Friday, July 15, 2005

Friedman on the Fourth Pt. II

"Say your damn prayers, Kristof," Thomas Friedman, the less and less great each day, to Nicky K.

If you're thinking the line should come along holding hands with "And reach for the sky!" then you're obviously late to the party.

It was a cook out. A picnic on the roof. It was Monday, the Fourth of July. Thomas Friedman was wearing his shorty robe but he'd long since tossed aside the "Kiss the Chef" apron. We'd had song, we'd had drama and now we were left overcooked burgers as a result of Thomas Friedman, overcooked to the point that one longed for merely "burned." I'd followed Mrs. K's lead and tossed my burger over the ledge. We were both eating cole slaw burgers utilizing the coleslaw Mrs. K had brought (ask her for the recipe, she makes wonderful cole slaw). Others weren't so fortunate.

Patti Nelson Limerick, a would be op-ed-ist, was along for reasons no one was clear on.
Proving herself to be a really round the way gal (or else just stupid, Mrs. K and I voted for the latter), Patti had plunged in "with both hands, gripping with all ten digits, to embrace and encompass that which both surrounds and penetrates." Lots of words, but get them out now, Patti, before your kneeling at the toilet and the bugers coming back up.

Since we were all paired up, Nicky & Mrs. K, myself and my husband Thomas Friedman, Patti was odd woman out, a title she's no doubt held for longer than any can remember.

Not wanting to offend Thomas Friedman or maybe just scared of another repeat of the last "you are so dead to me, Kristof" scene that played like Bette Davis and Joan Crawford on really bad benders as the words, fur, and soda crackers flew (largely into Nicky K's eye), Nicky K couldn't find it in him to say "No, no, I will not eat the burger!"

Patti's dithering smile revealed she'd lost a good portions of the crowns and caps as she merrily chomped away on the brick burger. Nicky K wasn't willing to sacrifice his own dental health but he didn't have it in him to stand up to Thomas Friedman. (Insert standard, self-aggrandizing Thomas Friedman boast here.) So Nicky K had stalled for time. Currently, we all waited for him to say the prayer he demanded necessary before he could eat the brick burger. After the saying of grace, it would get ugly.

"Our father, who art in heaven," Nicky K began bowing his head while Thomas Friedman grunted. "Thank you for this food. Please protect Judith and all the anonymice. Protect us from fact checkers and look kindly on even those of us who appear to create cab drivers out of thin air . . ."

On that part all eyes, went to Thomas Friedman who snorted.

"Kirstof, as usual, you waste too many words," Friedman complained. "Good eats, Great Man, thanks."

Friedman smiled at everyone including Patti who grinned at him vaguely, or maybe that's her natural look, with chipped teeth flashing.

"Me. I'm the great man," Thomas Friedman oh so modestly explained.

Patti burst out laughing. For a moment, I almost liked her. Almost.

"Yes, you are!" Patti squealed. "We all are, we tap into our inner psyches and navigate the emotional waters of our turgid souls in search of an elevated reason for the human condition that might we all acknowledge is life?"

As she waited for some sort of response, Thomas Friedman lept in.

"You had your prayers, sissy boy," Thomas Friedman said pointing at Nicky K, "now eat that burger."

We all leaned forward waiting to see what would happen. Would Nicky K cave? His wife hoped he wouldn't. I remember when I used to root for my husband too. A lot easier not to root for him when he is Thomas Friedman.

Nicky K pulled the brick burger up to his mouth. He opened his mouth. Good Lord, he was going to eat it! Didn't he learn anything from Patti losing both her caps and her own teeth?

No, he didn't.

He was going to chew.

He was about to bite down.

"I can't do it!" Nicky K cried out.

Thomas Friedman looked pissed.

"You will eat the fruits of my grill, Kristof," Thomas Friedman huffed.

"Of course, I will," Nicky K said breathlessly. "But I can't continue to the lie."

Thomas Friedman's bushy eyebrows went into twitching overdrive.

"What? What is this? I demand you tell me!"

"Bettina!" Nicky K said pointing at me.

Now all eyes were on me.

"She's stopped reading your columns!" Nicky K exclaimed.

Thomas Friedman gasped, clutched his chest and began jumping up and down while moaning. This was especially bothersome since he was wearing, remember, the shorty robe. For the "all over tan," remember? We were looking at Thomas and the Friedmans whether we wanted to or not. Patti seemed to want to.

While this was going on, Nicky K hurled his brick burger like a frisbee, no complete idiot he.
I heard the window across the street break but everyone was watching Thomas Friedman gasp and howl.

"Yes, it's true," I finally admitted just to end the drama before Thomas Friedman went completely Baby Jane on us. I knew I didn't want to know whatever happened to Baby Jane Friedman.

Long story short, I've been stuck reading every piece of drivel he types. Not just the columns themselves, but anything he writes. The other day, he wrote a letter to his mother. It started off "Dearest good mother, good because you birthed me, but not great because you aren't me,
How are you?" It only got worse.

Then he decided he'd try his hand at the Times crosswords. He's never managed to finish one yet but I'm still expected to look it over and say things like, "6 across, five letter word for what we all seek. 'PENIS.' Great job, Thomas Friedman." Now the word was clearly "PEACE" but you can't disagree with Thomas Friedman.

The Fourth of July was always one of my favorite holidays, what with the food, the fireworks, the day off. Now it's just the day when I got sentenced. Doing my time on OpEd Row.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Found in the newspaper

Editorial: Time to Head On Home

To quote the Beatles "I read the news today, oh boy." A quick scan of the headlines on BuzzFlash reveal what we already knew, the Bully Boy's not made us safer. We see links to stories on the feelings of the British. (Similar to Pru's feelings expressed at The Common Ills.) C.I. and Dallas go international and end up with Tony Allen-Mills and Andrew North's "Downed US Seals may have got too close to Bin Laden" (Sunday Times of London) about "the worst incident in the history of the Seals." Not a credit the Bully Boy needs right now after dragging his feet for almost four years since Sept. 11th. What was "Wanted Dead or Alive?" A provocative personal ad? It certainly wasn't anything with meaning.

Then there's Michael Smith's "UK in talks to hand Iraq role to Australia" (also Sunday Times of London):

BRITAIN is negotiating with Australia to hand over military command of southern Iraq to free up British troops for redeployment to the front line in Afghanistan.
An announcement is expected within weeks that several thousand British soldiers are to be sent to Afghanistan.

The coalition of Operation Enduring Falsehood continues to shrink.And folks, we're just getting started.

Still sticking with The Sunday Times of London, check out Hala Jaber's "Allawi: this is the start of civil war:"

IRAQ’S former interim prime minister Iyad Allawi has warned that his country is facing civil war and has predicted dire consequences for Europe and America as well as the Middle East if the crisis is not resolved.
"The problem is that the Americans have no vision and no clear policy on how to go about in Iraq," said Allawi, a long-time ally of Washington.
In an interview with The Sunday Times last week as he visited Amman, the Jordanian capital, he said: "The policy should be of building national unity in Iraq. Without this we will most certainly slip into a civil war. We are practically in stage one of a civil war as we speak."

Occupations will lead to civil wars. No surprise there. To resentment, to anger and to violence.Or how about this UPI article linked to at Iraq Coalition Casualties? The link's bad(they don't have the full web address in the link) but look at what you can read:

07/09/05 upi:
Iraq war results in at least 254 amputees
Army hospitals treated 254 amputees from the Iraq war...Nearly 19,000 soldiers have been medically evacuated ...There were 2,527 evacuated with battle injuries, 5,444 with non-battle injuries and 10,758 with disease.

At The Independent, Andy McSmith's "Leaked memo shows Iraq pull-out plans" only makes the point more clear about who's still wanting to dance with Bully Boy and who's called a taxi for the ride home:

Almost two thirds of the 8,500 British troops in Iraq will have been pulled out by the end of next year, under plans drawn up in Whitehall to hand over two provinces to Iraqi control.
The plan set out in a leaked memo written by the Defence Secretary John Reid, hints that the Government is keen to cut the heavy cost of patrolling southern Iraq.
The memo calculates that the current cost of the British presence in Iraq, around £1bn a year, could be halved if the number of troops were reduced to 3,000 during 2006. The memo implies that the British would formally hand over control to the Iraqis of the four provinces currently under British control by April 2006, but that it take another eight months before what the memo calls the "UK military drawdown" has been completed - and 18 months before the money comes through.

Are we starting to get the picture yet? The public is. They want the troops home. Polls show that. It's just the media and our leaders that are too timid to address it. "Stay the course!" they chant. This "cakewalk" has now lasted over two years. Donald Rumsfeld says twelve is a possiblity. "Cakewalk?"

How do you define "success" in Iraq? That's difficult since the reasons for the invasion/occupation constantly shift. But it's not been a cakewalk, this war of choice. And we haven't made the world safer for anyone. Iraq's not safer. We're not safer. The London bombings prove the fly paper theory was crap.

Now we're supposed to let the ones who brought us this war go back to the drawing board to . . . think up new excuses? They had no planning other than (as Naomi Klein pointed out in "Baghdad Year Zero") to have a tag sale on the Iraqi assets. Even the Operation Happy Talkers seem to have a case of cat got their tongues. (Sadly, we're sure this is a momentary condition.)

If sane people can agree that the illegal occupation is a disaster for everyone involved (outside of those profitting from the war), how much are we willing to give to "stay the course?" We want the body counts to double? When do we reach the point that we say enough?

We steer to you to "Should This Marriage Be Saved?" and ask at what point do we take a realistic look at what's going on? Pig-headed is not a virtue. It's not sane. It's not logical. And it's only going to get more people killed.

The Bully Boy has sullied this nation's name. He's trashed treaties and conventions. He's had a five-year frat party at our expense. At some point, we need to roll up our sleeves and do some cleaning. And that means tossing in the garbage the notion that after two years of the "cake walk" this is anything like what was sold to us.

"Stay the course?" We say "head on home." Head on home to what America is supposed to stand for. On what America is supposed to represent. This invasion/occupation isn't what America's supposed to be about. So let's all grow up, sober up and realize that the Bully Boy's taken us on a two-year bender. Comes a time when you gotta head home. It's past time for that.

Iraq had no WMD. It was not a threat to us ("mushroom cloud," Condi?). Someone lied us into war. They took us off course. It's time to get back to what America's all about and it's time to realize that drunk slurring his words and telling us he knows another bar that's still open isn't anyone we want to get a car in with. We're ready to head on home and return to the lives we should be leading. Lives that don't involve wars built on lies. Lives that don't involve trying to impose a system on a people who didn't ask for us to be there. Lives that don't involve falling for the latest Operation Happy Talk. Lives that are reality-based. Bar's closing, let's all head on home. At least the ones who still have that option, the ones who didn't give their lives to a war of choice, one that should have been avoided.

[Note: Since these editorials tend to get reposted elsewhere, we'll note this was written by The Third Estate Sunday Review crew of Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava as well as by C.I. of The Common Ills, Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Kat of Kat's Korner, Mike of Mikey Likes It! and Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man.]

posted by Third Estate Sunday Review @ Sunday, July 10, 2005