Moratorium Monday

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Moratorium. From the Greek word "moritorio", which, loosely translated, means "Cut that shit out. What the fuck is wrong with you, Aristophanes? Do you want me to come over there and kick your ass? I didn't think so."

And on Moratorium Mondays, I'll be calling for an end to a practice that, like Aristophanes, needs to stop if it doesn't want a full metal beatdown. Today? The Surprise Visit.

Just stop. Nobody cares. It's starting to become annoying, really. The president, some senators, the Donnie and Condi show, a governor or three, just popping over to Iraq or Afghanistan on their way to the store for milk and panty liners.

They want us to think they just happen to be going past Baghdad, and thought they'd check in and see how their buds are doing rebuilding that pesky country. And all the cameras and attention being paid to them is just an unfortunate coincidence. Why, if they had their way, the media would completely ignore the surprise visit. But since there's nothing they can do about it, they smile for the cameras and graciously take whatever good will the coverage buys them with an increasingly skeptical public.

Dubya started the whole thing. Well, he didn't start it start it, but he's responsible for most of the politicians on the planet embracing the "surprise visit" thing so wholeheartedly. Remember his surprise Thanksgiving visit? It was 2003, and Ol' Mushmouth showed up in a mess tent, waving around a tray with a plastic fucking turkey on it while the troops cheered.

That shit was like magic media gold. It was so good nobody cared the turkey was as real as the exit strategy. And ever since, politicians have been stopping by for a visit. But it's run its course. It's gotten to be like that one horrible person at work, the one who thinks that every party would be improved by hiding behind desks. The first time, fine. But by the thirtieth time, nobody's heart's in it. Everyone's expecting it. We all just want it to end.

The only thing scarier than the surprise visit as shameless photo op is the possibility that they actually believe it helps. Like the Iraqi government would be sitting around the office playing Minesweeper all day if it weren't for the possibility that Condoleeza Motherfucking Rice could drop in at any moment, wearing a combat helmet, and checking to see if they've quelled that pesky civil war yet. And quizzing them to see if they read all those Arabic-language copies of "Who Moved My Cheese?" she left behind on her LAST surprise visit.

But as bad as these visits are, at least your Dubyas, your Condis, your Rummis have some connection to the giant steaming pit of death they're stopping by. But why has Tim Pawlenty been to Iraq twice? Most recently in March, as a part of an entire surprise visit delegation led by Captain Maverick himself, John "Fallwellatio" McCain?

What the fuck can Tim Pawlenty learn from Iraq that would apply here? He already knows how to treat poor people like potential terrorists, so short of layering Astroturf into a crater and calling it a new stadium, any Pawlenty trip - fuck, any gubernatorial trip at all - to Iraq is pure, unmitigated grandstanding.

And you all need to cut that shit out.

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