You may only read this site if you've purchased Our Kampf from Amazon or Powell's or me
• • •
"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show

"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author, Adverbs, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket

"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming

May 13, 2004

Battle Hymn of the Imperium

The New York Daily News reports on Donald Rumsfeld's Senate Appropriations Committee testimony yesterday:

Rumsfeld glumly listened as senators read despairing E-mails from U.S. troops in Iraq and he requested extra time at the end of the hearing to deliver a rambling statement ripping media coverage of the prison abuse scandal.

"I've kind of stopped reading the press, frankly," Rumsfeld said, his voice quavering at times. Instead, Rumsfeld said he was reading a book on Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's bloody drive on Richmond in the last year of the Civil War.

That’s right: when the going gets tough, the tough avoid it. "I’ve kind of stopped reading the press—now I just sit in the bunker and listen to Wagner." Next up: Rumsfeld proposes to his longtime girlfriend Eva.

Furthermore, Rumsfeld's choice of escapist reading material says a lot about the fantasy world he inhabits. I'm sure he and Cheney, Wolfowitz, etc. genuinely did imagine Iraqis were going to treat US soldiers like freed slaves treated Union soldiers. They did not anticipate the freed slaves would start decapitating Northern civilians.

I find this the creepiest thing about the Bush administration -- the ostentatious idealism with which they execute their carnage. Supposedly Rumsfeld has a plaque on his desk with a quotation from Teddy Roosevelt: "Aggressive fighting for the right is the noblest sport the world affords."

Roosevelt, that great sportsman, proclaimed we were going to liberate the long-suffering Filipino people from despotic Spanish rule. We only had to kill 200,000 of them before they understood we were there to help them. Hopefully the Iraqis will be quicker learners.

However, America today is not the America of 1898. For one thing, there are now two Filipino American generals. And of course, in an interesting twist of history, the damning report about Abu Ghraib was written by one of them.

Posted at May 13, 2004 03:41 PM | TrackBack