Procrastinating on my important scholarly duties last night, I happened to flip by C-SPAN and discovered a somewhat spirited debate in the House on the subject of withdrawing the troops from Iraq. A long line of republican veterans came out to list silly, illogical reasons why ending the war would hurt the feelings of the troops. They kept aiming their arguments at Murta, the 37 year marine veteran democrat hawk who has recently turned against the war and drawn up a plan for a six month withdrawal. I missed the part where a republican rookie read a letter calling Murta a coward and got shouted down, but I still got the distinct impression that British parliamenterians were sending our congress some tips. I mean this was rowdy.
But all this talk about Murta and the screen was telling me it was a republican resolution that was being debated. I couldn’t figure out what the hell was going on.
The resolution was “non-binding” and only stated that the House felt the troop deployment should be “terminated immediately.” Sounded kind of pointless but I was surprised it was actually being debated, even if only 2 democrats and 1 republican ended up voting for it.
But then I went onto this here internet device and read about the resolution and only then did I understand the sinister truth. If you haven’t heard, the republican leadership submitted a purposely stupid resolution to withdraw the troops, ahead of Murta’s more carefully planned one, just so they could shoot it down.
The hypocrisy is pretty staggering if you sat through any of these sanctimonious speeches equating “trying to end this war” with “calling the troops grandma skinning babyfuckers.” More than one of these guys brought up the old RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART 2 reinterpretation of Vietnam where we would’ve for sure won if those stinkin bureaucrats just gave us a couple more weeks to sew it up and where the morale was ruined not by the aimlessness of the war itself but by hearing that people in Congress were discussing ending it. The guys making this argument are Vietnam vets so okay, their arguments sound ludicrous, but let’s give it to them. They would know better than I would. But they lose credibility when they are claiming to be OUTRAGED that the congress is talking about this matter that will undoubtedly crush the fragile hearts of America’s finest. Okay, then talk to your fuckin republican leadership who submitted this resolution for the very reason that they thought it would make the democrats look “anti-military” if they talked about ending the war.
Also, if talk of withdrawal is gonna be so god damn hurtful to the boys overseas, you might want to explain this to General George Casey, “the top U.S. commander in Iraq,” since he apparently already submitted a plan for withdrawal to Rumsfeld.
Bush of course did his part in Vietnam from some campaign office stateside. For this battle, he threw in a couple good words from his remote location in South Korea. In one of his famous bullshit speeches to troops he said of the Iraq mess, “We will never accept anything less than complete victory.” Yeah, well you’re gonna have a long, painful life of denial and lack of acceptance then, shithead. You already fucked this ten miles beyond “complete victory.” If you even have a definition of “sort of victory” I would be interested to hear it, but I’m guessing it’s not something you could put into words. You’ll just know it when you see it.
That’s the biggest hole I kept noticing in these pro-war republican speeches. They would always mention “victory” or “winning” with the only alternative being what they call “cut and run.” But of course, none of these guys gave any hint of how in fuck’s name we are gonna be able to achieve something that could reasonably be called winning. Yeah, maybe when we finally put an end to this gawdawful disaster we will be a bunch of losers. But if we wait an extra ten years to do it we will be bigger losers. If they were so concerned about saving face maybe they should’ve thought of that before starting a difficult (maybe even unwinnable) war and then ignoring the advice of the people whose job it is to do those sorts of things. I guess hindsight is 20/20, but you probably should make careful contingency plans before starting a war instead of just figuring everything will work itself out.
It’s like if a guy decided to build a ladder to the moon. He can’t just keep climbing and refuse to come down. Eventually he has to realize that you can’t build a ladder to the fucking moon. No matter how much you stay the course and refuse to lose and remain steadfast you’re gonna eventually fall off the ladder and break your ass. And the sooner you decide to turn around the sooner your ass will heal.
One republican from Texas – I didn’t catch his name but he was kind of like a lovable old blowhard uncle telling war stories – he talked about how if we leave Iraq, our enemies will take advantage of our weaknesses. Well, no offense old boy, but have you been getting the newspaper these last couple years? Our weakness is that we are too stupid and stubborn and careless to take our troops out of harm’s way. We leave them out there hoping they will attract Progress like flowers attract bees. But mostly they’re attracting car bombs. Man, it’s not just a coincidence that they’re there at the same time as the bombings.
Which Iraqis are they protecting by being there? The ones who are bomb proof? And when you say “fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them here,” doesn’t that sort of contradict this idea about how we’re making a better country for our freedom loving purple fingered Iraqi friends? We’re setting bear traps in their living rooms with our troops as the bait. Sorry Iraqis, you’re gonna have to live with terrorists for a while. It won’t be forever though. Just until we win.
But how are we gonna know when this winning occurs? Can these people really picture a day when a democratically elected government is solidly in place, with their own non-abusive troops capable of keeping them in power, and on this day the Islamic terrorists from other countries will decide to stop attacking, and the Iraqi suicide bombers will finally feel (despite no planned withdrawal) that the Americans are no longer occupiers and decide to give life another chance, and the Sunnis and Shiites and Kurds and everyone else will decide to get along, and everyone will chip in to fix the electrical grid and the sewage and the oil pipelines, and then all the little children will pull the flowers and candy out of the attic and sweep away the bomblets and depleted uranium shavings and white phosphorous so they can come to the streets and finally give our boys that parade they were promised, just as Dick Cheney (wearing a full gimp outfit) leads Saddam Hussein out on a leash to hand Bush the 1st Place Victory Trophy and a “Freedom Is On the Move” lapel pin?
Because maybe I’m a pessimist but I’m pretty sure that shit could never, ever happen, ESPECIALLY after these idiots fucked up the planning and execution of this mess six ways to Sunday, every Sunday for the past 3 years. I mean come on. Talk about “progress” all you want. And I’ll even agree, phoney as they are, it is genuinely good at least in a symbolic way that they have voted on a couple things now. And I’m sure many Iraqis are really hoping to turn this into a real life democracy and not just a made for American television one. And I hope they can do it.
But you know what, it seemed this way at the time and in retrospect it seems more sure than ever: Abu Ghraib was the end of this war. It was the Mission Unaccomplished banner on the deck of the USS We Fuckin Blew It. You know, Michael Jackson was found innocent but people are never gonna stop calling him a child molester. And O.J.’s not gonna ever live down being O.J. And I know you’re not supposed to draw this parallel, but the Nazis never could’ve cleaned up their image if they had tried. All I’m saying is that it’s a little naive to assume the Muslim world is gonna warm up to us after seeing those photos. If you were an Iraqi and there were American soldiers patrolling your neighborhood, do you think you would associate them more with this “good news the media never reports,” or with the Abu Ghraib naked butt pyramid?
And of course that brings me to another big topic of our time, the good ol’ American torture issue. Bush infamously said “We don’t torture.” I would argue that this is not him blatantly lying or being completely detached from reality. I think this is another case of thinking that he can just change a definition in order to make what he says true. Does a blowjob count as cheating? Does sticking an electrode up a guy’s ass count as torture?
They’ve tried to make up different names for their unique brand of American torture. They call it “torture lite” and even “enhanced interrogation” and I would submit “doggy fun time.” But they know deep in the spot where their hearts would be that it’s torture, otherwise Darth Cheney wouldn’t have gone and tried to get loopholes put into John McCain’s anti-torture legislation.
Isn’t it kind of ironic for these guys who always smear people who disagree with them as “unamerican” and “anti-american” to be defending fucking torture? I mean come on, it doesn’t get much more clean cut than that. If you like to torture people, there are many S&M clubs in your community that you can get involved in. If it MUST be non-consenting for you to get hard, well… TOUGH LUCK, PERVERT. THIS IS AMERICA. But there are many other countries in the world you could go to that would be more in line with your values.
You may think that it’s unfair to write these people off as perverts, just because they jack off to pictures of prisoners on leashes being attacked by dogs. Well I would argue that “it gets me off” is actually a better pro-torture argument than the other ones that are floating around.
While the Bush people are publicly claiming to be against torture (wink wink, nudge nudge, wink again, pinch on the ass, psssst, did you get the wink guys, you did?, you did. okay good, just making sure, I wasn’t sure if you got the wink or not), they have some of their more daring buddies out there trying to publicly advocate for it. There’s basically one argument and it’s so god damn retarded it makes me feel like I need to help feed it its lunch. I’ve seen it spread from pundits on talk shows to the public and I’ve heard a couple people calling in to talk shows thinking they made this one up themselves. Like an urban legend or that “aristocrats” joke there are different variations on it but it always involves a hypothetical scenario along these lines:
“Yeah, but what if a bomb is about to be detonated in the middle of New York, and Bruce Willis’s million dollar bounty has resulted in the capture of the one guy who can tell us where it’s going to go off, and there are only 24 hours to stop it, but NO MATTER HOW NICELY WE ASK this motherfucker refuses to talk, and we know for sure that the only way we can get him to tell us is by taking naked pictures of him and sticking fluorescent tubes up his butt?”
Well first of all, anybody who brings up this ridiculous bullshit should not be allowed to be on TV anymore. Because this shit is too ludicrous to pass either as political analysis OR as an hour long suspense drama on Fox. But I’m gonna be nice. Even though you’re fucking idiots. Just let me make these two points:
- If this type of thing ever happens, man, don’t sweat it. Yes, torture is illegal. But I’m pretty sure that after your torturing savvy saves New York from a dirty bomb attack the military tribunal might go pretty lenient on you. In fact, I promise that I will rally behind the torturer who saved New York and demand the charges be dropped. I would even approve of a “it doesn’t count as torture if the torture saves New York from a dirty bomb in a 24 type scenario” clause.
- THIS TYPE OF THING WILL NEVER HAPPEN. Even in the bad Jean-Claude Van Damme movie that you apparently live in this wouldn’t work. Because the terrorist wouldn’t give up the information under torture. Or if he did, he would just give the wrong information, like in real life. Or he would give information that would lead to a trap EVEN MORE SINISTER than the dirty bomb, but luckily Van Damme would figure it out in time and would disobey a direct order and do some awesome kicks and the splits and save the day. Which is great but he would’ve saved the day sooner if he hadn’t wasted his time sexually molesting prisoners.
Traditionally, my VERN TELL’S IT LIKE IT IS columns are an endless angry spew of the thoughts stomping through my skull, and then suddenly they peter out anti-climactically. This is no exception. Thanks for listening.
p.s. some corrections and updates from the last column:
Turns out THE ICE HARVEST is not about a diamond heist, it’s actually a suitcase of cash. Sorry for being too poetic with a literal title.
THE HARD CORPS starring Van Damme and Wesley Snipes is a no-go. Snipes was apparently never really involved and from the half-assed way the producer cleared this up my guess is that they intentionally released that incorrect information so that somebody would actually have heard of the movie before it came out, which is unusual for DTV. Anyway it’s just Van Damme now, so I’ll probaly have to sit this one out.
Good news though: Snipes may be starring in Mario Van Peebles’ next movie HARD LUCK, along with Cybill Shepard of BRUCE WILLIS’S MOONLIGHTING fame. Van Peebles is a fellow king of the DTV market but since this is his followup to BADAAASSSSS! I’m thinking it might go theatrical. Let’s just hope it’s not another false alarm.
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.