Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Bolton, Perle: War Trolls


For Whom the Bell Trolls

In or out of mating season, John Bolton in full swollen umbrage is never an edifying spectacle, which makes it all the more puzzling that producers insist on providing this diplomatic reject and rage-aholic with a peddler's license to lie, bluster, and fearmonger. We Americans are now accustomed to the likes of Bolton in full coconut-heaving mode but the Brits have been less exposed to neoconservatism in the malignant raw, and Matthew Carr's review of Bolton's recent perf on the Today show read like a report filed from behind a one-way mirror at a psychiatric clinic:

It wasn't just that Bolton's arguments were bizarre and illogical to the point of insanity, such as his description of [interviewer John] Humphrys and the millionaire philanthrophist George Soros as members of the 'extreme left'. Or his ludicrous assertion that the invasion of Iraq has laid the basis for a more stable and peaceful Middle East. It wasn't even his fanaticism, his arrogance and his utter contempt for the opinions of the non-American world. What is striking about Bolton is the savagery and homicidal intent that shows through the statesmanlike patter.

Frankly, I'm surprised Bolton even mobilized his mustache enough to let a little "statesmanlike patter" breezer under it. He often doesn't bother. One of Bolton's sidekicks without shame is Richard Perle, whose "oily gravitas" produces instant revulsion in those still possessed of a smidgen of human decency.

Perle, Bolton and co often pontificate on the unique moral evil of terrorism. But in their contempt for human life and their appetite for war they are not that different from Osama bin Laden. Unlike Osama, they will not be found in the Hindu Kush carrying a Kalashnikov. They are war trolls, endlessly manipulating the public from TV studios. In this sense they are more like the Roman senators who grew rich and fat while the legions went out to 'create a wasteland and call it peace', as Tacitus once put it.
War trolls, such a magnificently exact epithet...

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