Marc Carlisle: Why Anna Nicole and Joe Lieberman can be famous
Anna Nicole Smith, may she rest in peace, died this week and the nation mourns the passing of the Marilyn Monroe of the 21st century. She had no identifiable skills or native intelligence or natural beauty, yet thanks to painful, costly constructive surgery to implant bags of gel into her body, followed by an expensive regimen of chemical additives to suppress her appetite and add luster to her pelt, she could, in the hands of a skilled photographer and a creative cosmetologist, assume center stage in the fantasies of millions of men and women. Without the chemicals or the cosmetics, she stood revealed as just another meat sack, a man’s nightmare, not a dream, and undeserving of the aspirations and adoration of women. Anna Smith never met Joseph Lieberman. If she had, he would have meant as much to her as she to him, and both would surely have thought as they talked that each had better things to do with their time. Lieberman was the Democratic Party’s vice-presidential nominee in 2004 whose party refused to support his re-election bid as a U.S. Senator from Connecticut as punishment for his steadfast endorsement of the war.
Proving once again that there is a God, Lieberman ran and was re-elected as an independent on whose vote rests the Democrats slim majority in the Senate. Like Ms. Smith, the Senator has no natural beauty and any skills outside of those necessary to win elections are largely untested. But without surgery or additives, the Senator has a place in our lives – not of imaginary significance, but of real importance. The conduct of the war in Iraq and the future of the War on Terror may turn on his vote, on what he thinks, and certainly real men and women will die as a direct result. So for a moment, when we’ve turned our attention away from trying to be Anna Nicole, let’s consider for a moment the prospect of a war without end.A war without end that is, in the eyes of the Senator from Connecticut, America’s future. To explain his support of the President’s war aims, Senator Lieberman said, “I believe that he (the President) understands the life-and-death struggle we are in with the mostly deadly and unconventional enemy, Islamic extremism.”
We are not, of course, at war with a religion and the U.S. Constitution embraces the possibility through the freedom of worship the possibility that 50 years from now there may be more mosques overflowing with worshippers than dusty churches bereft of all but a few bitter Christians. To a politician, one with national aspirations, hyperbole is the norm and not the exception, and to talk about the consequences of the war in Iraq which we began after the events of 9/11 as a life-and-death struggle certainly qualify as such. If we hadn’t started the war in Iraq and instead pursued the terrorists who caused the deaths of thousands of Americans on 9/11, America and the Senator would be in a very different position today. Politicians routinely try to conform the American political and social landscape to the tenets of their religion. Christians do it all the time, and perhaps the Senator’s position on the war, so outside the norm of the party he led in 2004, is more easily understood as the overt or unintended influence of a man with the reportedly deeply held religious conviction of an Orthodox Jew.
Whatever the motivation, the Senator’s word choices should not obscure his belief that this conflict is long-term, and will be fought over generations. The current flap and fury about “the surge” is ludicrous; if 20,000 more represent the difference, why were they withdrawn last year, and if 160,000 aren’t enough, how will a few more do anything other than offer more targets? Killing terrorists won’t kill terrorism. Acts of terror are a reaction to something else. Until we understand why terrorists think shooting Americans will improve their lives, the war, a ping-pong war of you-hit-us, we-hit-you-back will continue long after the Senator and even Anna Nicole, are forgotten.Marc Carlisle writes a Thursday column. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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