International Writers Magazine:
For a long time, a
really long time, Smith could not win the big one, even with a ton of
talented teams at North Carolina University, which was and is by all sane
accounts a basketball factory. It wasn't until a kid named Michael Jordan
showed up and hit a jump shot in the waning moments of a championship
game against Georgetown University in 1982 did Smith finally win the big
one, 21 years after he began what turned out to be an illustrious 36 year
Cowboy-In-Chief Plays Keep Away Until He's Safely Out Of Dodge
a knuckle-dragging mutant by the name of Bobby Knight surpassed
him, Dean Smith commandeered more victories than any coach in college
basketball history. He was not a particularly articulate man, nor
did he possess anything close to a personality. He claimed to be
religious and like girls, but no one knew anything about that. Dean
Smith was a basketball coach, nothing more. Still, they called him
a genius and not only named a building after him while he was still
alive, he actually coached in it.
Smith may never have won the big one if not for Air Jordan
and something called the Four Corners Offense, a ridiculous nightmare
of a strategy that simply spread a rotation of players on the corners
of the court to pass the ball around in a kind of bizarre pitch and catch
keep-away fest until the clock ran out. Earlier that March, North Carolina
defeated the favored Virginia Cavaliers for the ACC championship by holding
the basketball for the final 12 minutes of the contest, an exhibition
in stalling so painfully boring the National Broadcasting Company's network
switchboard received a record number of complaints by game's end.
The next season the NCAA, deluged with ridicule over Smith's
mockery of the sport, reluctantly adopted a shot clock and the three-point
Smith may or may not have been a genius, but he sure as
hell banked his reputation, his livelihood, and his entire legacy as a
coach on one enduring, immutable fact: as long as you've got the ball,
you cannot lose.
No one, not even his most ardent sycophants, has ever accused
George W. Bush of being a genius, but without a unified congress to override
a veto and an unchallenged control of the United States military, he has
the ball, and he's going to keep it until the clock runs out.
Even a feckless weasel like Harry Reid knows there is no
shot clock in the colonization of a sovereign nation. Shit, there's no
clock at all. It can go on for a long time. How long? Well, unless my
high definition signal failed me, I heard our Boy President say this Thursday
night: "Iraqi leaders have asked for an enduring relationship with
America. And we are ready to begin building that relationship."
Enduring. Begin. Building. Relationship. Pass to the
corner, back to the top, over to the other corner, back to the top, over
to the corner...
In a staggering eighth Oval Office address since the beginning
of military action in Iraq, the president went on to list further benchmarks
for a "return on success" set to unfurl in March 2008 after
another "fresh assessment of the situation" and then later in
July for a ramp-down of a few thousand troops to approximately the pre-surge
level of 130,000. What happens then is as clear as it has ever been these
past four plus blood-soaked years.
"This vision for a reduced American presence also
has the support of Iraqi leaders from all communities. At the same time,
they understand that their success will require U.S. political, economic,
and security engagement that extends beyond my presidency."
Absent the slightest hint of an end game or definition of
victory beyond not losing Iraq to radical Muslim fundamentalists, there
will be much passing of the ball around until the president either hands
it off to another Republican who might be stupid enough to endure the
bad guys or a dumbfounded Democrat who will either yank the troops in
disaster or engage in almost certain doomed negotiations with a tattered
Either way, by "extending beyond my presidency",
Captain Shoo-In cannot lose Iraq. Therefore, in some kind of warped homage
to Dean Smith's b-ball abomination, Bush wins. Somebody might lose, but
not him, bubba.
For months the coming of David Howell Petraeus was as anticipated
in Washington D.C. as Julius Caesar's triumphant return from Gaul. The
news was not good for the Senate then, and it's not good for the Democratic-controlled
Senate now. "All is well," Petraeus told a dubious congressional
tribunal this week. "But not so well that we can leave."
So The Surge now becomes a Wait, just like the expunging
of a tyrant and the stripping of his not-so weapons became democratizing
the Middle East. It's been a stall all along. The Four Corners.
A sedentary shell game is the finest strategic ploy this
mangled foreign policy has showcased. What else could a lame duck commander-in-chief
with dismal approval ratings and a daily bloodbath half a globe away expect
to gain but to play keep-away from those who would pin this lunacy on
him while he was still "in charge". As my friend Pat Buchanan
said late last week; "The Democrats have been defeated horse, foot
and dragoons. There will be no cutoff of funds. There will be no deadlines
imposed. What they're likely to get is a token withdrawal maybe of one
brigade around Christmastime."
Pat, who knows a thing or two about hair-brained presidential
foreign policy wig-outs first hand, continued; "The president of
the United States will have a major army in Iraq by the time he leaves
office. He has won this battle. And I'll tell you what's next. He's gearing
up right now. Having defeated the Democrats, he's looking at phrase three,
which is the attack on Iran."
Holy shit. Yes, from Four Corners to Damn The Torpedoes,
a neck-wrenching u-turn if there ever was one.
Now Captain Shoo-In can sit back and chuckle like LBJ did
at Dick Nixon's escalation of a war in South East Asia he foolishly campaigned
to end. Maybe dump the whole shebang on another Clinton as his daddy dumped
Saddam Hussein on Big Bill.
Junior might never win the big one, and General Petraeus
is no Michael Jordan, but not losing is a kind of winning.
Pass to the corner, back to the top, over to the other corner,
back to the top, over to the corner...
© James Campion September 15th 2007
and Kettle Revelations
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