Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Brown Turns To Grey -- Harvesting Joe Klein (Parody)

We flew into Marjah over a patchwork of poppy fields — not exactly a sea of poppies, but plenty of them. It was two weeks before the harvest, and the last blossoms were floating away in the dusty haze of Helmand province, leaving the prohibitively weird-looking, blue-gray bulbs bald and ready for processing, like an army of alien vegetative creatures. We landed in a wheat field just across the road from the district governor's pathetic headquarters. Remember all those "shovel-ready" projects? Well, they didn't exist. This is why your child's teacher wasn't laid off...and why the fire station has remained open, and why you're not paying even higher state and local taxes to close the local budget hole. This is yet further evidence that Americans are flagrantly ill-informed.

In celebration, before the ceremony, a Kennedy who shall remain nameless took me down to the barn for an intense herbal experience. When I returned to the house, there was Teddy — and it was immediately apparent that he was as shiffazed as I was stoned. We greeted each other like old comrades in arms, sat in a corner and talked about how he wasn't angry about the tomatoes. 

He seemed a ghost the day I met him. He was scared catatonic, of course.  We were at a classic grip-and-grin event, the annual Greek picnic in Lowell, Mass.  . He simply had no idea what to say or do. "So, uh, your family, ah, likes ... meat?" he asked.  No question about the high price of chuck.  I was beginning to feel sorry for the guy. A family conceit, he was not only the baby, but also the screwup.

The pols gadded about with antic smiles and jackets hooked over their shoulders, ties loosened. But we talked again about that day soon after, and memorably so, since neither of us was sober.  Word spread quickly, as word will do in Washington. 

And yet there was a distinct giddiness at NATO headquarters in Kabul. One called it "rushing to failure." Another called it "catastrophic success.”  

A few of the elders raised their eyebrows and nodded at each other; a few others smiled. 

I must admit utter confusion; I've never heard the U.S. military talk so ... airily before.  

It is very difficult to thrive in an increasingly competitive world if you're a nation of dodos.

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