First a caveat: I've mocked the Donkey for his so-called strategy of running against our agèd SecDef on the grounds that every disaster of American foreign policy for the last six years blew from his senescent brain like fluff from an autumnal dandelion.
That said, someone needs to take away grandpa's car keys. He can't focus. His memory flees. The young in one another arms. The salmon-spreaded falls. The early-bird fish filet-crowded seas. The lords and ladies of Byzantium are chatting about their new sets of All-Clad or something, and in comes Pap Rummy, stinking of cheap gin, linseed oil, and damp wool, waving around his finally-published letter to the editor. "Afghanistan! Opium! Infrastructure!" The grown children murmur among themselves--he's really lost it this time. This time, the home, and no arguing this time, Missy, unless you're volunteering to clean the bedpan yourself.
The Secretary avers:
Building a new nation is never a straight, steady climb upward. Today can sometimes look worse than yesterday -- or even two months ago. What matters is the overall trajectory: Where do things stand today when compared to what they were five years ago?Which is awfully fucking poetic. (Admittedly, I always expect Rumsfeld to end a speech by placing both hands on his heart and doing a sort of art-leider tenor: Du mußt dein Leben ändern.) For most of Afghanistan, it seems, where "it" stands is more or less where it stood not five but ten years ago: a fractious, factional country split between tribal warlords and an expanding Taliban influence with a municipal central government struggling, and failing, to assert itself anywhere at all.
To Donald Rumsfeld, en tout cas, who tells us that one more cruel government has been swept up and deposited in "the dustbin of history," I offer this wisdom, courtesy of Bill F.:
The past isn't dead. It isn't even past.