Thursday, April 27, 2006

Collective IQ of Bush Administration Doubles Overnight!

Collective IQ of Universe Set to Multiply to the Tenth Power!

WHAT’S REALLY IMPORTANT [and I mean it this time] (Part 2):



On the weekend of April 21 this set of Marine parents (me and the spousal unit) decided to attend the first annual conference sponsored by, held in Houston, Texas.

We had absolutely no idea what to expect—what kind of cross-section of the American military family we would meet there. The experience and the people were impressive, tremendously informative, and deeply sobering.

The highest-profile (and busiest) speaker of the weekend was Colon
el Bryan McCoy, whose 3rd Battalion of the 4th Marine Regiment pushed into Baghdad on April 7, 2003, and helped the locals topple Saddam’s statue in Firdos Square on April 9th. They also saw fierce fighting (and took numerous losses) in the first battle for Fallujah in 2004. He’s a tough, intelligent, commanding man, the sort whose troops would walk through burning coals and broken glass for him—something he would never ask of them unless he had first done it himself.

At the other extreme of the assembled Marine community was Chelsea B--, a very young mother of two whose husband is serving his second tour of Iraq. She would seem perfectly at home doing her nails with her high school girlfriends listening to Britney Spears and cooing over Orlando B
loom. Instead she manages a Marine wives’ internet message board with over 300 participants, helping them manage their affairs and keep their wits collected while their husbands patrol dusty streets in over 100º heat, ignoring their 60 lbs. of gear as their eyes dart in every direction.

In the middle ground was Steve S--, wearing full dress blues and shuffling tipsily with the aid of his mother’s arms and a four-foot staff. When he sits his right arm shakes uncontrollably, fingers pounding against his knee. Amid the brown hair on the right side of his head is a massive s-curve of scar tissue, hiding the shattered source of all that nerve damage.

Among those standing for Steve when he was introduced by his commanding officer, Col. McCoy, were the Gold Star Parents for whom we had all previously stood in tribute: the Norwoods, who had sat with Laur
a Bush in the congressional gallery during the 2005 State of the Union Address and were spontaneously hugged by an Iraqi woman with a voter’s purple finger (Byron Norwood, age 25, died in Fallujah in November 2004); the Starrs, whose son’s private final letter telling of his pride in the help he knew he was giving to Iraqis longing for freedom, became famous when it was selectively quoted by the New York Times so as to appear jaded and despairing (Cpl. Jeff Starr, age 22, died near Ar Ramadi in May 2005—); the Franks, who turned their grief into action by starting the Heart of a Marine Foundation to give moral and material support to military families in need (Phillip Frank, age 20, died in April 2004 near Fallujah). There were others.

“Gung ho” is usually a derogatory term used to describe those who plough into a project with mindless enthusiasm. Our time with these Marine parents taught us, among other things, that it is clearly possible combine being gung-ho with being wise, wary, compassionate, and realistic. Having been heavily dosed with realism at every turn, we nevertheless emerged from the encounter with even greater respect for the life our son has chosen, and the sense that there is much we can do for him and his new wife, and ourselves, to take us through the perils that may lie ahead.

Or should I say, “him, his wife, and his child.” Barely have we had a chance to digest the sights and experiences afforded to us as Marine parents, before we are informed as of today that we are to be (Marine) grandparents, come this December. I am not sure which part of this scenario I find more implausible—my son the Star Wars/ Lord of the Rings geek being a father, or me the perpetually goofy failed beatnik being a grandparent. But such we are. In the space of 14 months our immediate family will have seen three weddings and two babies—doomsday demographics be damned! We’re holding up our end, by God!

Let the baby madness begin! (VISA
card now officially smokin'.)

Lesser news:
President Bush has announced what was no longer surprise news-- that he has replaced Defensive Doughboy Scott McLellan with FOX news and radio pundit Tony Snow to be his press secretary.


AT LAST somebody there will have some idea of how the job is done. Kudos to the Snow-man. Lots and lots of stuff has gone horribly wrong under the Bush administration, but the relentless, exasperating, needless, suicidal inability and UNWILLINGNESS to communicate with a predominantly well-disposed American public has been by far its most egregious failing.

It's a desperately sad -- pathetic, really -- comment on th
is administration that, in a time of a shootin' war overseas and an ideological sectarian war within the walls of the United States Capitol, the mere replacement of a press spokesman can take on such profound importance. But this move addresses (and, we hope, dresses) the most festering wound in the Republican body politic. One waggish blog commenter proposed a White House press briefing room reality show, where Tony gets to decide whether to entertain a question from Helen Thomas or just "bitch slap" her on general principles. I think his first duty ought to be to bitch-slap the President into treating us like adults.


Democrats lose yet another stick for beating the bushes.

Mum's the word. If this gets out there is a risk people will start thinking that
(a) something good could be happening over there-- CAN'T HAVE THAT!
(b) brown-skinned foreign people might actually be capable of d
emocratic self-rule, and our interest in making sacrifices to help them might be justified.

There are those who say that Republicans are spiralling into oblivion as they head towards the fall election.

Why am I sitting here feeling kind of sorry for the left? I'll deal with that later.

For now I'll just enjoy being in the grip of the warm-fuzzies, what with the stork on
the horizon.