Sunday, September 16, 2007

Thou art Petraeus

Upon this rock, George W Bush has decided to pursue his war in Iraq. But the gates of hell could well prevail against this bright and confident soldier, who has just been offered Bush's war on a silver plate, like the head of John the Baptist.

The great French statesman Georges Clemenceau [1841-1929] once said cynically that "war is too serious an affair to be placed in the hands of generals". Clearly, the US president has no such qualms about handing over the Iraq fiasco to David Petraeus. Meanwhile, some of Bush's supporters take pleasure in pointing out that the four-star general is a bright guy, with a doctorate in international relations from Princeton, who surely knows what must be done in Iraq. Ah, if only Bush had obtained a doctorate or two from a distinguished US university, everything would be going so much more smoothly today!

There's an amusing expression in French slang: filer le bébé, literally "to hand over the baby", particularly in contexts where the metaphorical baby has just dirtied its diapers, and needs to be cleaned up. In transferring the Iraq baby to Petraeus, Bush is no doubt warming up for the inevitable forthcoming moment when he'll be secretly delighted to hand over the whole shitty mess to the next US president.

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