♪ I’m like a songwriter;
You’re the reason I’ve run out (run out),
Run out of metaphors ♪
— Wilco, “I Thought I Held You,” A.M.*
Largely missed in the miasma of every other noxious emanation from the D.C. Swamp this past week, the U.S. Defense Department announced that it would renege on an international commitment to stop using cluster bombs and cluster shells for tactical strikes against population centers. This is a war crime.**
Cluster bombs, for a refresher, work like gremlins from the abandoned-too-soon 1980s comedy-horror movie series. Loosing them equates to holding Stripe under a showerhead while force-feeding him after midnight.
Cluster munitions deliver a main ordnance package equivalent to several hundreds of pounds of TNT while also randomly spraying dozens of bomblets about the size of golf balls (cute, no?) over more than square mile. When the bomblets fail to denote, which happens often, they lay hidden across the landscape, more insidious and injurious than uncleared landmines because they fit in anyone’s hand and often trigger by movement instead of pressure.
Dropping a cluster bomb or lobbing a cluster shell onto any target but the most-single-purpose military installation guarantees civilian casualties. It surely ensures more deaths, dismemberments, and disablings of noncombatants than militants.
Pentagon officials justified keeping cluster bombs in the arsenal by “arguing that safety improvements in munitions technology failed to advance enough to replace older stockpiles.” In other words, the generals and admirals and bean counters decided they prefer to go on killing and maiming women, children, and seniors — to say nothing of the people on the ground who might want to fight the same folks as the Americans — because doing otherwise proves inconvenient.
Now, to whiplash into the metaphor promised with the epigraph: The tax package voted through the U.S. Senate at 2 am on Dec. 2, 2017, with 51 Republican votes will operate like a cluster bomb against the U.S. economy and all the people living under that not-so-hidden hand. Uvular lacks the stomach and equanimity to describe exactly what the gifts to billionaires and multinational corporations that already underpay taxes or avoid excises altogether do, but he will point you to these layperson’s summaries prepared by individuals with stronger constitutions and less desire to descend into a weeping mass of impotent obscenities and blubbering invective:
- Senate passes tax overhaul, securing major GOP victory
- Senate GOP repeals ObamaCare mandate
- CBO: Senate tax bill increases deficit by $1.4 trillion
Yes, the tax plan, if enacted, will kill people. Yes, the tax plan’s deadly effects will continue exploding for years, possibly decades, to come. No, congressional Republicans care no more about this than the Pentagon officials do about the nonmetaphorical reaping of cluster munitions.
What a way to kick off the month dedicated to the entirely allegorical birth of the Prince of Peace and the Son of God who got literally, if not actually, quoted as saying, “Render unto Caesar” and “Suffer the little children.”
So, in the spirit of the season …
♪ O come, all ye Politicados
Morose and downtrodden
O come ye, o come ye to Double U Pee Tee
Come and decry it
Burn the suck of policy ♪
*Son Volt Rulz! Wilco droolz. With the exception of about half of this first post-Uncle Tupelo album from Jeff Tweedy and friends/bandmates/hostages. Bonus fun fact: YouTube considers the quoted alt-country ballad from 1995 so old and so lame that it preceded it for Uvular with an AARP ad.
**An offense against the very concepts of humanity and humanism so severe that it prompts your humble WPT host to break, for the first time, his self-imposed rule to never use reflexive verbs in header essays. This IS huge and worse than bad.