KQED in San Francisco broadcast Judgment at Nuremberg this evening. I had never seen the whole thing before. (Werner Klemperer's chilling performance as an unrepentant Nazi is retroactively and unfortunately reduced by recollections of his later role as television's Colonel Klink.) At one point, the American prosecutor, Colonel Tad Lawson (played by Richard Widmark), is frustrated and angry over courtroom theatrics and the political pressure being applied to him. After a bout of drinking, he bursts out with a remarkable observation:
You know, there's one thing about Americans. We're not cut out to be occupiers. We're new at it, and we're not very good at it.Well, Colonel, we may not be so new at it now, but we're still not very good at it. This could be one of the consequences of having idiots plan an invasion. When Plan A (“greeted as liberators”) fails, Plan B is nowhere to be found. Unless you consider fumbling around while American troops and Iraqis continue to die constitutes a “plan.”
You've hit the most disturbing feature of the current administration. Machiavellian, cynical plotting I can understand, if not support. I can even believe simple incompetence. But I find the bizarre stew of incipience passed off as cunning, of gleeful ignorance as dewiness, and profound brutality as patriotism unfathomable until recently I would have found it inconceivable.
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