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"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
December 09, 2004
Nice Liberals: AAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGHHH!
Part I of the continuing "NL:A!" series can be found here.
I once was a certain type of nice American liberal. Perhaps you yourself have encountered this type. It is the type that reads the New York Times, often listens to NPR, and enthusiastically voted for Bill Clinton. The type has good intentions. The type wants the best for all. But the type has the unmatched ability to miss the WHOLE FUCKING POINT OF EVERYTHING.
If this type had a giraffe living in its kitchen, it would not see it. Instead, the type would sit there, carefully reading the day's New York Times story about awful people in third world countries with giraffes living in their kitchens. What's wrong with these people? the type would think. How can they allow giraffes to live in their kitchens? From time to time the type would wonder why their house smells so musky lately, and why all the food on high shelves mysteriously disappears.
This type of nice liberalism is on full display now, regarding the various ways Iraq evaded the UN sanctions and sold oil during the nineties.
On the one hand, there's the frothing right wing. They demand that Kofi Annan's head be delivered to Dick Cheney, so Cheney can make a goblet out of his skull. On the other hand, there are well-researched articles in nice liberal publications. The articles delve into the minutiae of the issue, and report back the truth: that the sanctions "leakage" was always known by everyone, including the US, and consciously ignored. Good examples can be found here and here. See also a piece by Joy Gordon in the December issue of Harper's (not online).
These articles tell us all about the height, weight, and mating habits of giraffes in Indonesia. Which is interesting. But maybe the nice liberal publications could, just once, mention the giraffe IN OUR KITCHEN.
(Please note: I'm not blaming the authors of these pieces, which are excellent. They did the best they could. The problem lies much deeper, in the liberal squishy willingness to allow the right to control the terms of all debate.)
That giraffe in our kitchen is the fact that the sanctions on Iraq were not supposed to be there in perpetuity. According to the relevant UN resolutions, the sanctions would be lifted when Iraq was disarmed of WMD. We now know Iraq met these requirements in 1991, or arguably 1995 at the latest. (Details on request.)
120 World Trade Centers full of children. That's a big damn giraffe.
And I don't make the World Trade Center comparison lightly. Because -- as even the Bush administration believes -- the 9/11 attacks were in retaliation for the sanctions (plus our troops in Saudi Arabia). A "senior administration official" even argues that without our nineties policy toward Iraq, Osama bin Laden would just be hanging out, telling boring stories about his days in the Khyber Pass.
To make the story even more gruesome, we also know the Clinton administration ignored numerous peace feelers from Iraq. But that shouldn't be surprising -- as the US government has repeatedly said, our only interest was in ousting Saddam. The sanctions helped, in our minds. So we had to bloviate constantly about the WMD as a pretext.
Thus, hand in hand with Saddam, we spent almost thirteen years strangling the people of Iraq. Leading us right to the terrifying world we live in today.
So as a former nice liberal, let me plead with my former compatriots: open your eyes. There are lots of giraffes in our house. They're multiplying and getting bigger. And giraffes can even kill lions, with just one kick.
Oh, Erica! Not only do I know it, in spring, 1999 I wrote a new verse for it:
When Clinton went to Guatemala
He was right to say we'd been wrong
A million are dead now in Baghdad
I'm beginning to have some real qualms
But let's talk about those bastards in Belgrade
Those fuckers, they've GOT to be bombed
Love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal
As you can see, I can't go a day without using profanity.Posted at December 9, 2004 02:38 PM | TrackBack