Yes, the royal editorial we took a break from blogging. But not from reading. A theater column, of all things, caught our attention while we were out because of its straightforward accuracy, let alone strong writing: “Prisoners of the Past” by Michael Feingold, in the Village Voice. He pinpoints the connection between the Living Theatre revival of Kenneth H. Brown’s 24-year-old play “The Brig” and the American premiere of Peter Morgan’s “Frost/Nixon.”
If The Brig’s power comes from the U.S. military’s being tragically the same in 2007 as in 1963, or worse, Frost/Nixon gets its resonance from the difference. Though Peter Morgan’s play centers on President Nixon’s on-camera post-Watergate “confession” to British interviewer David Frost, its unconscious moral is how good Tricky Dick looks, compared to the slime we have in office now.
The slime, a k a the President With His Head Up His Ass, recently reminded the Congress: “I’m the commander guy.” That also caught our attention. (See the video.)
Had the royal bloviator kept up his reading, which we doubt, he might have seen Greg Jaffe’s frontpage story, “At Lonely Iraq Outpost, GIs Stay as Hope Fades,” in The Wall Street Journal. “None of the soldiers in Tarmiyah talk about winning anymore,” Jaffe reports.
Tarmiyah is a “small, trash-strewn city 30 miles north of Baghdad” where “U.S. troops just walking a simple foot patrol … has become unthinkable,” Jaffe writes. The 50 soldiers in the outpost are surrounded by about 30,000 Iraqis. The goal of the troops “is to keep the enemy off-balance, with periodic raids. It’s the best they can hope for under the new U.S. ‘surge strategy,’ which some U.S. officers in Iraq say does little more than chase insurgents from one part of the country to another.”
Jaffe’s war reporting is particularly good (not that it makes any difference to the “commander guy,” of course), and we’ve cited it before — here and here.
Meanwhile, leave it to The Journal to slam dunk George Tenet’s memoir, “At the Center of the Storm,” with the most devastating review that we also read on our break from blogging: “Inside the Inside Story,” written by Doug Feith, one of the chief Pentagon culprits for the phony intelligence and “facts fixed around the policy” to justify the invasion of Iraq. It’s behind the WSJ subscription wall, unfortunately, but Feith provides a way around that by posting the review on his own site.
See if you don’t get the impresson of a viper baring its fangs. Note, too, the tin-eared attempt at humor in the last paragraph of the review. While that doesn’t undermine the points Feith makes, it does reveal a peculiar callowness — not suprising, I suppose, given his war crimes, but strange nonetheless.