomb Iran, he’s crazy enough to do it.
Cheney seems to enjoy giving the impression that he is loony enough to pull off an attack on Iran before leaving office — even if he has to do it alone, like Slim Pickens riding the bomb down in “Dr. Strangelove” to the sentimental tune of “We’ll Meet Again.”
Dr. Strangelove, Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb is a Stanley Kubrick black comedy classic about a rogue Air Force officer that starts a nuclear showdown with the old Soviet Union. It’s full of classic ironic quotes like:
Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room.

Mr. President, we must not allow a mineshaft gap!

Ambassador de Sadesky: Our doomsday scheme cost us just a small fraction of what we had been spending on defense in a single year. The deciding factor was when we learned that your country was working along similar lines, and we were afraid of a doomsday gap.
President Merkin Muffley: This is preposterous. I've never approved of anything like that.
Ambassador de Sadesky: Our source was the New York Times.
See, even in the movies, the Times is undermining national security.

And then we start getting some callbacks like a stand-up comedian.
The neocons who have their heart set on bombing Iran to stop I’m-a-Dinner-Jacket and the mullahs from getting nuclear capability were thrilled and emboldened by the placid reaction to the Israeli air strike on Syria.
That is, of course, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose Couric-inspired nickname you will remember from the fruitbat column. That column also used a carrot and stick metaphor that gets trotted out again.
In his new book, the former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton scornfully accuses Colin Powell, and later Condi Rice, of appeasing Iran, including some carrots to get them to cease their nuclear plans.

Hit with sticks, the bogyman responded with sticks. He said that Iran will not negotiate with anyone about its right to nuclear technology.
And even though Dowd invokes Slim Pickens in the Dr Strangelove reference, the better comparison is to General Jack D. Ripper who says:
[Clemenceau] said war was too important to be left to the generals. When he said that, 50 years ago, he might have been right. But today, war is too important to be left to politicians. They have neither the time, the training, nor the inclination for strategic thought. I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.
Substitute “Communist” with “IslamoFascist” and “bodily fluids” with “oil resources” and I think you have Cheney’s next speech, right before the rogue B-52s head for Tehran.

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