Jim Austin's Vermonter at Large
Jim Austin
Jim Austin
is a freelance writer from Putney, Vermont.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 12.16.03


Brain Transplant

Take a good long look at a map of the world. Think in terms of culture and values as you scan the globe country by county. When all is said and done there aren't that many countries that share our American values.

Makes you wonder why the Pentagon recently announced that no contracts for the rebuilding of Iraq would be offered to Canada, France, Germany, or Russia. Was it necessary to shout it out to the world that some of our best friends would be shunned like lepers when the gravy was being ladled?

As it happens I agree that we should dole out these contracts to countries that were stupid enough to assist us in our benighted enterprise in Iraq.

Britain, Spain, and Italy all lost soldiers whose governments knuckled under to our brutish diplomacy. It should definitely be our decision on who should benefit from our war. But do it quietly, George, like an adult.

Our administration was about as subtle as a case of genital herpes. Paul Wolfowitz, the Freddie Krueger of the Bush Administration, hauled out the megaphone and announced to the world that the four countries named above would not be allowed to play with the other kids. Wolfowitz gets seems to be the usual messenger for this type of ill-considered, knee-jerk, bully-boy pronouncement.

I picture Wolfy as a cross between a pit bull and a sumo wrestler kept chained in the basement of the White House and fed tainted pig meat to keep him nasty.

Bad policy makes for bad alliances and our decision to invade Iraq without the support of the UN and our main allies was bad policy. Now we hop up on the international soapbox and bellow insults at our allies like an elephant seal in estrus.

Can you see anything, anything at all that is good coming from this announcement?

We could easily have doled out contracts any way we pleased without holding up selected countries to ridicule. Is "diplomacy" part of the "old Europe"

During the State of the Union address our Commander in Chief just had to blither on about the "axis of evil" naming Iran, Iraq, and North Korea as the world's arch fiends. This was nothing short of simple-minded. It gave great comfort to the enemies of the U.S. everywhere.

The Iranians were making progress toward moderating their fundamentalist government. Thanks to George's sophomoric name-calling, the stock of the fundamentalists, whose goal is to kill all Americans, was boosted.

North Korea, already an unbalanced, dangerous, and unpredictable foe, had a seizure, broke their non-proliferation treaty, and restarted their nuclear arms program.

Not surprising. What would you do if your biggest enemy started rattling his sword at you?

Likewise George's "bring em'on" remark was ill considered. They have in fact "brought em' on" since George's invitation. As the most powerful leader of the most powerful nation in the world, Bush must learn to rein in this type of remark. Save it for a fistfight in the parking lot of a biker bar, or a hockey game. Every time George or one of his henchmen opens his big yapper we all suffer.

It is very embarrassing to be American these days. It's as if the executive branch of government were involved in a secret experiment whereby their brains were transplanted into those of Los Angeles gang members and vice versa.

We should check on the Crips and Bloods to see if they are busy redistricting, taken up golf, going on junkets to Club Med and lunching with Enron execs.

The best thing that could happen to us now is to be annexed by Canada. If we were all Canadians the world wouldn't want to kill us all plus we could get reasonably priced prescription drugs.