Friday, April 11, 2008

Bush's Catch-22

"Bush announced today that he would shorten Army tour lengths." That so? No, it's not:
Make no mistake about it: With an effective date of August 1st, this means that not one troop will benefit from this deployment reduction until August 2009--seven months into the next Presidential administration. This means that even if you're not scheduled to deploy for another three months from now, you'll still be conducting a 15-month-long tour in Iraq. And of course, it certainly doesn't affect anyone there now.
If Bush's PR stunt sounds familiar, that's because it is. Once again, life in the Bush administration imitates art. Without a doubt, Bush borrowed the idea from Colonel Cathcart , who lives within the pages of Catch-22.

If you haven't read the book, you should. Here's a short summary. Here's a longer one.

And here's an excerpt from chapter nine that nearly perfectly describes Bush's latest Iraq troop deployment plan, written some 58 years ago:
Major Major lowered his gaze sheepishly and fiddled with his fingers. "What do you want me to tell you?"
"That I've flown enough missions and can go home."
"How many have you flown?"
"You've only got four more to fly."
"He'll raised them. Every time I get close he raises them."
"Perhaps he won't this time."
"He never sends anyone home, anyway. He just keeps them around waiting for rotation orders until he doesn't have enough men left for the crews, and then raises the number of missions and throws them all back on combat status. He's been doing that ever since he got here."
Why does the Pentagon, or for that matter Congress and the American people, put up with this? Again, Joseph Heller had the answer:
What could you possibly say to him? Major Major wondered forlornly. One thing he could not say was that there was nothing he could do. To say there was nothing he could do would suggest he would do something if he could and imply the existence of an error or injustice in Colonel Korn's policy. Colonel Korn had been most explicit about that. He must never say there was nothing he could do.
"I'm sorry," he said. "But there is nothing I can do."

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