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||George of Arabia: Bedouins and Bombs
Finefrock - Hollywood Forum [scriptwriter]
"Lawrence of Arabia” had a timely TMC airing on the Ides of January, an occasion to find parallels with today’s challenges amidst the Bedouin traditions enshrouded in Islam and insanity. Two scenes examine what we find still true today, each the cause of T.E. Lawrence’s frustrations at unifying Arab tribes into a single, holistic whole of military and political impact. President Bush would know the feeling should he view the scenes; times are a changin’, but not everything changes at the same rate.
Lawrence fuses two tribes for a landward assault on the Turks’ guns at Aqaba, but an old blood feud nearly squelches his ambition. Only by personally executing the brigand who rubbed salt in the old wound can the tribes remain unified so the attack can begin. This success is his first conquest, making him a nearly Moses-like hero to his British Army superiors. Without it, he’d have been another academic curiosity amidst military professionals, advocating the potential of the Arab tribes acting against the Turks. With this victory under his belt, he advocates other “impossible” adventures, the finale being the conquest of Damascus.
Lawrence beats the British regular army to the city, taking charge and taking the mantle of leadership, attempting to prove the Arabic/Bedouin to be capable of running a modern city. All falls apart, as one tribe of several [his brood has grown for this mission] fails to manage the water system, another fails at the electric plant, a third flubs the phone circuits. Each blaming the other, as old rages grow into a tsunami of accusations. Wisely, the British general who’s arrived too late to occupy these infrastructural systems merely waits, calling his commanders to keep all units in the barracks. The city is in gridlock, all systems no-go, as the tribes go back to their desert environs. Lawrence is devastated: his power-grasp failing, and his ambition turned to dust, as he sits alone in the grand palace.
As the film ends, King Faisal appears again, to negotiate a political settlement, as the military one has failed [for Lawrence, that is], and the pretense of Arab competence is constructed with British complicity. “We shall have a waterworks run by the British army, and with an Arab flag flying over it” proclaims a shrewd, conniving diplomat. Thus, the victorious tribes have left Lawrence in an empty palace, which he’d hoped to be his capital to confirm his capricious adventure into Arabic politics.
These cinematic portrayals of two tribal dissolutions illustrate what is still true today in Arabia: their disputes make any of ours look tame, even the tribal clashes in Europe in the umpteen centuries before the Napoleonic Wars. Dubya ventured into this “Lawrencium” labor, hoping that at least one place might be receptive to modern nationhood. The British had given it a spin once, but not seriously. Now, we would do what they and Lawrence had determined to be impossible.
Dubya is facing the second Laurencium scene, as his hopes are fading, and all who had supported him are turning into mist, running for the shortgrass. Republicans have little stamina, we are seeing so clearly now. Not a first, this abandonment of True Values – ask Goldwater, and Reagan, and li’l ole moi for that matter. Courage gets few real-world profiles, and now Dubya stands alone, with more power than Major Lawrence, as commander in chief of the only real military power in the world today. Dubya hasn’t been undercut so much by the ‘tribes’ [but, yes, indeed, the Iraqi government is a puny, pathetic piddle] as by his own party, and of course by the weenies of the world: the Democrat[ic] Party.
This is radioactive stuff, Lawrencium – there really is such an element! – and it is the dirty-bomb of our politics. We cannot let the Middle East go “its way” for its way trods over a substrata of petroleum, and its passions are finding expression in Muslim lands across almost every time zone. Dubya had the right idea, Lawrence-like as it appeared to some, and he had no support of any value, much as the British army gave Lawrence only light arms. No cannon, for after the war, “getting the cannon back” would prove difficult. [Like those Stinger missiles we sent in such quantity to Afghanistan!]
Dubya’s determination is not exact to Lawrence’s, but the two situations can each give us a lesson, one cinematic and the other all-too-worldly: these tribal cleavages are long-standing, and will resist any healing salve we might try to apply to the wounds. But as we are the medical corpsmen of the world, when a nation in peril cries “corpsman” we cannot just turn our backs. While we won’t develop the deep affection for these tribal lands which T.E. Lawrence drew into his heart, we must remember they have needs. We can’t rescue all of them – no corpsman can treat every wounded Marine at the same instant – but we can’t go into a depressive miasma as Lawrence did at the movie’s end, living a life of detached indifference, adrift in anomie.
Action v. Anomie
The democrats are the party of anomie; Dubya and a few GOPsters [so very few] are the party of action, and of the stuff which make corpsmen and firefighters and cops and all the rest who wear uniforms and run toward the sound of gunfire. Democrats run for shelter, and brag of their anomie, and will consider “Lawrence” to be a fool, both on screen and on the House podium.
The lesson is not to let evil flourish, nor to solve every “wound” on the worldwide battlefield; but to choose one survivable victim, and give it all for all the time required for the patient either to heal and stand on his feet, or succumb until a black toe-tag is mandated.
Right now, the dems are waving black toetags; for now, I’m with Dubya. Still on his side. The patient is not yet dead, and we are medically mandated to do our best for this patient, until the flatline screams at us in an undebatable conclusion.
It ain’t over until it’s over – unless you’re a democrat, then it’s over before it starts. For them, “failure was always the only option” and they have declared it an unavoidable option, while the patient is still breathing and has a pulse.
A weak pulse, but one which no real doctor would consider as sufficient reason to walk away while the patient was still pumping the tiniest flow of blood to vital organs. The Bedouin body is not yet dead, not in Iraq. Call in more medical specialists, and let’s revive the patient, so our “Lawrence” is not condemned to a lifetime of depression.
And so America won’t be saddled with more proof for Osama that we are a weak horse. The weak horse is at the DNC; our horse has life. It should not be aborted. We are not the party of abortion. And though Lawrencium has at best a half-life of four hours, and is synthesized from Californium [the metaphors just pile up], we should stand one more time beside Dubya. The half-life of loyalty for dems is short indeed. If our half-life gives more proof – a la Beirut bombing, and so on thru the USS Cole and Somalia – of our irresolution, the danger will be radioactive for decades to come.
Thence the magic of democrats’ evil wand: they will have made a new isotope of Lawrencium, politically radioactive for two or three generations. Lawrencium will transmute into political strontium-90; that’s a minefield we won’t be able to cross. So that we won’t find ourselves brittle and brutally ignoring the next tsunami of cries for “corpsman” we must make this Lawrencium end on a positive note.
For you see, the dems will be the first to cry “Let’s help” in Africa, or who knows where else, and will insist we send the carriers and B-1 fleets. Even as they cut the budget, and cut the muscle. If you think “Blackhawk Down” was humiliating – and it did paralyze Clinton from reacting later to “Hotel Rwanda” due to American exhaustion – you ain’t seen nuttin’ yet if we show Osama that we are, ultimately, a weak horse.
This corpsman will be tired, paranoid, and reluctant to heed the call when it comes post-Iraq. That ain’t no way to treat a Marine. CRO
2007 Steve Finefrock