Happy 3rd Birthday, Bush’s War
It’s the third anniversary of the bombs-away birthday of America’s lost War on Iraq. Where were you on March 19, 2003, the first night of “Shock & Awe,” the beginning of the Bukkake Bombing Crusade that climaxed with the Rape of Iraq? I was in France, of all places, in Cannes specifically, for the MIPTV festival, and I wanted to have a good time, and starting a war was not my idea of a good time. I kept thinking — and hoping – that Bush was bluffing about invading Iraq, as I figured Saddam had been bluffing about his WMD. I thought — and hoped – that if a Grand Bluff was Bush’s way of getting Saddam to come to the table on America’s terms, he could be a brilliant strategist. I was wrong. Bush wasn’t bluffing at all. He put his bombs where his mouth was, showing himself to be the consummate Chickenhawk Ãœber-Villain in a blood-soaked international fiasco of Biblical proportions.
On the night of March 19, 2003, I remember stopping in Rim’s, a little all-night market around the corner from our gorgeous Cannes apartment, and there was Mohmed the clerk sitting in front of the store TV, watching American bombs falling on his fellow Arabs. Anguish lined his young face. Horror filled my middle-aged heart. Max and I flashed our peace signs, trying rather pathetically to *apologize* to Mohmed for the bombs we both watched falling on his TV. He knew we were Americaines, and graciously seemed to *forgive* us, at least enough to sell us a pack of Dunhills and some mints. Then we continued on with our evening plans which involved going to l’Oasis, one of our favorite Libertine Clubs of Cannes, and we managed to forget about the war and our sense of impending doom for a couple of marvelous, lust-filled, violence-free hours. On our way back, we stopped into Rim’s for a bottle of water. Again, we heard the sounds of bombs coming from the store TV, but this time Mohmed was smiling. Was he changing his mind and now seeing the American invaders as liberators? Not quite. He’d changed the channel and was now tuned to an old movie on Vietnam, his fury placated by watching Americans on the receiving end of wartime brutality. We laughed stupidly and shivered nervously as we paid for our Evian.
To say the least, the Iraqi Invasion messed up my trip to Cannes. During those awful first days, when so many American — and even most European — media outlets were Gung Ho War, I couldn’t seem to stop bawling like a bad dream:
I couldn’t watch TV or even read the news on the Internet without crying. From the loutish war-stoking of CNN, etc. to the scenes of suffering eloquently described by Robert Fisk and other un-embedded journalists, all of it makes the tears just stream like Spring rain. I cry for the Iraqis losing their lives, their limbs, their loved ones, tender bodies pitted with fragments from this “new kind of war.” I cry for our troops, so young and strong and sexy, being shot at and killed and forced to kill civilians, blood that will never leave their hands or their mind. I cry for the families of the soldiers, helplessly and “patriotically” steeling themselves for news of their loved ones’ death or injury, or perhaps they will come home in one piece physically, but mentally broken or hardened into gunmetal. I even cry for the TV news hacks, the press whores embedded with their soldier-daddies, so excited about the romance of reporting a war, trying so hard to play their part in the game, their tongues tied with the intricacies of invasion, their eyes stinging with sand and the sights of slaughter they dare not describe (for security reasons), their souls scorched by the carnage. I even cry for the blown-up buildings, and for the archeology of this ancient land of Mesopotamia, Ur, the birthplace of Sarah and Abraham , Biblical mother and father of the three “great” monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam (remember the outrage we felt when the Taliban blew up the Bamian Buddhas months before 9/11? What we have done to Iraq is the same crime against archeology). And I cry for myself, now branded an Ugly American throughout the world I have always loved to travel.
But all that crying just chapped my cheeks. For therapy, we put on an erotic art show, “Art Bombs: American Libertines for Peace” at our favorite little restaurant, El Teatro, to try to show the French that some of us were at least trying to say NO to Bush’s War, even if he wasn’t listening. It was a fantastic opening and a beautiful show, but the bombing continued. And of course, the looting, storming and the torture were yet to come.
Do you remember the Sunday after Shock & Awe? There was the Boy King on TV assuring reporters that the Iraqis were “surrendering gleefully.” He was still a bit bleary-eyed from his Top O’ the War Party Weekend at Camp David, so he wasn’t up to speed on the fact that at least some of the Hajis were fighting back. They weren’t exactly “gleeful” to receive his bombs, despite their being gift-wrapped in talk of liberation.
Three years later, the Iraqis are still not “gleeful,” a lot more of them are fighting back or with each other, and a great many of them are dead. More Americans are dead, and many more are maimed physically and mentally. Our gas prices are rising. Our freedoms are shrinking. Iraq is a raging, bloody, infrastructure-deprived, hyper-religious, torture-infested, civil-war-imploding mess. The only folks who really seem to be benefiting from this war are Bush, Dick and Rummy’s cronies at Halliburton, Bechtel, Lockheed, the Carlyle Group, the Military Industrial Complex Eisenhower warned us about.
Three years later, Bush is still bleary-eyed. Well, his personal experience of getting *bombed* has always come, not on the end of a cruise missile, but from a bottle of Jack. Actually, that’s not such a bad kind of bombed to get at this point. Pass me the Agavero.
Three years later, the bleary-eyed Bush ignored the reporters who gathered around his helicopter on the third birthday of his Frankensteinian baby, Gulf War II. He and Laura hightailed it to the White House, where the Proud Papa made a two minute statement saying that he’s “encouraged by the progress” of his monster-child. Of course, he is. George W. Bush is a Family Values man, and war is good business for his family and his family’s friends. Bush doesn’t want peace. But America does. No doubt about it, on this Third Hap-Hap-Happy Birthday of Dubya’s Disaster in Iraq, it’s clearer than a day without bombs: America needs a divorce. America needs to be at peace.