By chance I was leafing through William Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich looking for a half-remembered quote, which I never found. I did, however, notice how often Shirer describes Hitler's private orations--to his friends, his allies, his generals, his enemies, his ministers--as "harangues." That's a word too rarely used anymore. I thought of it when I read our 30.06 Rasputin, Birdshot Dick, the pheasant-slaughtering Falangist, yapping at something called the Conservative Political Action Conference explaining how all y'all muthafuckas best get with the program, son. Compare:
If our coalition withdrew before Iraqis could defend themselves, radical factions would battle for dominance. The violence would likely spread throughout the country and be very difficult to contain. Having tasted victory in Iraq, the (militants) would look for new missions. Many would head for Afghanistan to fight alongside the Taliban.And contrast:
Never in history was there a coalition like that of our enemies, composed of such heterogeneous elements with such divergent aims.Dick lacks the pagan-poetical soul, but he makes up for it with, if anything, an even loonier ideal of the enemy. I am particuarly enamored of this idea that "militants" and "radical factions" "look for new missions," sort of like the Impossible Mission Force, or Charlie's Angels. This fatwa will self-destruct in thirty seconds. And so forth.
But the real silliness is this idea that but for our presence, these "radical factions" would ascend and "battle for dominance." Who, one wonders, does Birdshot Dick imagine is in the Iraqi government right now, battling for dominance. These are not the Rotarians. They do not open sessions with patriotic songs, nor do they picnic or potluck together. This is a paramilitary polity. Each party has its armed wing, and let's be clear: they make the Orange and the Green look like the Sharks and the Jets.
Dick says, "I sincerely hope the discussion this time will be about winning in Iraq, not about posturing on Capitol Hill." The people intent on winning in Iraq are not big on discussing, and the men with the militias are many things, but posturing they are not.