Monday, May 18, 2009

Chatter and Verse: Donald Rumsfeld's Bible-Themed Propaganda as an Art Form. A Bad, Tendentious, Horrible Art Form.

In the latest bit of surprised-but-not-quite-shocked news, photographic evidence has emerged that while he was defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld used to decorate his briefings to President Bush with tasteful warrior photos captioned with Bible verses.

GQ, of all sources, released the information that Secretary Rumsfeld “appreciated” the cover designs. One might assume that Rumsfeld condescendingly figured Dubya would more readily agree to a plan, no matter how harebrained, as long as a Biblical verse was affixed to it. Having to explain why the Iraq situation was getting worse after six years probably went down a lot easier when the president saw a picture of American soldiers kneeling in prayer with an accompanying reassuring verse from Isaiah – these challenges are meant to test us, and let us not lose our resolve, came the message. The subsequent and detailed bad news was probably drowned with syrup, butter and small talk.

And yet the overwhelming reaction on viewing the images is that they’re just craptacular. Let’s be honest – if you’re going to put together a spirited, patriotic, Jesus-referencing, crying-eagle-on-a-rock type of cover, you could do much better than this slop. Henceforth are some suggestions.

Ol’ Ecclesiastes was the liberal elite of his generation – always talking pretty and making the impetuous and belligerent look stupid. He hated America waaaay before it was cool, so he’d be into this. Is there a time for war crimes tribunals?
Samuel was pretty much the Bismarck of his time – on the cusp of forming a nation. Unfortunately the nation was being built on the remains of the people who lived there before, so Israel’s various neighbors had to go. Since we don’t have that excuse in Iraq, maybe we should invoke a pointless biblical parallel instead and hope for the best.

“Let’s be honest here. I don’t know what Daddy did or why he did it, but I promise I’ll do more of it. Except anything that Reagan wouldn’t have done. And then some. But you’re not gonna believe that shit. Just hold on to your britches.”

Which makes me appreciate all the more what some of the newer briefings might look like:

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