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  Deconstructing Mailer
by Edward L. Daley, The Bodacious Post
2 May
2003

"With their dominance in sport, at work and at home eroded, Bush thought white American men needed to know they were still good at something."  This is Norman Mailer's analysis of the War on Iraq.  Seriously.

Novelist Norman Mailer recently wrote an opinion article published in the TIMES ONLINE which proves beyond any doubt that he is not only a small, spiteful man of questionable intellect, but a seething racist as well.

The article, entitled 'We went to war just to boost the white male ego', is so despicable and, frankly, pathetic from an intellectual standpoint, that one is forced to wonder if the person who wrote it is still capable of rational thought after his more than eight decades on this earth. It's entirely possible I suppose that Mailer may simply be senile. At least that would explain the senselessness of his article, however, mere dotage does not sufficiently explain his obvious prejudice. That is something he must have had festering within his heart long before his mind began to slip.

Mr. Mailer's premise is not only indefensible, but downright hateful. It's difficult to read, not merely because it is filled with such blatant bigotry, but because it has been written by a man who is widely recognized as one of the more innovative and talented American (primarily nonfiction) writers. How a literary icon such as he could create so putrid a piece of work is beyond my ability to comprehend. One can only imagine the backlash Mailer would find himself reeling from if the word 'white' had been substituted with the word 'black.'

Just read the following passage from Mailer's article and ask yourself if these are the words of a rational human being or the machinations of a feeble minded old coot.

"With their dominance in sport, at work and at home eroded, Bush thought white American men needed to know they were still good at something. That's where Iraq came in..."

To even suggest that the single most racially inclusive President in American history would be so concerned with the morale of white men that he would go to war in order to prove to them that they were still competitive, is such a ridiculous contention that it's actually painful to consider. Moreover, the military is not made up entirely of white men to begin with, or has Mr. Mailer's mind degenerated so severely that he now believes he's living in some bygone era? Here's another snippet from the man's article.

"Why did we go to war? If no real weapons of mass destruction are found, the question will keen in pitch."

A fair enough question I suppose... if one happens to have been living in a box for the past decade. There is no question whatsoever that the Iraqis had hundreds of metric tons of some of the most deadly biological and chemical weapons known to man, a fact which even the most vehement anti-war factions in the U.N. do not deny. It is not arguable that both the U.S. and the United Nations repeatedly agreed that Iraq was not cooperating with inspectors, and that Saddam Hussein's regime undertook a campaign of deception and concealment for many years.

Might it be possible that President Bush miscalculated the degree of direct threat to our country from Saddam and his cronies prior to the invasion? Of course, anything is possible, but the primary question one needs to ask is whether or not George W. Bush had sincere reasons to believe that the threat was real. Most people in this country agree that he did, and the insinuation that there was no evidence to support Bush's conclusions is more than a little deceitful. There was proof before and there is even more proof now.

Since the start of the war, evidence of various kinds has come to light linking Hussein to known international terrorist groups, and chemicals believed to be mustard and cyanide agents have been detected in high concentrations in the Euphrates river. Captured Iraqi military officers have admitted that they were ordered to destroy much of their stockpiles of deadly toxins only days before hostilities commenced. Here our soldiers are less than two months into all this, most of that time having been spent fighting with guns, tanks and missiles, and already they are expected to have found those weapons which the Iraqis have had years to hide in a country the size of California! It's an absurd expectation by any reasonable measure, and anyone who believes otherwise should seriously consider long-term psychiatric therapy.

But even if everything I just wrote was untrue, which it certainly is not, that would not lend one scintilla of credibility to Norman Mailer's contentions, for they are devoid of all reasonability and objectiveness. They are the loathsome scribblings of a man who has clearly worn out his usefulness as a productive member of the reputable literary community.

Here's one final gem from the aforementioned article for you to consider.

"The Armed Forces had become the paradigmatic equal of a great young athlete looking to test his true size. Could it be that there was a bozo out in the boondocks who was made to order, and his name was Iraq?"

The only "bozo" I see here is the clown known as Norman Mailer, a man who was once a respected and talented author of books and plays, but now, sadly, is an exposed disgrace to his profession. The editor of the TIMES, as well, should bow his head is shame for allowing such contemptible commentary to appear in his paper. Was it meant to be provocative, or did he feel that it would somehow strengthen his own anti-American cause? I can only guess, but one thing is certain, both Mailer and whoever runs the publication in question should retire and save themselves from further ridicule and scorn.

Email Edward L. Daley