Wednesday, April 27, 2005


By Jack Random

“Even if the United States can lower its troop commitment to 40,000 by 2010, the war could still end up costing up to $646 billion by 2015. If insurgency, corruption and incompetence continue to plague the occupation as they have for the last two years, the number could surge to a trillion dollars or more.”

- Robert Scheer, “In Love with Conquest,” 4/27/05.

Regarding the dire prediction that the war and occupation could cost a trillion dollars, we must remember that this is only monopoly money. America is trillions in debt already and we have no intention of paying any of it.

The man in the White House gives the world a wink and a nod like a good old boy down in Laredo who sells confidence for the price of a favor. Unfortunately, the man in the White House is a second-string hustler in a game of Titans. He misreads the satisfied smile behind Asian eyes as they hold the markers for the mounting debt. They have us exactly where they want us: Throwing away borrowed cash in a Texas poker house, as if it really was monopoly money, while they patiently collect the chips.

We have the guns and the girls while they buy out the company store. Maybe we’ll get lucky. Maybe they’ll let us hang around as security guards when the chips are called in. If not, we’re out in the cold.

The American holiday is over. The American empire was just a Texas nightmare, another bungled business deal by the second son of a grifter in over his head.

Meantime, the president’s soul mate, Vlady Putin, has decided to put his chips down on the other side of the table. Syria, you may recall, was our first choice in expanding the war but that prospect has now suffered a triple blow. First, the CIA announces that not only did Iraq not possess weapons of mass destruction, it did not hand them over to Syria either. Second, to the dismay of White House warlords, Syrian troops withdraw from Lebanon as promised. Finally, the steely-eyed Putin decides to sell Syria anti-aircraft defense systems.

So much for the spring invasion.

Tony Blair is back peddling as fast as he can. Facing a steady decline in support, the electorate is demanding that he withdraw British troops by the end of the year when the United Nations mandate ends. Silvio Berlusconi has already pledged withdrawal and may actually keep his promise now that the Americans have thumbed their noses at Italy’s request for justice in the shooting death of their most esteemed intelligence agent.

Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez boldly chides the boy king of the north and his ineffectual agents at every opportunity. New Europe’s Viktor Yushchenko decides to keep his electoral promise to withdraw Ukrainian troops despite the entreaties of the president, himself, and North Korea’s little dictator delivers his latest response to a Texas bluff: Stuff it in your ear.

It is as if the whole world is laughing and we are the only ones who do not get the joke.

We are the joke and we deserve it – at least to the extent that we elected him.