Thursday, July 07, 2005

London's Burning

What can be expressed about the bombings in London this morning except for plain human anguish, shock and grief? Rage? Despair?

What's that? Resolve?

I was hopping around the radio on the commute, trying to avoid the inevitable "more prurient details coming in just now" play-by-play, and there, amidst the more-or-less articulate wordstream, distinct as a newly pubescent voice cracking among the boys choir, was Dear Leader, forced to extemporize a statement sans flash cards. But no matter, the result was yet another DJ Karl Rove talking points re-mix:
The war on terror goes on. I was most impressed by the resolve of all the leaders in the room. Their resolve is as strong as my resolve. And that is, we will not yield to these people, will not yield to the terrorists.

We will find them. We will bring them to justice. And at the same time we will spread an ideology of hope and compassion that will overwhelm their ideology of hate.
"Resolve...blah blah blah...terra...will not yield...blah blah blah...compassion....blah blah blah...terra...blah blah blah...smoke 'em out...blah blah fucking blah". Bush was impressed with the resolve of all the leaders in the room. As if, upon hearing the news, Chirac and Bush and Blair and the gang all rolled up their sleeves or pulled down their pants to compare their resolve. Wonder Twin Powers, Activate!


Later, listening to the BBC coverage, I heard a snippet of interview with Charles Heyman during which he made plain to me the contrasts between the British and American responses to crisis. For one, he detailed just how perfectly the London emergency response teams reacted to the bombings. Hayman couldn't find the tiniest complaint with the speed and efficiency of the whole system. Now, considering the sorry state of the US public health infrastructure and its willful neglect by this administration, one may only imagine how we'd compare if and when a DC Metro station or two go boom.

More importantly, Heyman said that in the next week we should expect a "massive forensic examination" of the bombing sites. At this point I'll ask you to remember the speed with which we dispatched the smouldering WTC rubble to Fresh Kills, won't you? All that evidence, get it the fuck out of here. The difference of course, is that mere moments after the World Trade Center attacks, we were all, "It's War!", which took it out of the realm of mere criminality into the glorified status of Battle For God and Country. And when you take casualties in an act of war, you don't ask questions, you don't call the cops, you send in the Marines.

The problem with calling this thing a 'war' is that in doing so, in a word we transform the criminals as well into warriors.


I've heard Bush's lame-ass impromptu bullshit soundbite several times now, and the laxity, the indifference, the pure mouthing-of-words of it turns me so bilious I feel I need to check myself into detox. After listening to Blair, for whom I hold no great respect, and hearing at least the sounds of a man struggling with a terrible confrontation, to hear Bush's breezy and bored recitation about resolve is yet another small insult piled onto the tubercular remnants of the Republic. Of course the man doesn't know when the only proper response is an honorable silence. To understand so would require some honor.


Anonymous Bakerina said...

Testify, brudda.

What I really hate about that speech of Slouching Leader's is that it sounds so patently like a Cliffs Notes version of Blair's speech. Bush made the same points that Blair made about African poverty and global climate change -- sorry, I mean "the envirnmint" -- only with fewer, simpler words, as if he were reading the PowerPoint presentation. It makes blood gout from the top of my head.

As far as Karl Rove is concerned, if you haven't caught Seth MacFarlane's new show American Dad!, do try to catch the episode where Stan (the American Dad) is running for church deacon and enlists Karl Rove's aid to help him get elected. (Basically, Rove is portrayed as a hooded wraith-demon, who starts to sizzle when he gets too close to a church door.)

The only good thing in this whole nightmare is that my pals in the UK and their families are safe and accounted for.

4:08 PM  

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