Looks like I'm fighting off the latest low-level viral crud that's going around. I can tell it's the kind of bug that just sort of simmers for-freakin'-ever, so what better thing to do than lie back and watch C-SPAN? In this case, today's senate testomony by Gen. John Abazaid on the situation in Iraq.
Prior to watching the testimony, I heard a bit of pre-testimony babbling on CNN, saying "General Abazaid is a straight-shooter who doesn't mince words. This should be interesting!"
Oh, like hell he is. Not before the Senate, at any case. Let's just say that there's a reason he's been able to work his way up to general and leave it at that. I think CNN was just selling phony archetypes of what people would like to believe generals act like, in order to boost ratings. Perhaps in a few years, they'll manage to replace television footage of our current generals with a VR version of Jack Nicholson instead. When it comes to Senate testimony on Iraq, the people of the U.S. can't handle the truth, because, well, the truth is too boring.
Still, if you were testifying in front of -- let's face it -- a bunch of lawyers (or wannabe lawyers...) with egos so big that they require big, domed buildings to fit them in, you'd be guarded about what you were saying too. Abazaid looked a bit like Elmer Fudd, a bit dazed and confused, literally blindsided from both the Left and the Right, each trying to assign blame to the other side of the aisle, trying to coax the general to shoot. (Wabbit season! Duck season! Wabbit season! Duck season!)
Still, you could definitely see inklings of what Abazaid -- and the senators, and the others testifying today -- were trying to convey, so I figured I would create a short, politically-incorrect summary of what I saw:
Democratic Senator: General, thank you for coming here today. I just wanted to ask... isn't is true that things in Iraq suck?
Gen. Abazaid: Well, I wouldn't say "suck"... there have been some setbacks...
Democratic Senator: ...with no end in sight!
Gen. Abazaid: Well, I wouldn't say "no end"... we need to help the Iraqi military do their jobs.
Democratic Senator: And how many units in the Iraqi army are currently doing their jobs without U.S. supervision?
Gen. Abazaid: I can look that up for you.. one sec (shuffles through papers) Um. Zero.
Democratic Senator: And why's that?
Gen. Abazaid: Well, we haven't exactly armed them much yet. If we did, they could be a danger to themselves, and, well, to us. We need to make sure we can trust them first.
Democratic Senator: So, when will we expect to see fully independent Iraqi units, so our soldiers can start goiing home?
Gen. Abazaid: One second, I need to consult my assistant. (Pulls out Magic 8-ball.)
Gen. Abazaid: Um... Magic 8-Ball says "try again later".
Republican Senator: General Abazaid, first, I wanted to thank you for your gallant, patriotic service. It truely reminds me of... well... me.
Gen. Abazaid: Um. Thanks.
Republican Senator: Isn't it fair to say that my esteemed Democratic collegue is a wuss?
Gen. Abazaid: Uh, well, I....
Republican Senator: Well, what would happen in Iraq if we cut-and-run?
Gen. Abazaid: Things would get worse, I guess.
Republican Senator: Even worse than they already are?
Gen. Abazaid: Yeah, I guess so, but...
Democratic Senator: But General, isn't the situation today already worse than it was in the past? Couldn't things just be getting worse anyway?
Gen. Abazaid: Well, I wouldn't say that....
Democratic Senator: But General, isn't that exactly what you said, according to this book?
Gen. Abazaid: Um... I didn't read that book, so I wouldn't know.
Democratic Senator: You wouldn't know if you said, and I quote, "This place is going to hell in a handbasket, it's getting worse every day. What the hell are we doing here anyway?"
Gen. Abazaid: Um... of course I wouldn't know if I said that! How could I? I didn't read the book!
Democratic Senator: No more questions.
Republican Senator: Changing the topic, I'd like to ask a question of the State Department. Um.. Ms. Rice, could you please...?
State Department rep.: She couldn't make it, so she sent me.
Republican Senator: Ah. Who are you?
State Department guy.: I make her coffee. She likes her coffee the way I like my women -- strong and...
Republican Senator: I see. So, what's Condoleeza's take on... uh.. what's your take on this conflict? Who should we be blaming for everything that's happening?
State Department: The Iraqis! Whatever happens, it's ultimately their fault.
Republican Senator: A-HA! Thought so! Thanks, kid, that's all for now. Fetch me a danish on the way out, will you?!
Gen. Abazaid: So, can I go now too? I kinda have this war I'm busy with...
John McCain: Not quite yet! My turn!
Gen. Abazaid: Ah.
John McCain: So, general... Don't we need more troops in Iraq?
Gen. Abazaid: No, we're okay right now. More Iraqi troops would be nice, assuming they don't shoot us or each other.
John McCain: So we don't need more troops? That's not what several Marine commanders said recently.
Gen. Abazaid: Uh, well, that's only because they're in the Sunni Triangle and their soldiers keep getting attacked. Baghdad is the first priority.
John McCain: And things in Baghdad are going *so well* too... Are you *sure* we don't need more troops?
Gen. Abazaid: Senator McCain, would you please bend over?
John McCain: Huh? Why would you want me to do that?
Gen. Abazaid: Because obviously you wouldn't be asking me these questions if you didn't have another 400,000 soldiers available that you could pull out of your ass.
John McCain: (Simmers.) Bastard! You'd better hope I don't become president! Uh... no more questions.