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This article was originally featured on the front page of Huffington Post. Check out my profile page for more articles there. Just as effective democracy assumes and requires the consent of the governed, so does an effective analogy assume and require a common set of beliefs and experiences among its intended audience. This week, George W. Bush finally made the analogous connection he has so vehemently avoided between Iraq and Vietnam. But, as he has done with Biblical interpretation and the English language, the boy has badly mangled the meaning. On August 22, Bush used his speech before the Veterans of Foreign Wars to yet again to "reframe" the Iraq debate. How long can you "reframe" something before you realize that the problem is your crappy art and not the choice of a speckled mahogany vs. fluted sterling silver enclosure? Answer: at least four years. After rehashing freedom-loving, fascist-hating arguments previously applied to American mid-century intervention in Europe, Shrubya used Microsoft Word's search-and-replace feature to tell the story with Asians. That's when he broke out the surprise Vietnam analogy. However, it was neither the well-understood Vietnam-as-quagmire nor the equally-applicable Vietnam-as-conflict-he-avoided that the president relied upon. No, Bush rested his latest justification on Vietnam-as-lost-because-we-didn't -stay-long-enough. Yeah, that was just the problem. Think about it. Had we stayed longer, we could have killed every last person in Vietnam and won the damn thing, but those perpetual back-stabbers in Washington again failed to support the troops. Bush's strategery in this case, as with global warming, evolution and other facts, depends on creating doubt. He said things like: 1. "Now, I know some people doubt the universal appeal of liberty, or worry that the Middle East isn't ready for it." 2. "Others believe that America's presence is destabilizing, and that if the United States would just leave a place like Iraq those who kill our troops or target civilians would no longer threaten us." 3. "Here at home, some can argue our withdrawal from Vietnam carried no price to American credibility, but the terrorists see things differently." 4. "Three decades later, there is a legitimate debate about how we got into the Vietnam War and how we left." No, there isn't. This is a complex literary device known as "bullshit," which is employed all too often by people who don't know what they're talking about. I, too, can invoke the tree hugging, ape-descending, freedom-hating "some" and "others" to create a "legitimate" debate where none legitimately exists. Watch me work my magic: 1. Some can argue that babies come from a magical stork that shoves the fetus into a woman's body moments before birth then teleports back to its home in the trash can where Oscar the Grouch lives. 2. Others believe that babies are always inside of women, remote controlling them like that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles villain, Krang, the talking, fluid-dripping, pink brain that installed himself inside an ogre's abdomen in order to defeat our turtle heroes. 3. There is a legitimate debate about how a woman becomes pregnant. For Bush to sell the Iraq war by using America's most shameful military expedition of the 20th century shows just how desperate he is. He's not just drinking the Kool-Aid, he's freebasing the powder.
This article was originally posted on Huffington Post where I am now a blogger!! Check out my profile page! I've had the same barber for about the same amount of time that Bush has been president, and like many Republicans, I am loyal despite numerous embarrassing moments and outright failures. I can't pinpoint why I've been so loyal. There's something about the person who's in charge of your hair that engenders a sense of trust, loyalty and guilt at the notion of going to someone else. I followed him when he left one shop to start his own. I've waited hours for his chair while other barbers were available. Once when my barber was out of town I did let another barber cut my hair, but I knew it couldn't last. I felt dirty. My guy has done a decent job, but not incredible. Mostly, he's just there. Like most cab drivers, he's always on his cell phone while operating his delicate machinery, leading me to question whether or not he even hears what I want done. I could say, "I want pink bunny rabbits carved into my temples" and he'd be like, "Uh huh" and leave me with a fade. Years ago, I asked him to trim my afro and even it up, and he took the damn thing off. I was so furious when I left, he later told me he was afraid I would come back and shoot him. Had I done so, I wouldn't be in the situation I'm in right now. I've been growing my hair out for the past year at least with just moderate trimming every few months. Yesterday, I realized i desperately needed to get my hair cut. It had grown beyond the cool-fro stage and was insisting on joining the Rastafarian Movement. I destroyed several picks in an attempt to tame it, but it chewed threw them like a bunker buster through an Iraqi pre-school. I told the barber, "I WANT TO KEEP THE AFRO, just take it down a bit, and make it even." I had worried that half off might even be too much. Thirty minutes later, I barely had any hair. He took off five-sixths of my fro! I left dissatisfied but committed to maintaining my cool. "This could be good," I told myself. "The scalp needs fresh air every few years." Just when I had convinced myself that it was going to be ok, it happened. I went to my office job, and the corporate people started complimenting me. "Hey Baratunde, that's a nice clean haircut." "Wow, it's like we got the old Baratunde back." "What's up, Tobey?" What a horrible setback! Getting stylistic approval from cubicle dwellers is unquestionably a sign of fashion failure. If Dick Cheney says you have a good heart, you are among the living dead. Then there are the people who realize that something tragic has happened and remind me of the incident, "Woah, man, what happened?" I don't want to talk about it. It gets me angry all over again, and I wonder why I went back to the barber in the first place. This must be what it's like to be a Republican. To remain unquestionably loyal in the face of miserable failure. Like the president, my barber pretended to listen, but went ahead and did whatever he had planned to do in the first place. It didn't matter that I told him to "KEEP THE AFRO." It didn't matter that we had been through this before. The difference between me and Republicans, however, is that I'm not going back for more. I'm looking for a new barber and, in the meantime, I'll be wearing a hat.