In the classic film-noir The Maltese Falcon based on the hard boiled crime novel of the same name by Dashiell Hammett, Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade refers to the character Wilmer ( Elisha Cook Jr.) as a gunzel. An early definition of the word was defined as a convicted criminal that had a fondness beyond regular friendship for another inmate, but later, like slang has a habit of doing, expanded to include gangsters who were not all that tough when you took their gun away and still retained at least a hint of implying that the gangster in question was less then manly. Bush gives new meaning to the word gunzel. Until 9-11 Bush disregarded the warnings of the Clinton Administration about making Osama Bin Laden a priority and instead moved fighting gun control,stopping the threat of medical marijuana usage, and punishing hookers and their clients to the top of the gunzel to do list. A punk’s list of priorities if their ever was one. For those that were paying attention, 9-11 striped away the facade of the fake cowboy’s toughness, after reading a children’s’s book and flying around in circles he shows up in New York to wrap himself in the new gunzel’s protective gear, the American flag. The new gunzel is clever, ya see if you criticize the gunzel wrapped in the flag, it looks like you are critical of the flag too. 9-11 was a horrible day and even the most cynical critics of the administration put aside their honest differences for national unity. What was important is that we as a nation get justice for this grossly criminal act. It turns out even as plans were being made to go after Bin Laden, gangsterish schemes were under way to wage war against a secularized Islamic state rather then the very tedious job of ferreting out the blood thirsty jihadists that concealed themselves within dozens of nation-states. Gunzels are notoriously lazy minded, they reject thinking about things that are complex, that require thinking outside the box. Gunzels hiding behind bluster, think they can point a gun at something, snarl and the threat real or not will shrink up and disappear. You can judge a gunzel by lack of results, ‘Significant attacks’ at 21-year high, revised data show
The administrations’s approach to Iraq was the same as a punk’s approach to robbing a bank, they thought they had all the angles covered, but of course punks never do. They sent too few troops to do a job they themselves would never be brave enough to do, they sent them without the proper body armor and with no real plan for the occupation. Since the flag draping worked to deflect any criticism of Bush they draped Iraq in the flag too. They tried and somewhat succeed in convincing people that Bin Laden and Saddam were the same thing. Yet no WMD, no collaboration with al-Queda ; these marginal threats were used rather then having a clear picture of real threats and a real strategy of defeating the terrorists and stemming the spread of terrorism. The 21st century gunzel must always be at war or people might notice how useless they are.
Katrina versus the gunzel, and Katrina wins. One sure sign of a gunzel, our modern day tough guy wannabe is the claim to being the great protector. Yet when faced with a catastrophic event Bush could not muster all the power at his disposal to help the victims. No, presidents cannot prevent hurricanes, but they can respond to them. With a series of debacles under his belt, 9-11, Iraq, Afghanistan’s reemergence as an opium center, he asks that America trust him to break FISA laws that every president since 1978 has adhered to. With the Bush record of one miserable failure after another, maybe its out of pity that some members of Congress are trying to make Bush’s violation of the constitution and the public trust retroactively legal. The gunzels as usual have taken the tact of misdirecting the debate, with the egregious accusation that Democrats don’t want the president to spy on terrorists. If we lived in a sane world, Bush and any member of his administration that expressed those sentiments would be censured for suggesting such a thing. The issue a month ago, the issue today, and the issue tomorrow will be spying on American citizens without a FISA warrant.
A gunzel of the 40’s and 50’s could be found pistol whipping his opponents even after they had been subdued. Gunzel Bush tortures people after they’ve been caught and imprisoned, not because torture works, not because it saves us from some hypothetical ticking bomb, but because gunzels then and now take pleasure in sadism, especially at the idea of having such control over another human being. One of the defining characteristics of modern conservatives are the desire to control even the most personal aspects of human behavior.
The modern gunzel poses different dangers; Bush gunzelism endangers any true small government conservatism, it pushes moderate Muslims to the fringe, it punishes Muslim states instead of Muslim terrorists, it demoralizes and weakens our military, it undermines our sense of community as a nation, it rewards incompetence and cowardice,it tramples on the law and the public trust, and Bush gunzelism tarnishes America’s reputation as a country of honor.
Stripe away Wilmer’s gun, stripe away Bush’s false bravado, “bring it on” and all you have is a tough talking incompetent coward. Like his entire cuddled life, Bush will manage to get through his presidency without taking responsibility for anything, letting others carry the burden of his gross ineptitude. Bush, a gunzel for the new century.
Bill Kristol is a gunzel too, Commandante Kristol Unholsters His Cap Pistol (updated)