New York

Morning Report 1/28/05Bunker Mentality


While the Iraq election and other jokes rain down, the GOP goes into hiding

HERE’S A GOOD Bush regime joke—besides the Iraq election:

Q: How many Bush Administration officials does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A: None. There is nothing wrong with the light bulb; its conditions are improving every day. Any reports of its lack of incandescence are a delusional spin from the liberal media. That light bulb has served honorably, and anything you say undermines the lighting effect. Why do you hate freedom?

Thanks to colleague Doug Simmons for relaying this bright line sent to him by Don Flood, who got it from someone else, who saw it in Eric Alterman‘s Altercation column on January 27. And, for dark humor, thanks to the GOP members of Congress for scurrying to their Cold War bunker in West Virginia, thus once again reminding us of Dr. Strangelove.

On the (almost) eve of the Iraqi (almost) election, the Republicans are huddling with the POTUS and his handlers, and presumably some selected lobbyists, at Greenbrier, the government’s fabulously, heavily secure hiding place in West Virginia. Gerrymandering keeps this Congress safe from democracy, and Greenbrier keeps them snug as bugs in a rug.

Back in May ’92, Ted Gup (then writing for the Washington Post and now an occasional writer for the Voice), uncovered Greenbrier’s hideaway within the hideaway:

Unlike other government relocation centers, built mainly to house military and executive branch officials who would manage a nuclear crisis and its aftermath, the Greenbrier facility was custom-designed to meet the needs of a Congress-in-hiding, complete with a chamber for the Senate, a chamber for the House and a massive hall for joint sessions. Its discovery offers the first conclusive evidence that Congress as a whole was even included in government evacuation scenarios and given a role in postwar America. Today, the installation still stands at the ready, its operators still working under cover at the hotel—a concrete-and-steel monument to the nuclear nightmare. The secrecy that has surrounded the site has shielded it both from public scrutiny and official reassessment, and may have allowed it to outlive the purpose for which it was conceived.

But Gup wrote that piece on Greenbrier during Bush the Elder‘s term, when the U.S. wasn’t quite as warlike and erratic. Now that we’re in a nuclear showdown with Iran, Greenbrier doesn’t seem quite as “quaint”—to use what Nat Hentoff points out is one of Alberto Gonzales‘s favorite words. Besides, people in power love hiding in bunkers, where they can plot their own survival without interference. Of course, that isolation often leads to some mad schemes.

Dr. Strangelove’s plan for post-nuke survival, for example, was for the nation’s leaders to live deep underground with a 10:1 female-to-male ratio. Here’s a snatch of that daydream:

General “Buck” Turgidson: Doctor, you mentioned the ratio of ten women to each man. Now, wouldn’t that necessitate the abandonment of the so-called monogamous sexual relationship, I mean, as far as men were concerned?

Dr. Strangelove: Regrettably, yes. But it is, you know, a sacrifice required for the future of the human race. I hasten to add that since each man will be required to do prodigious . . . service along these lines, the women will have to be selected for their sexual characteristics which will have to be of a highly stimulating nature.

Set out the welcome mat, although my guess is that profits keep this regime rigid.

Most Popular