Monday, November 15, 2004

Nailed Up and Bleeding

adios, colin, you've been had
Elections are about fucking your enemies. Winning is about fucking your friends.
- James Carville, 1991

Finally ... the worst kept secret of this corrupt administration is over now; it ended on a dank November afternoon with all the pomp and circumstance of bleach-filled balloon tossed off the rooftop of a greasy tenement on Skid Row - splashing on the pavement and scaring the narcotic haze out of the addicts in range, starting with the ones who ended up with white spots all over their dumpster clothes to the collection of "willing media pushers" who still can't explain his bitter disgrace.

His fall was epic; and there is a weird, unbalanced, painfully fragmented tone to this entirely tragic episode. Within the bowels of Washington power tonight there is the stink of a massive ideological battle that no one really won. Colin Powell has been broken, skewered and neutered in one swoop, but even for the corridor deviants there is no actual elation or wonder in having been presented with front-row seats to the suicide, the Grand Appeasing, the freshest example of modern political seppuku where a Secretary of State has been drawn and quartered in slow motion and tossed into the rat hole with all the other common geeks and degenerates.

Reviewing the final few months of his tenure, it is very easy to see that Powell was doomed from the outset - or at least from that moment when he sat before the UN Security Council and forced a showdown with a cooked slideshow on Iraqi munitions capabilities and allegations of ballistic missile sites throughout the Iraqi countryside.

Powell certainly knew the truth, but not even the crazed beheadings of Feith, Rumsfeld, Perle and Wolfowitz could make this hideous exercise go away. And when like-minded officials began to challenge the Preznut's right to defy the UN weapons inspections process, the march of doom was a wave of wretchedness engulfing the State Department. And from this point forward, it was clear to all the authorities except Powell himself that a bizzare deathmarch through Baghdad was suddenly at hand; it was just a matter of time. And it was just about then that Colin Powell began losing his grip on reality.

"I am no expert on centrifuge tubes, but this is an old army trooper. I can tell you a couple things."

But even as he prattled on in the Security Council, there was a hollow air of paranoia in his voice, as if he could already hear imaginary Romans erecting a cross in his name. Like some stone-washed pariah, he had become an ill-fated mannequin of a diplomat right there on the edge of insanity.

The Preznut and his neo-cons were whooping with delight: The steaks and the beer were flowing freely in Crawford that day and Cheney was on his knees thanking his no-bid contract maker. "Wonderful news!" he shouted. "I just knew we'd pulling this thing off, Mr. President! Even without the Frogs and the Krauts. It's no mistake that we tabbed Powell to run the white ops to those other dumb bastards in the UN!"

That the Preznut and his personal Gestapo actually believed in this perverse endeavor is a measure of the insanity formula that Cheney took down in the bunker with him when he knew it was time to get serious about Hussein.

Those were the salad days of the marketing operation, before the fateful Senate vote that ruined a generation and Senator Kerry's campaign before it even caught wind, when the Preznut's Reich Minister of Information - ex-White House spokesman Ari Fleischner - was developing a false umbrella of stoic certainty around the administration by clipping the dissenters in the back alleys, along with a daily chorus of headline-parsed statements on victory in the Middle East, and reaching out to "knee-jerk liberals in Congress" who weren't cutting the Pentagon's way. Night after night, in a stroke of Texas gutter genius, Rove fenced the intelligence leaks to The New York Times with the guts of a master jewel thief, while the press acted like a bunch of retarded inbreds on the payroll and set forth to do battle with the short voices of dissent.

Everyone knew it was coming - the press, the Congress, the "public," all the armchair quarterbacks in DC and even the Preznut's own executioners - but everyone had different timetables for Powell's D-Day, and when his rising star finally went dark, it occurred so quickly that nobody uttered a kind word for the last frame of his public life. The Powell Doctrine never really had time to crumble, except with the benefit of firm, retrospective analysis. In reality, it just ruptured, with all the speed and violence of a shotgun blast to the cranium suddenly tearing away the flesh and bone of what was once a hugely promising political career, with no limits in sight.

Americans may vary on the tawdry details, but the baseline approach never changes in politics: "I may be more guilty of lies and treason tomorrow than I felt yesterday. But in reality I had no other choice: The machine has turned me into what I am and, by God, the world is gonna pay for its creation."

And so the megalomaniac cycle rages on. Both the politician and sacrificial lamb that was Colin Powell is judged to live on like a strung-out junkie upon His maker's cross, addicted to the foul, mutant energy of his own dalliance with true power. It was a cheap run with the down and dirty, on the darkest side of shame.


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