A Slam Dunk Or Was It?(Reprinted from the issue of May 10, 2007)
By the end of a long war, it may be hard to remember how it began or what it was all about. The Trojan War lets see something about Helen, Menelauss queen, wasnt it? World War II Germanys invasion of Poland? (Oh yes, the Soviets invaded too! Nearly forgot!) World War I? Who knows?
Now we are arguing about how the Iraq war started. Did it have something to do with George Tenet, then director of the Central Intelligence Agency, assuring
In his new book At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA, Tenet disputes this legend, though he admits he used the term slam dunk and was misled. Still, he insists that he meant something rather different from what it sounded like in the retelling, and he blames Vice President Dick Cheney for propagating the distorted account. (He lets President Bush off more leniently.)
Tenet has already given several major interviews about the book, including one on
Some of Tenets assertions are already being challenged, but I dont see how these, at least, can be doubted. If the neocons had anything to say about it, a war on Iraq was bound to happen. I seem to recall saying that this was obvious over 20 years ago. (Not that Ive gotten much credit for it, then or now.)
After all that has happened, Bush seems to have learned nothing. He persists in warning us that unless we stop our enemies in Iraq, well have to stop them here. But who are they these days? And how are they going to get here? Are they training camels to swim across oceans? What, exactly, is Bush imagining?
You can only pity men like Tenet who have had to please and placate rulers so dishonest and irrational. Beyond that, though, it gets confusing. Why did he wait so long to tell us something so important? Was he saving it all for his book?
All the people in positions of power seem to know more than they are saying in public. If democracy requires an informed citizenry, what was the point of slam dunk, anyway? Good enough for government work? We seem to be getting further and further away from the original reasons for this war, whatever they were.
I didnt think the Iraq war debate could get any more confusing and bitter than it already was. I stand corrected. All that is clear is that nobody in Washington is eager to hog all the credit for this war.
Now please dont ask me to explain what set off the Wars of the Roses.
Democrats on Parade
The Democratic presidential candidates have now had their first televised debate, to call it that, and better men than I seem to agree that Hillary Rodham Clinton bested her rivals, especially Barack Hussein Obama and John Reid Edwards. She spoke of retaliating against attacks on this country, while the others tried to pander to those who just want peace.
So why did my own heart go out to the candidate nobody favors Delawares
First, he made me laugh. Asked whether he could restrain his notorious garrulity, he shot back with a grin, Yes. It was a delightfully humble moment.
But my heart didnt turn over until Sunday, when I noticed a subtle change in his overall tone. He didnt talk like the standard liberal personally-opposed-but-pro-abortion Catholic Democrat Id always taken him for. He recalled that hed spent five months in the hospital for two brain aneurysms, the top of his skull removed, an experience that would leave anyone changed, more reflective and self-critical.
If Im any judge of people at all, Joe Biden takes his faith very seriously now. That may explain why he doesnt seem to take himself very seriously.
Not that Im endorsing him for president. That would be taking myself much too seriously. Besides, I cant even endorse the presidency, so what would be the point?
Let me put it this way. The U.S. presidency is a fantastically powerful office; nobody should hold it, because in its present form it should not even exist. But if we are doomed to have a president, the only Democrat who doesnt frighten me is
If Im wrong about him, Im wildly wrong and Im very sorry. Hell be put to the test soon enough.
But our merciful Lord, who brings good out of evil itself, has glorious surprises in store for us. Surely some of the greatest of them will come from people we always thought were our enemies.
Piety and Orthography
Just to show that my power of finding things to complain about is unimpaired by age, allow me to grumble about my pet peeve: the modern practice, peculiar to English, of capitalizing pronouns referring to God and Jesus Christ.
What does it achieve, beyond cluttering up the page? No translation of the Bible does it. Is that impious? By this logic, unknown to any other language I know of, wouldnt it make much more sense to apply it to divine attributes (his Will) or even body parts e.g., to write his Hands (or even his Spittle) than His hands?
If piety is to be expressed this way, then capitalizing the name of Satan must be a step toward devil-worship.
Having endured many scoldings from readers on this score, Ive been waiting to say this for years.
Whom did the great Laurence Olivier salute as my favorite actor? Why, Mickey Rooney! Who else? Regime Change Begins at Home a new selection of my Confessions of a Reactionary Utopian will provoke thoughts and smiles. If you have not seen my monthly newsletter, SOBRANS, yet, give my office a call at 800-513-5053 and request a free sample, or better yet, subscribe for two years for just $85. New subscribers get two gifts with their subscription. More details can be found at the Subscription page of my website.
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|Copyright © 2007 by The Wanderer,
the National Catholic Weekly founded in 1867
Reprinted with permission
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