Atlantis Alumni

Friday, May 11, 2007

Iraq - the biggest distraction?

When you look around Times Square, there are tons of lights, people, businesses and so on. Yet there are cars flying through the intersections, taxi and buses picking people up and dropping people off.

However, most of Times Square is a one way street. And one way streets criss-crossing Broadway.

Just closing and slightly moving off Broadway is one of my absolute favorite musicals, The Producers. It's a play written by Mel Brooks and it's about two producers that woo a whole bunch of old women into investing in a bogus play that turns out to be a hit. Go figure.

A classic line in The Producers: "It ain't no mystery whether it's politics or history the thing you gotta know is.... Everything is SHOWBIZ".

Now there's not much showbiz going on in Iraq, except for the embedded reporters and the feel good stories coming out a war zone and the attempt to make believe that we'll actually beat every historical precedent ever set in conflict by defeating an amorphous enemy that lives in the region.

Well, maybe there is some showbiz.

It's been my take since the beginning that Iraq is a no-lose situation for the Republican Party. "Nationalism will bring us victory" or some such nonsense has become pervasive in the national media. Supporting troops, supporting the US, supporting The Patriot Act (which by the way, was in play before 9/11). And if (longshot) Iraq had gone well, the American people would have whooped and threw up their hands and squealed with delight; all was forgiven.

All smells like a distraction and showbiz to me.

The tip of Iraq is that it is a distraction. It's a distraction in a place where we should never have been. It's a distraction to keep common American's from knowing that their civil liberties are getting tossed down the drain. It's a distraction to pour massive amounts of our public funds into a select few companies where even less few will profit handsomely.

Unfortunately the tip is what I think we see most. I know Iraq is wrong on all fronts. Killing people has never been right, ever. Killing people for finite resource redistribution (oil) is worse because others profit from someone else's misery.

I had a friend ask me the other day (in a craven way): "So what? If it's for oil, good. We need it to keep our country running you idiot." To which I replied: "Record profits for a resource that is no more finite than it was 10 years ago?" "We can develop alternative means of energy independence very quickly in the vacuum of oil; it's just a question of when and based on our current President or more likely his handlers - timing seems to be everything." I got a harumph and that was it. By the way, my friend drives a massive SUV and he just plugs away at his day job like everyone else.

He buys the gibberish government has been putting out. Here's where it gets kind of interesting though. The administration can't create anymore distractions. People are starting not to give a shit about gay marriage or Terry Schaivo's husband. The reality is starting to cut through the poor quality show biz put on by our President and his handlers.

This may be what saves us. I worked for a very large company early on in my career. I was in a meeting with the head of market research and he had anecdotal data that tracked consumers for almost 50 years solid. He said something that resonated with me for a long time: "People think with the wallet. It's been shown over and over again in our studies." The company I worked for was a pre-packaged foods company (one of the largest in the world). Thus his data is probably pretty good.

So to the point of Iraq being manifested is that it is a no-lose distraction for the White House and OPEC. Perhaps their own success of a $4 a gallon gas pump will also be their undoing? Government is for the people, not for companies, not for foreign interests and it isn't there to make a profit. I operate under the basic premise of this: we should do good things for others with no expectation of reciprocation in return. Iraq is the diametric opposite of the aforementioned concept.

And what about our troops? What about the troops? What about the children? What will they think? What if we cut and run? What will history say? The troops are being squandered and quite a few of our kids were just killed in Virigina for no good reason. The troops are the showbiz backdrop for the Republicans. It's a misuse of some of the best Americans of our century and I think history WILL see it accordingly.

History will say we elected someone to the Whitehouse that had a long history of making bad decisions with bad people and that he replicated a scenario we thought we had learned from in the 1960's. Let's look at the last five gulf wars in Iraq. Did GW or Condi or Colin Powell look at any of that history?

Maybe the engineers in the constitution set up some one way streets through the distractions so even the most clever partisan hack will fall on himself eventually.


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