A real piece of work

It came as no surprise to anyone that last week's report by General Petraeus, who wrote the manual on the virtues of the "surge" and was appointed by the president to implement it in Iraq, reported, essentially, that the "surge" was on the verge of working. The president says that the "surge" just needs more time, just like New Orleans. One has the attention of the president, the other is in deep gumbo.

Every other general who thought otherwise is busy stocking the various Post Exchanges around the world with pantyhose to keep the sand fleas at bay, extra body armor and a Newcastle of coal as gifts for all our service personnel in Iraq who won't be coming home this year for Christmas, if at all.

Having listened to Petraeus, Ambassador Crocker, the president, the talking heads and my hair dresser, my thoughts have gelled into the opinion that a good portion of our population and very many of our "elected" officials are pretty much insane.

Bush and Cheney don't engage in dialogue or debate, rather they use prep rallies at military bases. With straight faces the envy of many professional actors, they keep asserting that we will keep occupying Iraq until our "mission" is accomplished, while dangling the falsehood that Saddam was behind Sept. 11, which, unfortunately, is still gospel to 30 percent of us.

For those of you who keep more current in world affairs than knowing the price of duct tape, it comes as no surprise that the "mission" seems to change every week or so. The "mission," at the pleasure of the White House, morphs, stretches, wiggles and fidgets as we have become a dystopian nation moved easily by fat lies, obvious deception and an appeal for "victory," another slippery word.

We have been asked to endorse the "mission," always from a podium perched in front of recruits, seasoned veterans or, in some cases, anyone who looks like a fireman or a policeman. Using people ordered to crisply stand tall, smile and applaud upon command, rather than depending on truth, logic, knowledge of history and current events, is both symbolic and shallow. "Mission accomplished?"

As you all recall, perhaps even better than the rocky lives of Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and the perennial O.J., we were told that Saddam was sitting on a boatload of Weapons of Mass Destruction, which, we were encouraged to believe, were just itching to be launched against American interests, our friends and allies, Nathan's hot dogs on Coney Island and into some of the finest bird hunting refuges that Dick Cheney has ever downed a few cold ones and shot a lawyer, a democrat, of course.

Five rationales were prominent, though 27 have been floated: war on terror, prevention of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, lack of inspections, removal of the Hussein regime, and Saddam Hussein is evil. In addition to those five, another rationale was later used very prominently by Donald Rumsfeld: the liberation of the Iraqi people.

Additionally, we were FoxNewsed to believe that we would be showered with flowers, fainting women and swaddled babies. Turning Iraq into a democracy was somehow swirled into the mix and we had members of our own congress dipping their fingers into ink as some sort of election took place in Iraq, though the top winners were clearly backed by our government.

To add insult to injury, this just in from Alan Greenspan's new book: "I'm saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows &

the Iraq war is largely about oil." After a thrashing by the White House, Greenspan backpedaled into "I was not saying that that's the administration's motive," "I'm just saying that if somebody asked me, 'Are we fortunate in taking out Saddam?' I would say it was essential."

Swell with pride and top off the tank.

Please e-mail lance@journalist.com with your definition of the "mission." Think deep and wide, then type it out and hit send.

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