Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The third time as tragic farce


History repeats itself, first as tragedy,
then as farce.
-- Karl Marx

But with war, there is a third act.

Some wars have done nothing to tickle the funny bone (the 30 Years War comes to mind). Others were short on tragedy but well stocked with farce (e.g., the War of Jenkins' Ear). We are now engaged in a great war against man-caused disasters, testing whether this nation, or any nation so misconceived and so undedicated, can long endure as a targeted laughingstock. If it is a tragedy, it is also a tragic farce.


I do not mean to mitigate the seriousness of the threats we face, but it is hard to resist lampooning the daily absurdities they generate.

Everyone has already had their ration of laughs at Janet Napolitano's claim that the outcome of the Christmas bomb plot showed that "the system worked." Obviously we anticipated the plot and deputized a Dutchman as an air marshal. Our aviation security system is based on leaping over four seats and putting out a fire with your hands.


More recently, President for Life Obama said: "This incident, like several that have preceded it, demonstrates that an alert and courageous citizenry are far more resilient than an isolated extremist." That was several hours after al-Qaeda of Yemen, Inc. announced that it sponsored the would-be attack.

Incidentally, the Chosen One didn't mention the name Abdulmutallab, he of the weaponized groin. The public might have gotten the impression that the "suspect" was a M____m. Thankfully, though, he refrained from saying the Dutchman had "acted stupidly."

Item from Georgio Armedmani's
signature collection of men's furnishings.

This afternoon I was listening to Mark Steyn on the car radio discussing Abdulmutallab's explosive garment. Then it was time for a break and there immediately followed a commercial for "Macy's biggest underwear sale event of the year." There's a man who'd like to order a round dozen briefs with the extra features. "Do you take ProphetCard?"


Surely no more was possible after that Alpine peak of farce. Hah! Now we learn that "Two of the four leaders allegedly behind the al Qaeda plot to blow up a Northwest Airlines passenger jet over Detroit were released by the U.S. from the Guantanamo prison in November, 2007, according to American officials and Department of Defense documents."
Guantanamo prisoner #333, Muhamad Attik al-Harbi, and prisoner #372, Said Ali Shari, were sent to Saudi Arabia on Nov. 9, 2007, according to the Defense Department log of detainees who were released from American custody. Al-Harbi has since changed his name to Muhamad al-Awfi.
And what did Messrs. al-Harbi and Shari/al-Awfi do to reform themselves in the Saudi Kingdom?
American officials agreed to send the two terrorists from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia where they entered into an "art therapy rehabilitation program" and were set free, according to U.S. and Saudi officials.
"Muhammad, Said, you both show great promise. The tensile strength of the drawing of the detonator is remarkable. And that smoke issuing from the World Trade Center, what can I say? It has a quiet intensity. Said, my goodness, the quality of light you have captured in your painting of the Pentagon's penetration ... some artists work a lifetime without being able to achieve such effects!"


As Mark Steyn put it, however, the gentlemen seem to have tired of "watercolors, not waterboarding." They are back in executive positions at Terror R Us.

So goes the tragic farce. But history may have run out of variations. Next time, it might be back to the original.


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