Monday, December 22, 2008

Tet 2008

Wall Street isn’t the only game in town for Orwellian disaster hounds. Now we have the US “deciding” to arm local militias in Afghanistan. The “announcement” came from Robert Gates, hard on the heels of the “decision” to send 20,000 or 30,000 new American troops to Afghanistan.

In these broad brush strokes, Mr. Gates has painted out the cartoon-like characters said to have responsibility for military operations in Afghanistan (the United Nations Security Council, NATO, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s central government, whatever) but left the stage empty. It’s not clear that either Bush or Obama has any influence over Mr. Gates. But Cheney?

Fast backward to Tet, 1968. Under cover of the lunar New Year, a massive assault was orchestrated by Võ Nguyên Giáp on American targets in Vietnam, effectively demonstrating that the American public relations campaign saying how well things were going was precisely an American public relations campaign saying how well things were going. In fact, from the point of view of the American administration, things in Vietnam were going spectacularly badly. On the other hand, important lessons were learned: New Year is a good time to cause trouble. And then, there’s the business with the Reichstag Fire and the Weimar Republic.

So if I was Dick Cheney here’s what I’d do. Events are clearly out of hand, something the Founding Fathers could not have foreseen, now being the Foundering Fathers. The United States needs to be rescued from the prospect of an uppity….person….in the White House and a Communist Congress. All the achievements of the last 8 years are about to be squandered. Desperate times need desperate measures.

Fast forward to New Year’s Eve, 2008. Spectacular fireworks are planned in Washington. Obama is in Hawaii or Chicago, wherever. As midnight approaches, fire alarms go off in the Capitol, probably an accident. However, it turns out there is a real fire at the Capitol, probably some small isolated incident. As events unfold, the fire is bigger than previously thought, and the Department of Homeland Security is drawn into the response. There is evidence that incendiary devices have been set. Terrorism is back. Panic ensues. A major conflagration is shown on FOX News to be going on in the Capitol, and regular programming is interrupted. The Vice-President appears on network television from a secure bunker to say that both the President and the President-Elect are also secure.

The security of all 9 Justices of the Supreme Court has also been established on the order of the President.

Martial law is declared and Congress suspended. The Constitution is also suspended, as per Executive Signing Authority Whatever.

You’ve got to admit, Orwell saw all this coming. You’ve got to admit, it’s happened before. You’ve got to admit, Gates is a lousy Caesar. You’ve got to admit, Cheney is a lousy Giap. If you’re going to be corrupt, it hurts to be second rate.