In the annals of imperial demise there is always a point at which farce begins to overtake tragedy. What could be more inane than the image of Romulus Augustulus training his pet-chickens as the 1000 year empire he nominally headed crumbled into irrelevance at Odovacer’s feet?
But even before that farcical last act, the Roman Empire was, with ever greater frequency, slipping into and out of folly. Hardly less inane than l’empereur des poules, was the emperor Elagabalus who quite literally backed his rump onto his throne as he grovelled before a huge black phallus dragged through the streets of Rome.
For some reason, the imperial Bimbo’s trip to the Middle East makes one think of Elagabalus... or maybe Romulus Augustulus... or maybe just one of the last idiot Merovignian kings of France.
Amid the now familiar panoply of advance teams, jumbo jets, back up jets, decoys, limo-transports, post-teams, legions of guards, legions of walkie-talkies and legions of undercover agents whispering into felafels, Bush flew to the Holy Land to bring peace to the Middle East in his term. Anyone who believes this nonesense ought to be committed to wherever they sent Louis le Fou. In fact, anyone who reports this nonesense with a straight face ought to be shot pro bono publico.
Despite the trappings, Bush’s lap dog status was revealed and underscored by the lavish and obsequious flattery with which Olmert all but smothered his guest. The more Olmert praised and thanked Bush the more it become obvious that he was desperately trying to cover the fact that it was he who dictated what’s what to the object of his flattery. But the facts betrayed the game. Every item and condition and limitation on the Israeli agenda ended up getting mouthed by Bush, so that despite the imperial fol de rol, Bush played Blair to Olmert’s Bush.
(By the way.... where was Tony ....? Hadn’t he been given some very important mission to bring peace to Palestine?)
Who knows.... In any case, the fact is that peace will not be brought to the Middle East, nor less to the Holy Land, by Bush or by any US president so long as the United States continues to let AIPAC and Israel dictate policy. In addition to bankrolling Israel’s defense, the US all but acts as apologist and agent for Israel in the Security Council. Bush is the most blindly pro-Israel president ever and has since endorsed the ghetto-ization of the West Bank. Behind Bush’s so called “push for peace” is a de facto aquiesence in the long term Israeli push for colonization. It doesn’t get simpler or truer than that.
Now, in addition to steppinfechin’ Israel’s “domestic” policies, Bimbush let it be known that he was hop to-ing Israel’s regional policies. It would be comedic were it not so fraught with direful potential for human misery. As Bush thundered from the parapets of Jerusalem against Iran for continuing with its nuclear energy program, the president’s erstwhile ami du jour, Nicky Sarko, was in the United Arab Emirates firming up a deal to sell them the technology and where-withall to build their own nucular energy plants. Of course not a peep from the US mudia.
Again, hardly a peep from the US mudia or congressional AIPACoids as Israel tested a long range (4,500 km) nuke-capable missile within but days after Bush blasted Iran for destabilizing the region and exhorted his Arab hosts to join in the crusade (?) against the Infidel --X that -- Shiite Persian. All that was needed to round out the farce was for Bush to urge his oil-pals to recall their heroic ancestors at Thermopylae.
Rather than report on the fundamental contradictions underlying ElagabaBush’s sejour in the Near East, worthies such as the New York Times dedicated full story coverage to the peregrine aspects of the imperial tour, reporting in all but hushed tones that, after listening to a cantor sing prayers for the dead, Bush emerged from Israel’s Genocide Memorial with tears in his eyes asking mommy Rice why we hadn’t “bombed Auschwitz.” The Times then went on to report on Bush’s wide eyed pilgrimage (his word) to the Sea of Galilee. Yawn.
In an apparent effort to make up for lack of reportorial substance, the Times hired smirking Bill Kristol as a resident pontificator. But none of this did much to clue in the US chicken-public, which was by and large (plus ça change) left to draw the conclusion that their leader was making a last, if desperate, effort to bring peace to those people over there. As reported by Reuters, the Arab press saw it all quite differently:
The Lebanese daily As-Safir: :
"The explicit aim of the lame duck visit to the region is to foster hatred for Iran among Arab countries ... and to urge them to stand together with Israel against what the American president calls 'terrorism' -- as if there was anything more dangerous for the region than Israeli terrorism."United Arab Emirates daily Khaleej Times:
The Syrian daily As-Sawra :
"Just as the Gulf countries have healthy relations with the West, including the US, they also have historical, cultural and economic ties with Iran. The UAE happens to be Iran's biggest trading partner. This is why the UAE and other Gulf countries wouldn't want any more confrontation and conflict between the US and Iran."
The Cairo weekly Al-Ahram :"This is a new chapter in the series of lies that has characterized the Bush administration. He wants us to believe that he seeks peace and that Iran, and not Israel, is the danger. America does not want peace for the Arabs, but rather their surrender. It doesn't seek democracy but the control of the whole region. "
"The positions Bush expressed in interviews with major Israeli television channels and newspapers last Friday are even more shocking than Israeli actions on the eve of his visit. They mark a clear regression from the stances Bush declared in his opening speech at the Annapolis meeting."
Such opinions do not come from the “terrorist” presses of Hezbollah or the Muslim Brotherhood, but from established and government-allowed papers. The palpable anger and disgust must thus be viewed as semi-official if not completely official reactions. But the US chicken-public will hear little of that. What they will hear is arguments from the likes of smirking Billy Kristol and the scrivener drones in Albrecht’s Enterprise Institute, to the effect that this rag-head hostility is all the more reason why we should hug up and hold tight with “our only ally” Israel.
And the sad thing is that most of the chicken-public will believe it and none of the cowards in Congress will gainsay it until lurching from folly to disaster to catastrophe the US finally goes the way of Romulus Augustulus.