Topic: "For More Years" (3)
Frodo noticed the black-and-white photo taped to the wall above the young man's desk. Not recognizing the subject, Frodo asked who it was? With a sly grin the young man told Frodo that "he was the greatest civil servant in American History." Frodo still had no idea who the slender young man with the narrow tie and double-breasted suit could have been. He was truly an ordinary face in an ordinary photograph. Frodo simply stared at the young man as he said "Eliott Ness."
The Treasury Department Agent in charge of the investigation that brought Al Capone to justice was Eliott Ness. Later made famous by Robert Stack in a TV Series called "The Untouchables," and by Kevin Costner in an overdone Hollywood extravaganza, Eliott Ness was a guy doing his job. The pressure and, indeed, the danger, was as intense as that faced by the citizen soldier on the field of battle.
That pressure, and that danger, are a metaphor for the task faced by young men and women today a long, long way from home. They are not fighting a war. They are up against organized crime.
The Shiite Militia of al-Sadr and his ilk provides "protection" to their subscribers, at the behest of their "Godfather."
Sunni insurgents, dressed as police officers, commit mass murder and torture in the same brutal fashion as occurred at the "St. Valentine's Day Massacre."
The police authorities are riddled by bribery and political favoritism.
The governmental bodies are powerless against the criminals, and the honest ones are "rubbed out" as quickly as possible.
Cooperation with legitimate authority by private citizens is answered by violence and assassination.
An insatiable demand, and the subsequent spiraling cost, for a consumer product feed the coffers of the criminal elements.
Frodo could go on all day. Iraq is Chicago, as once we knew it. There is a point to be made which, so far, has eluded all but the most astute of the behavioralists. Despite the violence, despite the pithy pronunciations of America's boob-in-charge, despite the national resources thrown recklessly to the sub-Saharan winds, for the past four years the United States of America has fought criminals as if they were an indigenous population fighting against an oppressing occupier. These are not tribes with names like Apache, or Shawnee, or God forbid, even Mohican. There is no enemy army, there is nothing more than sub-human behavior which Americans have long identified as "gang warfare." It is the Sharks, and it is the Jets, and in other circumstances we could see them as Italian, or Irish, or Puerto Rican.
Eliott Ness was given a job to do, and the resources available to him were miniscule and finite. Eliott Ness figured out that enforcing the law meant that he had to establish order by first "cutting off the head of the snake." Al Capone went to jail for income tax evasion, on a sentence of eleven years. The stranglehold of the gangs on Chicago, and subsequently their mere presence in America, collapsed. A stable government and judicial processes followed, slowly. Paul Bremer was certainly no Eliott Ness. Unfortunately, neither is anyone else. That's why what they have done was ass-backwards, and that is why our young men and women will die there, for more years. The snake is among us, and he strikes when it suits him. The tragedy is that now, we don't even know who he is.