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If we remove the names of countries in the press reports, shouldn't we be able to distinguish the US remarks from nations of fanatical street gangs? I'd like to think so.......

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, March 08, 2006.

A little over a decade ago, I was in jail for six months and then in half-way house for two years. During that time, I was again in the company of men, in theory, and boys, in the more accurate view. Boys of various ages within parameters extending decades. It wasn’t summer camp, let me say, and it wasn’t boarding school, but it wasn’t Abu Graib either. Still, there are similarities between any confluence of men either in arrested development and/or stupid. Men, after all, are full of it.

Men brag and bluster and formulate ridiculous scenarios to explain their situations, both to each other and to themselves. No cliché is too worn, no put down too juvenile, no wisecrack too inapplicable for people with no actual center of successful experiences, often enough. No life to return to, no friends, no relationships, no education for them to explain their world and surroundings to themselves. And that was the staff. The inmates were often worse.

You could see physical fights coming a mile away, with both idiots trying to get out of it, but unable to do so since all their bluster was in front of others, and because of street cred and male stupidity, they’d end up in the shower, engage in a fist fight that ended generally with the first slam to the face, and the winner would be congratulated and the loser scorned. Again, by the staff and inmates both, since both teams were bored to tears and this was something new to talk about.

The start up threats were generally culled from the movies, and this exchange between punks trying to sound both like mafia dons and rappers sounded as stupid as can be imagined. The very fact that they chose to come to blows over a cigarette smuggled in by baggie in a girlfriend’s butt, or the last piece of chicken at dinner, or a seat by the window, pretty much summed up the situation inside. During the build up of threat exchange, those around would be egging them on and laughing, generally glad that they hadn’t lost it like these two had. Because they sounded absurd.

It is extremely disconcerting to recognize the same characteristics in my President and Vice President. These two have been drawn into exchanges of threats with punks, and therefore have become viewed as little more than punks themselves. But, holding office, this reflects on us, and this really annoys me. The U.S. should be far more than just a huge and powerful street gang led by trolls with a nuclear arsenal. Men may respond to this stuff. Women generally disdain it, whatever their outward demonstrations. Women find prolonged competence attractive. Not mere declarations of it.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has no particular political or government skills for national greatness, he’s merely another charismatic rabble rouser, an Al Sharpton risen large, and his huge popularity is pretty much due to his ability to annoy the American government, since he cannot run his own nation and - despite mammoth oil revenue - cannot account for its spending. Like his idol Castro, he knows the buttons to push and, far worse, knows that Bush will respond with stupid threats of his own. In short, and typically, the US isn’t acting like what it is, a superpower that should be above street issues. It makes us look stupid and as glue sniffing insane as Chavez jumping up and down on podiums.

Yesterday, Dick Cheney made another threat against Iran, who is led by a similar creature to Chavez at present, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has made all sorts of hyperbolic wiggy threats against the West and for the same reasons as Chavez. He knows he’ll get a response, be able to project himself as his nation’s savior against the American Giant, which endears him to the Iranian equivalent of Americans who watch Fox alone. He has somewhat more cred, of course, because he’s working on nuclear bombs and we don’t know how quick he’d be or the mullahs would be to use them once completed.

Nonetheless, this high school swagger found in our President once threatening ‘Bring it On’ to Iraqi insurgents, who promptly did and took out two thousand Americans in the two years since, and all the military innuendoes and direct threats makes the Bushies, and therefore us, look little more responsibly mature in comparison with Iran than the two fourth grade drop outs in their twenties standing chest to chest and challenging each other to fight......unless you’re scared.

And now, after denigrating the UN and assigning the very anti-UN John Bolton as our ambassador, Bush now needs the UN to save his sorry reputation and get Iran to stand down. He can’t quite make Russian support him, since they need Iranian oil as much as we. He doesn’t seem to actually understand that merely being able to be seen as in conflict with the US is the goal for the likes of Venezuela and Iran. He doesn’t get how like them it makes the United States look to be unable to resist participation in trash talking in place of diplomacy and some common sense.

The guys in jail had nothing else much going for them. Bush and we do, and that distinction should be reflected in our foreign relations, which are in tatters after six years of these Chickenhawks and pasty-faced alpha-male aspirants.