Friday, July 21, 2006

The "soldier" who saw everything twice

From today's Washington Post (h/t to Atrios) we learn that Dubya sees "opportunities" where everyone else sees tragedy:
One former senior administration official said Bush is only emboldened by the pressure from U.N. officials and European leaders to lead a call for a cease-fire. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan demanded yesterday that the fighting in Lebanon stop.

"He thinks he is playing in a longer-term game than the tacticians," said the former official, who spoke anonymously so he could discuss his views candidly. "The tacticians would say: 'Get an immediate cease-fire. Deal first with the humanitarian factors.' The president would say: 'You have an opportunity to really grind down Hezbollah. Let's take it, even if there are other serious consequences that will have to be managed.' "

Dubya brings to mind Yossarian and the soldier who saw everything twice (h/t to Billmon). Everything Yossarian sees, he sees twice:
The leader of this team of doctors was a dignified,
solicitous gentleman who held one finger up directly
in front of Yossarian and demanded, 'How many
fingers do you see?'
'Two,' said Yossarian.
'How many fingers do you see now?' asked the doctor,
holding up two.
'Two,' said Yossarian.
'And how many now?' asked the doctor, holding up none.
'Two,' said Yossarian.
The doctor's face wreathed with a smile. 'By jove,
he's right,' he declared jubilantly. 'He does see
everything twice.'
So, with apologies to Joseph Heller:
They rolled Dubya away on a stretcher into the room with the other soldier who saw opportunities and quarantined everyone else in the ward for another fourteen days.

“I see opportunities,” the soldier who saw opportunities shouted when they rolled Dubya back in.

“I see opportunities,” Dubya shouted back at him just as loudly, with a secret wink.

“The walls! The walls!” the other soldier cried. “Move back the walls!”

“The walls! The walls!” Dubya cried. “Move back the walls!”

One of the doctors pretended to shove the wall back. “Is that far enough?”

The soldier who saw opportunities nodded weakly and sank back onto his bed. Dubya nodded weakly too, eyeing his talented roommate with great humility and admiration. He knew he was in the presence of a master. His talented roommate was obviously a person to be studied and emulated. During the night, his talented roommate died, and Dubya decided he had followed him far enough.

“I see tragedy,” he cried quickly.

(the full original chapter is here, for those unfamiliar with Heller's remarkably insightful Catch-22)

One has to wonder, who -- and how many -- will have to die before Dubya thinks he's followed along far enough and stops seeing "opportunities"....


At 9:18 AM, Blogger konopelli/WGG said...

I like your analysis, with one reservation: i don't think of Heller as prescient. He wasn't looking into the future. He was describing the contemporary reality as he had actually experienced it. The genius does not reside in predicting the insanity, but in making it recognizeable under its newer guises...

At 11:23 AM, Blogger Arne Langsetmo said...

Thanks. Updated: "prescient"->"insightful".

At 3:45 PM, Blogger Disenchanted Dave said...

Thanks for the tips on my blog.

I just realized that I had two copies of the post you commented on, and I'll be deleting the extra one. Your comment will be lost to the ages, I'm afraid. I hope you understand.

Best of luck with blogging and everything else,


At 10:40 AM, Blogger Jiffy-Junkboy said...

"Yossarian, you're crazy!" Indeed, the Preznent is a nut-job, he would fit-in well with the bombadiers in Heller's novel.


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