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by Norman Liebmann


The Bush Administration gave GOP conservatives a choice of prodigality, stupidity, and amnesty. Our Commander-in-Chief has allowed American military intelligence to be torpedoed by the infamous Geneva Conniption and smothered under a horse blanket of political correctness. Either George Bush does not know what he's doing, or, even worse, he does know what he's doing.

Bush will never be famous as a judge of character. He buddy-ed up to Mexican President Vicente Fox who has revived the conventional wisdom of silent movies that you should never trust a guy with a moustache. Bush also gave his stamp of affectionate approval to Vladimir Putin, a guy whose snake eyes rivals any pair that ever rolled across a crap table in Las Vegas. Putin's tenure as a high-ranking officer in the Soviet spy network did not jaundice Bush's acceptance of his good intentions. Apparently George Bush thinks that KGB spells cat.

Bush has fallen back on that time-dishonored practice, when all else fails, appoint a committee - a desperate measure discredited throughout history. The time-honored axiom says that a camel is a horse that was put together by a committee. Inevitably, Dubya empanelled a group of political leftovers, all old hands in the diplomatic field of global dabbling, to consider the Iraq dilemma and decide whether the solution is either to cut and run or just cut and run, neither alternative is a pretty one. To put it otherwise, this caucus must find a way to gift wrap capitulation so the Administration can throw in the towel with the least possible embarrassment.

Bush staffed his Iraq Study Group with James Baker and Lee Hamilton, a couple of political leftovers who had retired to careers as school crossing guards. Inevitably, they wasted no time in taking testimony from John McCain and John Kerry, whose public pronouncements on Iraq have long been a national earache. McCain has expounded ad nauseum on the necessity to connect the dots between inertia and impotence. John Kerry's relentless solution to Iraq is to enlist France as an ally, a country whose military distinguished itself by surrendering to Hitler in a railway car in Compiégne, scuttling their fleet in Toulon Harbor, and throwing in the towel in Dien Bien Phu.

This klatch is now considering wheedling the assistance of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a megalomaniacal Iranian dwarf with pubic face hair, who daily poisons the air with threats to destroy us, and Syria's Bashar al Assad who has an elongated ostrich-like neck that cries out to be further stretched with a rope. The consensus of opinion seems to be to rescue a metaphorically sinking ship by chopping a hole in the hull so the water can run out.

Iraq (and the recent election) was lost when Bush ordered the Marines to play squat tag in the suburbs of Fallujah. The Marines hung around the outskirts of Fallujah and picked up the sobriquet "The Fringe Foreign Legion". Loitering is not a military strategy and dawdling has never been successful as a diplomatic ploy.

Compassion is the Bush panacea. Apparently, he believes an iron fist should be used only for cracking walnuts.

Bush has got to fight that impulse to "make nice" with wolverines. To paraphrase Gertrude Stein, an Arab is an Arab is an Arab. Beau Geste knew it. George Bush does not. The Iraq fiasco will not have been in vain if George Bush learns that, in dealing with Arabs, compassion is failure on its way to happen. It is too late for anyone in Europe to learn anything. The ancient cultures of Europe have already been subverted and replaced by a blight called Allah.

Iraq's soil is a compost heap in which democracy is not inclined to take root. The civil chaos in progress devolves on the question of who will reign over the rubble. In any event, we are there, and as Bette Davis said so succinctly in the movie, Beyond the Forest, "What a dump!"

Like Alice, George W. Bush wandered into the Iraqi Wonderland, without a clue of what he would do once he got there. The creatures Alice encountered in Wonderland smelled better than any of the ones in Islam - where the big trick is to find a way to stay upwind of them. Gas masks don't always cut it.

Still, it's arguable that Iraq is a good place for a war as any, as devastation has always been its Islamic architectural motif. Anytime it looks like our troops will get hard-nosed, Bush orders an outbreak of compassion, which will nullify any advantage the military might have gained. Conveniently, as a sign of his spongy good will, before sending them to Iraq, he considered having most of our troops neutered and de-clawed and speculated about reassigning the Green Berets to duty as meter maids. Bush has already put the Iraq fracas in the history books as the American military's most embarrassing war.

Our troops should have been dispatched to Iraq with these five standing orders:

[1] Hurt somebody. [2] Reduce all holy cities to holy ashes. [3] Frisk all baby diapers for concealed howitzers. [4] Wear your boondockers inside a mosque as a sign of your disrespect for Allah. [5] Don't drink the water.

Islam is the religion of peace that has turned the Middle East into Satan's Rumpus Room. As Moslem scripture has it, Allah is God and Mohammed is his sniper. Muezzins yowl from their minarets while looking down the sights of their AK47s. Islam is not a religion -- it's a pernicious infection. Everyone it has ever killed is still dead.

After 9/11, Bush proclaimed heroically that he would not negotiate with terrorists. It turned out the Bush Administration does not negotiate with terrorists anymore than horny businessmen at a convention do not negotiate with prostitutes. In Fallujah our diplomacy taught the military that forbearance is the uglier sister of delay. The traditional Army dogma "Hurry up and wait" was revised to read, "Delay is where it's at". In the hymn, Christian soldiers are urged to march. In Bush's Army of Compassion, they bivouac in the suburbs, release their clips, and practice how to make a soufflé in their mess kits in the field. Had Bush been President during World War II, the Marines in their LCIs would still be bobbing in the surf off Iwo Jima.

The Arabs should have been carpet-bombed from their own flying carpets. Our troops should have been given orders to not only fire at will, but to fire at whim. Instead, our intrepid troops outside Fallujah were ordered not to fight, but to stand ready to hold their officer's flak jackets in case two tank commanders decided to duke it out over a disputed parking space. Somewhere along the line, George W. Bush was bitten on the neck by the ever-inert Dudley Do-Nothing, whose modus operandi is neither fish nor cut bait, and, when in doubt, lay the blame on Israel. Any time it looks like there is going to be a wave of righteous anger, Bush spills over with compassion, which inevitably gums up the treads on our Abrams tanks.

We are mired in a kind of compassionate nihilism due mostly to Bush's seeming conviction that there is no such thing as a real enemy. Hence our soldiers' only real adversary is from friendly fire, and, unlike those penny arcade mechanical bears that march back and forth, when shot at, they shoot back. This gallantry allows our troops to die, while our President maintains the approval of his conscience. Bush has not learned that being defeated is not the same as being a nice guy. Will somebody please call Dr. Laura to explain the difference to him.

(I, myself, am not disappointed in Bush, as my expectations of him never rose above his ability to reach a stalemate at a critical moment. Bush is so often disparaged for his lack of mental acuity that I will resist an inner prompting to pile on, except to observe, one thing American politics doesn't need in the White House is another Tommy Smothers.)


It is time to end the handkerchief twisting over the kinky goings on in the prison at Abu Ghraib. What's the big deal? We have seen weirder shit than this on Saturday Night Live. With all the bearded men milling about in gaily colored jump suits, Abu Ghraib looks less like a prison than a Leisure World for assassins. With the exception of those brief sexually aberrations and epicene interludes, for the most part the terrorists were treated humanely. If it weren't for the body searches and the forming of nude pyramids, the prisoners wouldn't have had any social life at all. Body searches are the way most Muslims celebrate their holidays. Such bestial behavior goes on all over Islam - especially during Camel Appreciation Week. Moreover, Arabs don't care about what's going on behind their backs, as long as it goes on while they're facing Mecca.

The irregularities in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo might well have been inspired by George Bush's much advertised papier mâché humanities that would bring to their detention some humane touches, - e.g.

While being stripped and having their apertures probed, the guards would play a recording of Julie Andrews singing "Getting to Know You".

Each detainee must be allowed a once a week connubial visit with the family goat.

Married prisoners are given a monetary allowance to hire someone to beat their wives while they were away from home.

In Guantanamo, inmates are provided with air dehumidifiers to make it easier in the damp Caribbean climate to keep their crack pipes lit.

Lonely Al Qaeda prisoners would be issued pamphlets (supposedly endorsed by Susan McDougal) that instructs them on how to keep their shackles from rattling during masturbation.

During interrogations inmates can only be flogged with a pussy willow.

Guards should be careful to see that inmates did not become constipated as a result of having their turbans over-wound.

These prohibitions did not entirely deter objections about the cuisine. The prisoners' most frequent complaint was "The Mess Sergeant doesn't sauté the maggots the way my mother used to". Inmates complained they caught colds due to drafts coming through a hole they tore in the chain link fencing, and patients in the infirmary griped that the enemas were too sweet. Some Taliban prisoners considered it cruel and inhuman punishment when the Commandant announced to the prison population that he was calling off the Charles Manson look-alike contest. (The nearest thing to actual abuse was forcing prisoners to sit through a movie called The King of Comedy starring Sandra Bernhard and Jerry Lewis.)

American prisons have become mills for conversion to Islam. People enter prison as felons and emerge as Muslims, or enter as Muslims and come out as felons. In either case, it is considered a lateral move and the prisoners emerge with a feeling of fulfillment. At all events, in American penal institutions the disparity between the two is statistical idiosyncrasy. At last count, the Moslems outnumbered the murderers, although it was only by a narrow margin.

Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo notwithstanding, American prisons are as dense a congestion of Muslims as are to be found anywhere. San Quentin is a religious assembly line whose conveyor belt of fanatics empties directly into what has been labeled as Osama's rumpus room. You can become a member of Al Qaeda without relinquishing your prestige status as a career criminal. Attica has more Moslems than downtown Damascus. It is said among prison guards, "Show me a kaffiyeh and I'll show you a homicidal maniac under it".


Soldiers say it is important to know your enemy. The terrorists enemy has proven easier to analyze than the gummy homogeneity of the Bush Administration, whose consistency is somewhere between marzipan and wet cement. The Sunni Triangle should have been a platform for Iraqi surrender. Inevitably, Bush made it into a hot bed of compassion. Iraq has congealed into puddles of moderation for fanatics. To demonstrate his limitless capacity for leniency, Bush might ordain that in future combat all Americans must die from friendly fire. From that perspective, we are assured that the Crusaders died for nothing.

Bush expects our troops to leave their aggressive inclinations in the barracks and take their more benevolent ones to the battlefield. The objective of a compassionate war is not to win or lose, but to suffocate your antagonist under a blanket of good will. In Iraq, compassion has become the Hamburger Helper of human emotion. Consistently, in the event that a terrorist is run over by an American tank the sensitive thing to do is to drag him home and slip his body under the front door.

Moreover, compassion is an exercise in under-reaction. Those Marines who are veterans of that stifling fiasco at Fallujah are still asking each other, "Where were you when the compassion hit the fan?" Compassionate people cannot be humane without advertising it. In due course these humanitarians will wear identifying clothing declaring just how ostentatiously humane they are - motivated by that same instinct that prompts Hibernians to wear t-shirts that say "Kiss Me -- I'm Irish".

Bush has not yet learned that Muslims are like mosquitoes. Show them compassion and they live to bite another day spreading their moral malaria to men's souls. Innocent people are having their heads chopped off, yet the tapioca pudding of Bush's compassion has not hardened into a need for retribution. Even more grotesque than the decapitation, is the President's ritual message of comfort to their next-of-kin that Islam is a "religion of peace".

Islam's clergy has explained that their Deity, in his benevolence, ordained decapitation as a blessing for the alleviation of migraine. The loss of a head is a small matter to the street Arab who doesn't use his that much anyway. After the Islamic barbarians beheaded Nicholas Berg, an American President worth his mettle would have rolled out the Enola Gay. A well-situated nuclear device would bring new urgency to the phrase "leveling the playing field". The total decimation of Ramallah or Teheran and Islamic Fundamentalists might construe the devastation as a sign of, shall we say, American plain speaking.

[Note: Surprisingly, this unpalatable porridge called compassion did not originate with Bush. Complaisance to villains is the modus operandi of American liberal politicians and their serial insults to the American people. It became suspect to the free world that in World War II fifty million people died for nothing, when John F. Kennedy, a magnanimous lover of America's enemies, forgot about those white crosses on the beach at Normandy and proclaimed, "Ich bin ein Berliner". (Ich bin ein hypocrite would be more to the point.) Kennedy's undoing may be that the guy behind the grassy knoll had a brother executed by the Waffen SS at Malmedy, or a sister cremated in an oven at Auschwitz.]

The race is on between Compassion and Affirmative Action to contest which is the more compelling agent for undermining Western civilization. So far, the demographics are not reassuring. No matter how many Islamic terrorists we kill, there are always more fetuses wearing dynamite belts, scraping their way along the walls of Arabian fallopian tubes on their way to contaminate the world. The clock ticks ominously and the Islamic ethno-psychosis is the sizzling fuse that Bush hopes to extinguish with the sogginess of his clemency.

Mr. President, compassion has had its day. It is time we made terror an export rather than an import and let our enemies know, Genghis Khan is back in town.

Norman Liebmann is a free-lance political commentator and staff writer for Ether Zone. He is a former television writer (Johnny Carson, Dean Martin), wrote and produced Chico and the Man. He created the characters for The Munsters (who are all named after his relatives) and worked on legendary TV shows such as Baretta and the Dick Van Dyke Show as well as in feature films and theatre. He can be reached at Or visit his website - Fire Hat -- at

This article was published originally at December 1, 2006. It is archived at and at

Thanks are due Michael Travis for telling us about this essay.


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