Friday, June 24, 2005

We're in the last something or something

A lot of talk in the last few days about the remark by Cheney that the Iraqi "insurgency is in its last throes" (and it's not spelled "throws," people! Come on!). In the last couple of days Rumsfeld and Bush were forced to defend the remark.

In all seriousness, their defense goes something like this: "We" are making progress in Iraq despite everything, and we're looking forward to the day when Iraq has a constitution, free and fair elections, and can take care of itself. Until then, we're staying the course. This is what they say when asked about the "last throes" standard -- they try not to address the words directly, they don't disavow them, they just talk optimistically. See Bush's remarks today, particularly his response to the first question.

I finally realized this morning why they can feel comfortable with the notion that "the insurgency is in its last throes" even as a hundred U.S. soldiers and a thousand or two Iraqis die every month: It's the same thing as the evangelical Christian concept of the "last days."

According to evangelical Christianity, the "last days" is the period of time which began with Christ's first coming and will continue until his second coming -- an event which, as evangelicals like to remind us, Jesus himself said could come at any moment. So we're in the last days... we were in the last days in the year 700, and 1215, and 1914, and 2001. We're still in the last days. Just like Iraq: the insurgency was in its last throes in late 2003, and in 2004, and today. And they'll be in that condition until they are no more.

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