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I do so hate this sour mood of mine.

Gets to the point when Matt Taibbi, trying to make Sy Hersh look like an optimist—

RUMSFELD: Anyway, I guess the point I’m trying to make is that I don’t know if we’re starting another war. I tried to ask the president about it the other day. We schedule a meeting. I go in there. He’s sitting behind his desk and everything’s the same as before, except now he’s got this big brass plate on his desk that reads, “Ask me to show you my MANDATE!” He’s got a plate of tater tots and he’s hucking them at Laura’s new dog there, making these bomb noises, like “Pyew! Pyew!” And I’m like, “Sir, are we invading Iran?” And he looks up and says, “Iran? That’s a great idea! Put Rumsfeld on it!”

FEITH: Jesus! And you say?

RUMSFELD: And I say, “Sir, I am Rumsfeld!” And he says, “You’re kidding. Then who was that who was just in here?” And he points to a security monitor. I look at it, and there’s a guy walking down the White House corridor, towards the exit, who looks just like me!

FEITH: Who was it?

RUMSFELD: How the hell do I know?

FEITH: Was he Defense?

RUMSFELD: I don’t think so. I’m Defense!

—well, it just isn’t bleak enough, and I find myself scarfing up the War Nerd on the sly—

Everybody’s asking me what’ll happen if we attack Iran. To get a quick preview, just do what this guy in my eighth-grade class did: put a firecracker in your mouth, hold it between your front teeth, and light the fuse.

Your friends won’t believe you’ll go through with it. So when it blows up in your face, you’ll expect them to be impressed. And you’ll be surprised, just like this guy in junior high was surprised, when all you get is a perforated eardrum and a reputation as the biggest dumbass in the school.

Right now, Bush is standing there with a lit match and a big firecracker labeled “Iran” in his mouth. Except it’s more like an M-80 or a whole stick of dynamite than a firecracker. Nobody believes he’ll be dumb enough to light it, to actually attack Iran. Even the Iranians don’t believe it; Khameini, their head Mullah, said last week “America is in no position to invade Iran.”

He’s right about that. Even the US Army brass admits we’re “overstretched.” We don’t even have enough troops to control Iraq; a war with Iran would mean calling up every National Guard unit we have. Even then, it would take years to get them combat-ready.

And this time the Brits won’t come with us. They’ve been making that clear, on the quiet. If we go in, it’ll be as a coalition of one.

So Khameini’s right; we can’t attack Iran. But that doesn’t mean we won’t. Khameini was making the same mistake everybody’s been making: assuming Bush and his cronies have a lick of sense.

—so much so that it takes me too dam’ long to recognize the nihilism masquerading as tough-nosed realism, the second-hand armchair experience cloaking itself in coarse, pseudo–old-skool ethnicisms—I know you of old. You’ve got as much to learn from the world as we do, bucko.

I need to put it all down, the news and the knee-jerk and the flailing outrage, just put it all down and back away. Since I’m not getting the job done here. (A perennial plaint, hereabouts. —What is the job? You let me know, you ever find out.) Work on the damn reprogramming and re-design. Pick up the comics and the SF and the phantastique; start picking at the differences between trees and labyrinths. Drug myself with ostranenie; stave off with denial what I can’t move or shift with red-faced ranting.

My God. I used to live there.

  1. Kevin Moore    Feb 1, 08:37 PM    #
    Go back to college, get immersed in studies, occasionally bring your head up for air, discover that the world is still heading in the maddening direction it was aiming for when you last left it, resubmerge in books on theory-building, knowledge construction and other epistemological hoohah, and shudder.

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