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Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Where Shadows Lie

Three wars for the contractors, eager to supply
Seven for the oil lords of the dark catacomb
Nine thousand Iraqis, doomed to die
All for the Dark Lord, in his White Home
In the Land of Morford, where Shadows lie
One man to rule them all, one man to bind them
One man to bring them all, and with darkness blind them
In the Land of Morford, where Writers lie

Oh, dear, it's time for an episode of The Truth Is What I Say It Is, with our special guest, Mark Morford. For those who don't know, Morford is a San Francisco Chronicle columnist who is practically the poster boy for every single solitary thing that's wrong with the Left today. He's a smug, self-righteous, hyper-refined, indignant, posturing fool who believes his own drivel.

Can't find a fact to fit your particular pout? Just make it up! Are inconvenient reports splashed across every TV screen in the country? Deny they ever existed! Do it all with Mark's patented Morfacts!

This is not a war. Iraq will not be a war. Do we understand this? We do not seem to understand this. This is heavily corporatized power brokers killing each other for oil and capital. Oh yes it is.
You cannot have a war when there is nothing to fight against, when it's essentially going to be a huge U.S. military stomping/bombing exercise, when, just like Afghanistan, we stand to suffer zero U.S. casualties (except for those we seem to kill ourselves), and we just bomb and bomb and kill and kill and shrug.

Morfact #1: We bombed and killed indiscriminately in Afghanistan and don't you let anyone tell you that any less than 10,000 innocent big-eyed children were killed, because it just isn't so.

Morfact #2: Since we are so much stronger than our enemies, we are in the wrong. (This is an extremely popular model. All your finest idiots are using it, and it has given general satisfaction.)

...we want to annihilate everything as fast and ruthlessly as possible, simply because the longer such an operation takes and the more expensive and obviously pointless it becomes, the more everyday citizens snap out of it and begin to say, wait, why are we doing this again?

Morfact #3: All wars are Vietnam, and if they're not, they ought to be.

Now [Saddam's army is] even weaker, due to ongoing sanctions and U.N. oversight and a decade of continuous U.S.-led bombing raids on Iraqi targets you never read about.

Except in the newspapers.
Morfact #4: You didn't read about it. I don't care if you thought you did, you just didn't. It was never there.

Now let's say you sense this all to be true. Let's say you have a queasy feeling deep in your gut as you realize no one is talking about exactly why we need to launch a second simultaneous war to go along with the unwinnable assault we're still running in Afghanistan.

An even better example of Morfact #4. Nobody's talked about why we need to be in Iraq, despite the fact that everybody's talking about why we need to be in Iraq. It's been all over the news for months, both pro and con. What Morford means is that he's not satisfied with the explanations given, but saying that means that he'd have to address the explanations, and present a rebuttal, and that's all so much work when you can pretend that the whole subject was never addressed.

Remember Afghanistan? Yes, we're still there, warring away. Bombing and attacking and killing. Haven't caught a single al Qaeda leader of note yet. That looks bad for Dubya. Killed a few thousand civilians though. Shrug.

Morfact #5: These aren't the corpses you're looking for. You can go about your business. Move along.

We have in fact caught or killed several Al Qaeda leaders, including Rahim al-Nashri and Abu Zubaydah (yes, it turned out to be him) and Mohammed Atef and ...

You see, but as long as we haven't caught Bin Laden himself, then we haven't done a single blessed thing. Oh, and if we had caught or killed him, then Islamic terrorism would be wiped out, and we could all go home. Until, of course, the next terrorist attack, when we could blame Bush for being so stupid as to think terrorism could be killed with one man.

So, let's boil it down: Why go to war with Iraq? Can't find Osama, is one reason. That looks bad. Really, really want to steal all that delicious oil for ShrubCo, is another.

Morfact #6: Say it with me now: It's all about the Ooooiiilll!

Perhaps you wonder why no one is asking any of these questions, making similar points.

Perhaps you wonder where is the national TV coverage of all those huge anti-war protests, hundreds of thousands of people, all over the world, from Spain to Berlin to New York to San Francisco.

Perhaps you wonder how Morford, a columnist with high-rent media real estate, missed them. Perhaps you wonder why he's allowed to keep his column, considering that he does the same damn thing week after week. Perhaps you're doubly puzzled, considering that he's such a abysmal writer.

Perhaps you wonder where are all the "serious" journalists, the risk-taking news agencies pointing up the absurdity of it all, the imminent horror, the outrage. Could it be these news agencies are owned by major conservative corporations? Could it be they're all terrified of losing ratings, of saying something unpopular, of invoking Cheney's wrath, of losing advertiser dollars and that ever-precious, ever-dwindling dumbed-down audience? One guess.

Perhaps you wonder why Morford's lazy ass is not in Iraq at this very moment, and whether that means he's not a "serious" journalist. (Perhaps that leads you to wonder whether Robert Fisk will get beat up by Iraqis, and whether tickets will be sold and how you could get one.) Perhaps you wonder how on earth Morford could be so detached from reality as to imagine that news agencies eschew controversy.

If you're like me (and I know I am), perhaps this next paragraph will make you wonder what the sky is like on Morford's home world.

...This is the age of the preemptive-strike, screw-you Bush regime. Who needs, for example, the Monroe Doctrine, that crusty old rag stating how America will go to war only as a last resort, as a defensive measure, and won't become embroiled in unwinnable foreign wars that are none of our business?

Morfact #7: Any venerable historical principle will validate what I say, as long as no one checks.

The Monroe Doctrine:

We owe it, therefore, to candor and to the amicable relations existing between the United States and those [European] powers to declare that we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety. With the existing colonies or dependencies of any European power we have not interfered and shall not interfere. But with the Governments who have declared their independence...we could not view any any European power in any other light than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States.

Our policy in regard to Europe...remains the same [as before], which is, not to interfere in the internal concerns of any of its powers...submitting to injuries from none.

I've elided some flowery language and wherefores and whereases, but this is the gist: We won't interfere in Europe's internal affairs, we won't interfere with European colonies which are still colonies, but you come in and try to make colonies out of independent nations in this hemisphere, and we'll have something to say about it. I'm sure, given the state of the US military at the time, that this had the Euros shaking in their buckled shoes---with laughter.

But you'll note that it doesn't say anything about defensive measures, last resorts, or unwinnable foreign wars. In fact, it doesn't have anything to do with anything but the relationship between Europe and the Americas. If Morford would look at his map, he'll find that Iraq and Afghanistan are not in either place.

Who needs every precedent ever set by international law? Who needs the U.N. Charter?

Who needs cites when you can just make stuff up?

Who needs confused congressional approval?

Who missed the vote? Who slept through that whole month? Who's making crap up willy-nilly now?

Who needs ethical integrity?

Certainly not Mark Morford.

Who blow up da owl?

(I'm bitterly disappointed to find that that line, like "Play It Again Sam", does not really exist. Who removed it? Who?)

Screw it all, says Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, his black eyes gleaming like the devil's own golf balls.

Who needs a writing class?

Let us become an ever-more-hated rogue nation, attack whomever we want, whenever we want, with no international support and much international disgust.

Morfact---what are we up to---#8?: We have no international support. Pay no attention to Britain. Or Australia. Or Turkey, Qatar, Israel... Pay no attention to France---that'll be easy.

Let us be clear. Saddam is not a threat to the U.S., and never has been.

Morfact #---ah, screw it. This is just a lie. You can debate how big a threat, and whether it's enough to go to war over, but he is a threat.

We are, in short, going to attack and massacre Iraq for the oil reserves, to protect America's corporate interests, to feed the gaping maw of the military-industrial complex. Same as it ever was.

I left this in to justify my poem. There's more in the original.

We are not doing it to defeat terrorism (it will have the exact opposite effect)...

Morfact #10: You know these things when you're a columnist for a major daily. You just do.

...And to believe we are is, quite simply, to be wholly misinformed and openly, flagrantly, deliberately deceived.

And if there's anyone who knows about deliberate deception and flagrant misinformation, it's Mark Morford.

Ah, but where do idiot lefties go when they grow old, eh? Do they fat, lazy, and mellow? Or do they continue to crop feebly at the weedy garden of punditry with their worn and increasingly-useless teeth?

I have seen Morford's future, and it is Harley Sorensen. Sorensen is one of Morford's stablemates at the Chronicle; he has a column entitled "The View from the Left". That's right, the Chronicle finds that occasionally they need to supply a leftist view, just for balance. Just as a token, you understand.

Here are a few choice tidbits:

We're finally willing to fight back in the class war that has always existed in America, the Haves fighting to keep the Have Nots beaten down.

Damn straight! You young 'uns might've thought the Class War was all about money. Fools! No, it was all about keeping the Have Nots beaten down. Why, those Carnegies and Rockefellers would go without their dinners to go foreclose on a widow. A young DuPont would say, "Daddy, can't I please, please have some money for college?" And his Pa would say, "No! I have to pay the Pinkertons, so's they can shoot some miners. Why you need to go to college, anyway? You don't need a college education to beat down the poor! Here, take this stick and practice on the butler, and if he's not bleeding when I get back, young man, you will be!"

So who are the classes in this Class War? For starters, the poor versus the rich. A word of caution, though: not all rich people are as arrogant and snotty and self-serving as Rush and Bush.

That's right, like those nice Hollywood folk---those Sarandons and Sheens and so forth. Oh, and the Kennedys. And Michael Moore.

Now here's the quote that had Juan Gato rolling in the aisles.

Gorbachev was a wise man. He knew that after all these years and all these wars and all these deaths and all the money spent, the Americans would not quit until the Soviet Union folded. So, for the sake of his people, Gorbachev folded the Soviet Union.

That, and they were coming for his gizzard.

Somehow Juan missed this stirring conclusion:

Bush likes to ask: "What kind of person would gas his own people?" That's a reference to Saddam Hussein gassing the Kurds (who, incidentally, are not "his people"). Bush also asks, of the leader of North Korea, "What kind of person would let his own people starve to death?"

Well, let's continue the class war by asking: "What kind of American leader would deny poor children medical care?"

Now, the other day, Juan and several other people were disgusted by a report that some lefties were sanguine about Kurd-gassing because "they're his people". Now, here's a leftie who says, "Well, hey, you know, technically the Kurds aren't his people." Hey, he's right! Well, gas away then!

Sorensen makes it sound as if Bush is sending his Pinkerton goons to toss poor children out of hospitals. In reality, Sorensen just thinks that the government Must Do More. This is certainly arguable, but it does not bear comparison to deliberate mass murder and starvation.

I shouldn't have to make that last point, but by the time I'd finished Sorensen's Dick-and-Jane prose (not to mention Morford's crap) I felt my IQ drop by 50 points. The line at the end of the columns says, Harley Sorensen is a longtime journalist and liberal iconoclast. "Longtime"---apparently so; he says something about his generation fighting the Korean War, which means he's pushing seventy. (Think of that---Hawkeye Pierce is over seventy years old now, maybe more like eighty! Probably still goosing nurses, too.) By which I mean, he doesn't have any excuse for being a poor writer. I predict Morford won't get any better with age either.