Loose lips sink ships

Codpiece seems to have noticed that loose lips sink ships.

Interpretations may vary.

I was married for some years to an alcoholic. He could be a real nice guy – I married him, after all – but I discovered rather quickly after vows were exchanged that, unlike the rest of the human race, he never did anything wrong.

From misplacing his car keys on a daily basis to chewing out the fledgling for having the temerity to try to enter the dinner table conversation, the faux pas and mistakes, trip-ups and downright meannesses this man was responsible for were simply never his fault. There were always other factors involved, situations and backstories that forced him into saying or doing ugly things. When frogs and toads fell from his lips, well, they might have been his lips, but it was someone or something else that put those slimy things into his mouth in the first place.

He could not, ever, be held accountable. Thus, he could not feel regret or contrition. If he was forced into a position where he had to apologize — or face uncomfortable consequences for his actions — he’d grudgingly say he was sorry, but I learned after a while that he didn’t mean it, not deep down inside where it counts. How could he? He didn’t believe he was at fault.

In his skewed perception of the world, he was a victim. People just didn’t understand him, they ignored all the good things he did, and really, they were just out to get him. Me included.

Eventually, I had enough of his nonsense. I divorced him. Last I heard, he was working unhappily for a security company as a guard on an armored car. Jeezus, they’d given Mr. Perfection a loaded gun.

Yesterday, Codpiece and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is visiting Washington, DC to discuss the war in Iraq and, incidentally, the saber-rattling going on between the U.S. and Iran, answered questions in a press conference.

Q: Mr. President, you spoke about missteps and mistakes in Iraq. Could I ask both of you which missteps and mistakes of your own you most regret?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Sounds like kind of a familiar refrain here — saying “bring it on,” kind of tough talk, you know, that sent the wrong signal to people. I learned some lessons about expressing myself maybe in a little more sophisticated manner — you know, “wanted dead or alive,” that kind of talk. I think in certain parts of the world it was misinterpreted, and so I learned from that. And I think the biggest mistake that’s happened so far, at least from our country’s involvement in Iraq is Abu Ghraib. We’ve been paying for that for a long period of time. And it’s — unlike Iraq, however, under Saddam, the people who committed those acts were brought to justice. They’ve been given a fair trial and tried and convicted.

This answer is most familiar to those of us who’ve had to put up with Perfection In Motion.

“Sounds like a familiar refrain, here –”

The unspoken thought beneath the words? “Oh, hell, are you going to bring that up again? Damn, how many times to I have to say it? Oh, all right. I’ll explain it again, dummy. Read my lips.”

“– saying “bring it on,” kind of tough talk, you know, that sent the wrong signal to people.”

Ahhhh, gotcha. Silly us. Why, his “tough talk” sent the wrong signal. Somehow, we all misinterpreted his intent. He didn’t really mean “bring it on.” He meant, well, something else. Like, maybe, “just try it”?

“I learned some lessons about expressing myself maybe in a little more sophisticated manner — you know, ‘wanted dead or alive,’ that kind of talk. I think in certain parts of the world it was misinterpreted, and so I learned from that.”

What he learned was that trying to sound like John Wayne stirred up a shit-storm of massive proportions, that puffing out his chest and sneering “go ahead, hit me!” and pointing at his chin was somehow interpreted by ignoramuses of all stripes to mean, well, “go ahead, hit me!” How in the world did they manage to non-grok his meaning? Gosh, maybe he should have put it in prettier words for those in “certain parts of the world” so they wouldn’t have thought he actually intended that he really meant for them to “bring it on.”

Poor, poor misunderstood Cap’n Codpiece.

“And I think the biggest mistake that’s happened so far, at least from our country’s involvement in Iraq is Abu Ghraib. We’ve been paying for that for a long period of time.”

This is an interesting statement. Did he mean that America’s biggest mistake was to allow and even condone the humiliation and torture of prisoners in Abu Ghraib, or that we got caught torturing and humiliating prisoners in Abu Ghraib? And what did he mean by “we’ve been paying for it for a long period of time”? Did he mean we’ve been paying in terms of the world’s opinion of America? Or that people in “some parts of the world” took it wrong, once again, and the shit-storm gained in fury? Or maybe he meant that because we were caught torturing prisoners, his administration had to take a lot of flak and it sent his popularity poll numbers into the gutter?

I question the statement because, as we all know, Codpiece and the orcs have neither admitted to torturing anyone or banned such reprehensible practices outright. Why, the word “torture” is open to interpretation, isn’t it? One man’s torture is another man’s little tickle. And yes, Codpiece did, under duress, sign Senator McCain’s congressional bill banning torture. But after everyone went home, patting themselves on the back, he added his little “signing statement” to the end of it, effectively giving himself permission to flout the law and go ahead and keep on torturing anyway.

After all, he knows best. He’s the Decider. And he doesn’t make mistakes.

Never mind that the prisoners being imprisoned and tortured are given no legal representation. Never mind that the vast majority of them have done nothing more sinister than have the supreme bad luck to be in the right place at the wrong time. Never mind that what Codpiece has allowed to occur in detention centers in Iraq, Gitmo, countries where he sent “rendered” prisoners and at those secret, CIA “black sites” hasn’t stopped, and he doesn’t intend for it to.

One wonders, really, who’s “paying for that.” As a statement of contrition, it’s a little wobbly.

“And it’s — unlike Iraq, however, under Saddam, the people who committed those acts were brought to justice. They’ve been given a fair trial and tried and convicted.”

Which trial is Codpiece referring to here? Saddam’s? His trial is ongoing in Iraq, and it’s a joke. Or maybe he’s referring to American Jose Padilla, who was detained as an “enemy combatant” for years without formal charges, access to counsel or even to his family. Padilla, who the government finally indicted in 2005 on charges that he “conspired to murder, kidnap and maim people overseas.” None of the original allegations put forward by the U.S. government when Padilla was arrested in 2002 were part of the indictment. And the man still sits in a federal prison in Miami, untried.

Now, Codpiece might have been referring to the quite mad Zakarias Moussaoui, who was actually tried and convicted for his role in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He was arrested on August 16, 2001, and on May 6 of this year was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Nevertheless, according to the AP, three jurors decided Moussaoui had only limited knowledge of the September 11 plot, and three described his role in the attacks as minor, if he had any role at all.

Both men were, or are, bad guys. They’d attended terrorist training camps and at the very least, gave serious thought actually committing acts of terrorism. But Codpiece’s statement, “And it’s — unlike Iraq, however, under Saddam, the people who committed those acts were brought to justice. They’ve been given a fair trial and tried and convicted” is a just bit disingenuous. Hundreds of prisoners are still being held at Gitmo, and hundreds are still being held in Iraq and several secret elsewheres, without formal charges or access to legal counsel.

The article in the New York Times about the press conference yesterday paints Codpiece as regretting his cowboy statements regarding the insurgency in Iraq, Osama bin Ladin and Abu Ghraib.

You know what? I just don’t believe him, any more than — after getting burned more times than I like to admit — did I finally believe my ex’s grudging apologies for his ugly behavior. It took me quite a while to figure him out, but in the end, I understood what I was dealing with – a man who could not admit, ever, to making a mistake because in his narrow, flawed, tough-guy perception of the world, he doesn’t make them.

I think it’s time for America to file for divorce.

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