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At the start of Gulf War II, the George W. Bush administration issued a deck of cards depicting members of Saddam Hussein's regime to expedite their arrest or execution. The need for regime change was explained in very simple terms for everyone to understand. We were told of "Good vs. Evil", "an Axis of Evil", "a crusade against Evil", and that "you are either With US or Against US". And just in case you had any trouble identifying just what "Evil" was, the 52 card deck and two jokers would do.
Obviously, when your military is made up mostly of 18 to 25 year old adolescent boys who grew up on "shooter" video games, and "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (Kill all the Haitians)", you need to keep things very simple. A deck of cards policy will do nicely. Torture of prisoners should not be called torture, but abuse. Freedom is untidy. "Bombing Iraq will spread Democracy thro
ughout the Muslim world" (George W. Bush Feb. 26, 2003).
Taking a clue from the administration that put him at the helm of power in Haiti, Gérard Latortue and his de facto government also like to keep things very simple. Armed renegades that successfully attacked police units in several parts of the country and went on a murderous hunt for Lavalas supporters were called "freedom fighters". When confronted with the most serious environmental disaster of recent memory, the answer was deceptively simple: he would now deploy the freedom fighters as forest rangers. This should keep them busy for a while and everybody shall be happy. As for the rising cost of imported rice, let 'em eat cornmeal or millet. Problem solved. And they surely will like to see a good soccer game between Brazil and their home team, when they will cheer for the Brazilians to beat the millet out of their compatriots. For sure. As far as the nagging $21 billion restitution is concerned, "l'affaire est classée" (it's over, fin
ished, you idiots!) Let's just tell our good friend Chirac not to forget that he has "a moral debt" towards Haiti. No to restitution, but yes to good old begging. Après tout, Haiti est la fille aînée de la France.
But what about this inconvenient Lavalas base that is not all too happy with this "Love, American Style" coup d'état? What to do with these large, peaceful demonstrations demanding an end to the occupation and a return of the deposed government? Simple: Arrest the leadership. One by one. Someone is holding a deck of cards, American made. Carli them on the radio. No freedom fighters on this deck of cards. No forest rangers on this deck of cards. Only Lavalas. And one by one, they shall be arrested. That is easier than running a country.
Things are not running smoothly? Any trouble at all, blame it on the Ace of Spades, L'As de Pique! Cost of living? L'As de Pique! Mud slides, flooding? L'As de Pique! Fires? L'As de Pique! Acts of terrorism? L'As de Pique!
nMeanwhile, at the Justice Department, they gousse up the cards... one after the other. Why not publish the deck of cards so Smokey the Bear can pass them to every forest ranger? All the arrests could be done in the space of one week flat! But this could prove... untidy.
So, let's drag this on, à pas de tortue. Dame de Coeur? Auguste. Valet de Pique? Privert. Roi de Carreau? Célestin. L'As de Trèfle? Neptune. And the jokers in all of this? A lively act of marionettes, popping up here and there, laughing all the way to Quai d'Orsay and 2401 E Street.
Random acts of kindness? Ah... the U.S. Marines! Just a few, please, and we promise to keep this game going till 2006, at the very least.