Friday, May 16, 2008

John Bolton works 'em over

A man in a somber gray suit mounts the podium. He has bushy - unkempt really - hair and a ridiculous white walrus moustache. He is red faced, and he seems to be agitated, an impression that is confirmed as he begins to speak.

The man spends thirty-five minutes exhorting the crowd about the enemies arrayed against them; he speaks without notes as his themes are as familiar to him as the back of his hands. The crowd often murmurs in agreement as gray locks and bald pates bob arrhythmically around the room.

The scene is right out of Elmer Gantry, except that Burt Lancaster was better looking.

The man speaks with a squeaking hysteria that waxes and wanes, a spittle-flecked intensity that occasionally sprays those seated in front. He reaches a fever pitch and says, "Weapons of mass destruction simply cannot fall into the hands of rogue nations. Many of these nations operate with different logic, they value death over life. Therefore, the usual mind set used in previous historical negotiations will not work."

Several people swoon, and others rise angrily, shouting, "Death to these godless nations! Stamp them out before they come for our precious bodily fluids!"

The man presses on and tells the crowd that yes, we must stop them before they destroy us.

There is one fellow in the crowd who seems troubled. He shouts out a question, "Have the godless nations demonstrated any aggressiveness toward us?" Several people seated around the man fall on him at once; there is a brief scuffle. A large menacing man in a brown shirt with a wire leading out of the collar to an earpiece in his ear roughly escorts the questioner out of the room.

The questioner's wife follows them out of the room shrieking, "Let him go! Where are you taking him?"

The speaker concludes by saying that we must destroy the godless governments or bomb their countries into smoking craters before it is too late.

The crowd stands and roars in approval. A weeping Mitch Pearlstein rushes to the podium and embraces the speaker.

*  *  *

By now, boys and girls, you have probably figured out that Spot is imagining John Bolton's speech this week at the Center of the American Experiment. It is perhaps unnecessary to add that Spot wasn't there, but Jackboot Janet was part of the fauning crowd, and she provides the play by play.

John Bolton, the man whose face is shown in the entry for "The Ugly American" in encyclopedias everywhere, has gone from an official fouler of the nest to a free lance tent revivalist, telling us to repent our peaceful ways. He plays to crowds who thrill at his words and his urging that we just skip international law and cut right to the bombs.

it is so much easier to dismiss people, that is to say kill them, when you have separated them from the human race, from us. Life is cheaper "over there." That's what Spot always heard about the Vietnamese, well the North Vietnamese. Our allies in the South were apparently okay in that the valued life like we do.

Much the same thing was said about the Japanese - but curiously not the Germans so much - during the Second World War. Rudyard Kipling wrote the same drivel in The White Man's Burden. And he should know, son of the British Empire that he was.

Now you hear the same thing about the North Koreans, the Iranians, the Pakistanis, the Chinese, Muslims and Arabs in general, and the list goes on.

There is a poisonous racism and bigotry going on here, boys and girls. Call it out for what it is, belittle it and heap all the scorn you can on it. Human nature being what it is, we cannot eradicate it, but we can limit it as motive force in our foreign policy.

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