I must confess that there was a time when I believed Andy Rooney was losing his mind. His 60 Minutes segments over the past couple of years have often been rude, bigoted, and extremely insulting. His infamous "Women are Too Dumb to Live" and "My Queer Doorman" rants were especially offensive. However, he won my heart with his recent attacks on Mel Gibson's religious propaganda film, and his latest column redeems him greatly in my eyes.
As Rooney explains, the troops are not the heroes that the jingoist hordes would have us believe. They are, in fact, victims - victims of Bush's evil War for Oil just like the rest of us. They aren't brave, gung-ho, Rambo-clones storming through the streets of Baghdad to kill the enemy with their bare hands, but rather helpless children who hate Bush and want to come home to mommy. Alot of them are under the misguided belief that they are fighting for something, which means those of us on the progressive left need to work harder to make them realize the exact opposite is true.
Rooney is no stranger to controversy, having cut his journalist teeth writing war commentary for the Stars & Stripes during World War II. Here's an excerpt from his final column:
"Ever wonder what Hitler was thinking when he grew that mustache? It looks like it's only half done. One would think that a fascist dictator with hundreds of barbers at his beck and call could grow a decent mustache. Why is is so hard to get a decent donut in France? Now, that Josef Stalin has a great mustache, and a nice head of hair, too. All our leaders are bald. Ike? Bald. Patton? Bald. Churchill? Bald. Roosevelt? Balding. Ever wonder why American presidents stopped wearing ponytails? Why is that? Millord Fillmore didn't have a ponytail, but he did have a girl's name. Do you think Millord Fillmore's staff called him "Millie" behind his back? Eleanor Roosevelt has a nice head of hair, but a face like a horse. One would think that the wife of the most powerful man in the world could put on a little make-up now and then and make herself look presentable. What is it with Patton and his pearl-handled pistols, anyway? You know what Freud would say about that. Far be it from me to assume what Freud would say, but if I were Freud, I would say it means he's a queer. Queers typically have nice heads of hair. Why is that?"
Rooney spent the remainder of the war in an army hospital being treated for severe, pistol-shaped head wounds. It was there that he penned his famous treatise, "Ever Wonder Why Nurses Have Such Fat Cabooses?". It was shortly afterwards that a young Pvt. Mike Wallace found him crammed into a dumpster behind the hospital, and the rest is history.
Andy Rooney knows full well the price one pays for patriotic dissent. Still, I have no doubt that Right Wing Attack Machine will make his life miserable for the next few weeks. I can see the flood of hate mail now.
I just hope it doesn't give him a cynical outlook on life.