Tuesday, September 05, 2006

tough guys don't carry umbrellas

we can all sense that the war is coming. it is vital for america to seize the initiative and fight it on our terms, when we have the maximum advantage.

it's five minutes to midnight. the time to strike iran is now.

— robert tracinski, "five minutes to midnight: the war is coming, no matter how hard we try to evade it."

tracinski tries his level best to sound calming and reasoned, yet still strident and imperative — but james wolcott, left blogistan's resident ginsu expert, knows the sound of trash talk when he hears it:

i have a theory on why the war party rhetoric has gone skittish and skyhigh, a theory based on casual observation of new york streetfights (streetfights everywhere, really). what i've noticed is that the trash talk in a street altercation escalates in proportion to the expanding distance between the two protagonists. when two potential fighters are almost literally in each other's faces, their words are few, their expressions fierce. it's when the fist fight has been avoided (or tabled) and they're putting distance between each other that the taunting becomes louder and more florid. "get back in my face again, motherfucker, and i'll pound your face into hamburger meat, motherfucker." "come back and say that to my face, lame-ass motherfucker." etc. you can supply your own david mamet expletives and challenges. one of my favorite verbal showdowns occurred on 14th street one rainy day when two non-pugilists kept up the trash talk until one of them said, "you're carrying an umbrella, motherfucker — how tough can you be?" which i must say got quite a chortle from us idle bystanders.

now what has this to do with the posings of our militaristic muscle mouths?

this: it is an index of the frustration and impotence they're experiencing at not getting their way. they're waging rhetorical escalation because de-escalation is the unacknowledged order of the day, and there's nothing they can do about it.

steve clemons published a dispatch from the nelson report indicating that despite all of the cheneyesque bluster, the bush administration is pursuing the diplomatic route with iran. to the dismay of the hard nosers, bush is also reeling back his use of "islamic fascists", which will be interpreted as a capitulation to political correctness. you even have rumself whining that his recent appeasement slur was taken "out of context," and calling for "constructive" dialogue regarding the situation in iraq. and then there's the happy novelty of rudy giuliani blowing the whistle and calling a foul on "partisan bickering", which will not endear him to the more strident dickheads in his party.

there has been a major shift in the mood climate, one which the war party and its bloggers are resisting at the top of their lungs. but resistance is futile. as john robb writes in an important post at global guerrillas, "playing at war", we're not going to the get the grand, conclusive world war iii (or iv) that same [sic] neocon ideologues crave.

newt gingrich: look at all the different connectivity. you'd have to say to yourself, "this is in fact world war iii."

john gibson: world war iii.

bill o'reilly: world war iii, right?

john gibson: this is world war iii.

sean hannity: ... world war iii. the start of world war iii!

michael leeden: more like world war iv ...

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