A Heart to Heart Talk
Bush Warns Puppets Not to
by Gary Leupp / August 13th, 2007
Nuri al-Maliki, favored by Washington as the most viable prime minister to pretend to lead the bleeding country of Iraq, says Iran is doing "positive and constructive" work in "providing security and fighting terrorism" in his country.
Both of these puppet regimes
in nations bordering
"I would be very
cautious about whether or not the Iranian influence there in
comments, Bush states with undiplomatic condescension, "I will have to
have a heart to heart with my friend, the prime minister, because I don't
believe [the Iranians] are constructive. … My message to him is, when we catch
you playing a non-constructive role, there will be a price to pay." Here
it's not clear whether he's warning
the embattled Iraqi prime minister.
Responding to images of Maliki appearing cordial with Iran's president Ahmadinejad, Bush mockingly assumed a pugilistic stance at his White House press conference, fists raised, and said, "You don't want the picture to show you duking it out," implying that while making nice for the cameras, Maliki ought (in his heart) to be in an Iran-attack mode.
I can just imagine the sort of "heart to heart" talks Bush has with his puppets. Consider their positions. On the one hand they live comfortably, eat and dress well, enjoy some symbols of authority thanks to their Quisling status. They may retain some sense of self-respect to the extent that they can depart from the occupier's script on occasion on the grounds of "national interest" and differ on a subject such as bilateral relations with neighboring friendly countries.
On the other hand, neither Karzai nor Maliki has any popular
respect or following, because their countrymen see their collaboration as a
pact with the devil. Karzai is merely the mayor of
Kabul, in a chic karakul hat and green ribboned
cloak, looking like a leader for the cameras while the Taliban recapture much
of his country and the rest remains under the boot of warlords whose power
increases with each bountiful opium harvest. Maliki
is not even mayor of
So Bush assumes they'll be inclined to kiss his cowboy boots as they have so far, perhaps trying to conceal some revulsion to what all adheres. But I wonder if they are starting to feel real doubts about the wisdom of their humiliating collaboration to date. Maliki in particular seems a dour, unhappy man. Perhaps they think the invasions of their countries have personally benefited them, but have been far more disastrous for their peoples than they expected when they agreed to take their jobs. Even morally compromised people can get smitten with moral qualms. How can these men regain some modicum of dignity?
I think it likely that they
fear the consequences of a
administration's contempt for their peoples,
the vast ignorance in
Their recalcitrance must be
frustrating for Bush. Nothing is going well in his war on evil. His generals
paint a Hello Kitty face on the interesting, temporary new alignments in
It is impossible — particularly for him, given his obvious handicaps — to logically explain or justify through any "heart to heart"
conversation the Cheney-neocon plan for a New American Century of empire in
So there's a mean glint in his eye and hint of worry as he tells the boys he's gonna take them out to the woodshed for that talk about Iran — before they pay the price. I'd hope both Karzai and Maliki would realize they have little to lose at this point by saying, "No sir. You gave me this job and thanks for that. But — and only your friends will tell you this — your dukes are up but the Iranians might engage you in a very different contest than you expect. They are wrestlers, not boxers — have been for many centuries — and may wind up pinning a lot of your people down to the mat if you proceed with your apparent plans. My own people, I'm afraid, will cheer the Iranians on, while world opinion might disqualify you for brutality. So please leave me out of your match. If I have to pay a price for my stance, sir, so be it; the price of working with you has become too heavy."
I'm not suggesting either has the integrity to say something like that. The likelihood is slim, but if the puppets indeed started to talk back (like the pathological liar marionette Pinocchio in Carlo Collodi's story who ultimately becomes a real person) they might acquire the status of actual human beings — and even help thwart the designs of monsters.
* * * * *
I read today (Aug. 10) that
"Vice President Dick Cheney several weeks ago proposed launching airstrikes at suspected training camps in
Even puppets are becoming
animate in response to the machinations of this sick man, determined to inflict
another surge of pain expanding the empire before he checks out. That may be
slight cause for optimism. But we the people of the
is a Professor of History, and Adjunct Professor of Comparative Religion at
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