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Ron Callari: Neo-Con-Artist


By Ron Callari

Bush may have taken his combat show on the road, but critics aren’t exactly wowed! Although the 9-11 travesty catapulted him into the big time early on in his stage career, his performance is vaudevillian at best.

As an actor, he delivers lines with the passion of a ventriloquist’s dummy.

As a performer, let’s face it the Dubya from Dallas is no tap dancer.

No, he was never known to be light on his feet. His current missteps with one Iraqi informant-turned-counter-spy-turned-CIA-nemesis are proof that while he tries to skirt the issues, his finesse is as obvious as a slapstick pie in the face.

With that said however… isn’t it amazing why this featured player hasn’t gotten the hook before now? Particularly when his recent inside-the-belt performances are no better than his out-of-town tryouts.

The curtain opens…

Act One…Ahmad Chalabi shows up for the State of Union Address. In a custom-made $1,000 suit, he gets plenty of camera-time, as he is seated front row balcony behind the first lady. Meanwhile the leading man of the nation is paying him $335,000 month for “intelligence”. Pretty expensive talent, wouldn’t you say?

Act Two… Iraqi cops and US troops raided Chalabi's home and seized documents and computers. (Hope they didn't wrinkle his suits.) Apparently between Act One and Two, it appears that this bit player “informed” the US that Saddam was coveting WMDs, while playing footsie with the Iranians.

Act Two, Scene Two… CIA Chief George Tenet resigns. And since we are not dealing with Reality TV here, Bush says the chief did a "superb job." That assumes Tenet's job was to fail miserably in anticipating 9/11 and to goad Bush into going to war under false pretenses, based on erroneous intelligence.

And while the denouement of this lack-luster tour de force is still yet to be played out in the courts, Senate Commission hearings and sojourns to sprawling Texan ranches, the country waits in disbelief for the sequel, as if more of the same might be the answer.

Over 800 U.S. military personnel have been killed in Iraq since Bush “shocked” and “awed” us into jihad, more than a year ago. More than 130,000 troops will stay on after July 1. But who is in charge of morale? Bush’s GI-Joe-landings on aircraft carriers and his healthy servings at Thanksgiving dinner does not exactly take the edge off of a war that could have been avoided.

Tenet has gotten the sacrificial hook. If either Rumsfeld or Wolfowitz were personally linked to the prison torture scandal or the leak of ultra-sensitive information to Chalabi, now that would be entertainment!

So how much more will American audiences have to endure? Are we merely at intermission or asleep in the second floor balcony?

Wake up America! Wouldn’t you say it was time to bring the curtain down?


Ron Callari is a freelance journalist and editorial cartoonist who resides in Jersey City, New Jersey. He and co-creator Jack Pittman produce kidd millennium cartoons weekly.

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