It was just one of those moments. I'm in this Maine castle, and I'm reading Dexter Hilkins' awesome book on Iraq and Afghanistan The Forever War. Which begins with this quote from Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses:
He thought that in the beauty of the world were hid a secret. He thought the world's heart beat at some terrible cost and that the world's pain and its beauty moved in a relationship of diverging equity and that in this headlong deficit the blood of multitudes might ultimately be exacted for the vision of a single flower."
On the TV in the living room Iraqis are cheering the withdrawal of American troops from their ruined cities.
And to make the moment complete I'm wondering whether that big speed boat coming from the direction of the Bush family compound is taking Georgie fishing, and whether the apocalypse he unleashed ever bothers him.
Then I read this.
Iraq is locked in a struggle with the world's largest oil companies over contracts that would see "Big Oil" return to the Iraqi oilfields for the first time in almost 40 years.
And I realized that even in his sober moments the chimp must be smirking. Mission Accomplished. History may vilify him. But they'll be bronzing his hairy ass in Houston and Calgary for the rest of his life.
While Big Oil pumps out the Iraqi oil fields as fast as they can, to keep us hooked on cheap oil, even as the planet burns.
Because of course it was always about that. From day one of the occupation when mobs looted government buildings, stole priceless treasures from the Baghdad Museum, and the only building the Americans guarded was the Ministry of Oil.
Freedom was the vision of a flower they held up to try to justify the slaughter.
But it was just power and greed and the black guck that is killing us all.
The speed boat disappeared into the distance. The moment passed. Sébastien arrived and we went down to the beach for the last time before heading home.
But not before I read the other quote on the opening page of The Forever War...this one from Herman Melville.
Oh, horrible vultureism of earth! from which not the mightiest whale is free.
For that they turned the world upside down.
For that so many people died...