March 09, 2003

Vidal and Mailer Finally Agree

Vidal and Mailer Finally Agree on Something (Well, Kind Of)

From a Q&A session with Vidal (the questioner is challenging an earlier Vidal assertion that we are going to war in Iraq solely because of oil):

Questioner: "How can the Iraq war be about oil when Saddam already sells us oil, and if we wanted him to sell us more oil, we could just remove the sanctions? Do you think we would just install a puppet government that would just give us the oil without us paying for it"?

Gore Vidal: "You can't tell what the junta has in mind, because this is the most secretive and probably illegal administration we've ever had. The Vice President will not tell Congress who he met with during the energy crisis meeting. They do everything to keep us in total darkness. They are un-American."

Meanwhile, Normal Mailer in the NYRB treats us to a lengthy psychoanalysis of what the Bush team is really thinking when it come to Iraq. So what's his conclusion? Here's a teaser:

"Bush uses evil as a narcotic for that part of the American public which feels most distressed. Of course, as he sees it, he is doing it because he believes America is good. He certainly does, he believes this country is the only hope of the world. He also fears that the country is rapidly growing more dissolute, and the only solution may be—fell, mighty, and near-holy words—the only solution may be to strive for World Empire. Behind the whole push to go to war with Iraq is the desire to have a huge military presence in the Near East as a stepping stone to taking over the rest of the world. That is a big statement, but I can offer this much immediately: At the root of flag conservatism is not madness, but an undisclosed logic. While I am hardly in accord, it is, nonetheless, logical if you accept its premises. From a militant Christian point of view, America is close to rotten. The entertainment media are loose. Bare belly-buttons pop onto every TV screen, as open in their statement as wild animals' eyes. The kids are getting to the point where they can't read, but they sure can screw."

So, too much Britney, let's head to Baghdad? Yeah, that's what is driving Dubya Norman. Well, at least Mailer is more original in ferreting out Dubya's motivations than Vidal's oil rationale. One thing it certainly isn't about, of course, is the WMD. I wonder what a better American writer, say Hemingway, would have to say on the Iraq issue?

Note: I will periodically be publicizing a "Vidal Award" for hyperbolic expressions of anti-Americanism completely divorced from any attempt at rational analysis.

Posted by Gregory at March 9, 2003 10:21 PM
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