Devils and the Deep Blue Sea

The non-victory-lap victory lap broadcast from the Oval Office last week showed beyond any lingering doubt that young Mr. Obama is every bit the prevaricator that young Mr. Bush was. But the mission semi-accomplished speech carried an even darker announcement: the unconditional surrender of our political leadership to the American Pentarchy, that malevolent confluence of Big Brother, Big Bucks, Big Oil, Big Arms, Big Bandwidth, Big Jesus, Big Zion, and big-shot generals and politicians who sustain the Pentagon’s Long War agenda.

Only someone with the IQ of a tea bag could fail to recognize that Obama’s Mission Pseudo-Accomplished speech was a post-Orwellian masterpiece of Dubya-class disassembly.

“The combat mission in Iraq has ended,” Obama told us, but there’s lots of fighting ahead. Our troops “defeated a regime that had terrorized” Iraq’s people, then they “shifted tactics to protect the Iraqi people” from, uh, each other. Because of “the resilience of the Iraqi people,” they’re still a threat to themselves. “All U.S. troops will leave by the end of next year” unless our generals and other military advisers say leaving is a bad idea, which they’ve already said, time and time and time and time and time and time again. And oh yeah, all this is Bush’s fault, but you can’t doubt the schmuck’s “support for our troops or his love of country and commitment to our security.” Or can you?

Bush could give a speech like that with a straight face because he lacked sufficient moral and cognitive subtlety to understand how full of crap he was. Obama doesn’t have that excuse. His father didn’t even stick around to watch him grow up, much less buy him degrees from Harvard and Yale, and Air National Guard pilot wings, and spiritual redemption from a televangelist, and a baseball team, and a political career. Obama had to acquire clout the hard way, which means he spent more time operating under the table than a Bangkok bar girl. As a result, Obama has developed a sophisticated capacity for Orwellian Doublethink, the ability to simultaneously accept both of two contradictory beliefs as truth.

It isn’t like the warning signs weren’t there all along. When candidate Obama swore he’d pinch it off in Iraq in order to “finish the job” in Afghanistan, we might have suspected that something with a reek nailed to it was headed our way. In another telling campaign event that largely flew under the radar, Obama camp foreign policy wonks Tony Lake and Susan Rice signed their boss onto a “study report” issued by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), an AIPAC subsidiary. The “report,” titled Strengthening the Partnership: How to Deepen U.S.-Israel Cooperation on the Iranian Nuclear Challenge, concluded that the U.S. must be open to taking “preventative military action” against Iran in order to protect Israel or accept that Israel may be forced to take military action on its own. I never heard Obama mention that during the debates, did you? It must have slipped his mind.

Some of us feared the jig was up when a victorious Obama announced he’d keep Defense Secretary Bob Gates, Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen, “King David” Petraeus, “Desert Ox” Odierno, and the rest of the surgin’ safari on the job despite their public stands in opposition to the kinds of withdrawal timelines he had proposed during his run for the White House. His appointment of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state ensured that war would continue to trump diplomacy as America’s foreign policy tool of choice.

Then Obama agreed to Gen. David McKiernan’s request to escalate the Afghanistan war even though neither McKiernan nor the Joint Chiefs could tell him what the end game in that conflict might look like. He let Petraeus Inc. bully him into firing McKiernan and replacing him with Petraeus darling Stan McChrystal, and then he let McChrystal pry-bar him into yet another escalation. When it came time to fire McChrystal, Obama stiff-armed the opportunity to clean his five-sided house of ill repute and sack the entire junta like he should have when he took office. Instead he put Petraeus in McChrystal’s old job and continued to leave the Bush-era mafia in place. It is now clear that the Aug. 31 end-of-combat milestone was a mockery, and that the other withdrawal timeline dates for both Iraq and Afghanistan are equally farcical.

There is a certain healthy aspect to once and for all coming out of one’s state of denial about Obama and his relationship with the warmongery. Unfortunately, that’s just the first step of a startling journey into the dark corners of our national psyche. For not only has the War Borg assimilated Obama, it has consumed his party as well. Congressional Democrats have had nearly four years to pull the plug on our woebegone wars in Western Asia and have declined to do so.

And the alternative to our present ruling faction is a party that owes its allegiance to the undead sorts who flocked to Washington last week to worship Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial. Worse yet is that when we look to the highbrow end of the GOP lineup we find Newt Gingrich, who as a political philosopher makes Niccolò Machiavelli look like Lao Tzu. Newt is the master of every underhanded ruse of Socratic rhetoric. One of his favorites is the false analogy, with which he recently pseudo-refuted the right of American citizens to build a mosque in the vicinity of the Twin Towers by saying, “Nazis don’t have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust Museum in Washington.”

In one fell swoop, Newt equated all Muslims with Nazis and he equated a place of worship to a “sign,” presumably one that would say something spiteful about Jews who suffered in the Holocaust. Newt would have been making a fair analogy if he’d said, “Lutherans don’t have a right to build a day-care center next to the Holocaust Museum,” but even Glenn and Sarah might think that kind of talk was crazy, or at least be forced to confess that they didn’t have a clue what Newt was quacking about.

And it would never dawn on Glenn or Sarah or their sub-sentient acolytes that Newt was demonizing Muslims in the exact same manner that the Nazis demonized Jews.

Our quest for the lesser evil has arrived at an impasse. On one hand we have a world-class Doublethinker who expects us to thank him for keeping promises he has vigorously broken and to accept the cynical notion that war is peace. On the other we have a mob of flesh-eating galoots who promise to give us Orwell’s Hate Week 52 weeks a year for as long as it takes them to bring about Armageddon.

Author: Jeff Huber

Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (retired), was a naval flight officer who commanded an aircraft squadron and was operations officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, the carrier that fought the Kosovo War. Jeff earned a master of arts degree in post-modern imperialism at the U.S. Naval War College. His weekly satires on U.S. foreign policy high jinks are archived at his blog, Pen and Sword. Jeff's critically applauded novel Bathtub Admirals, a lampoon of America's rise to global dominance, is on sale now. Jeff lives with dogs in a house by the beach on Chesapeake Bay in Virginia, and in the summer he has a nice tan.