When K and I moved to America, one of the things we would have lacked, were it not for the ingenuity of American capitalism and a heads-up play by my mother, would have been a coffee maker. That would have been a disaster. Yet it was a disaster averted, because my mother had signed up for a Gevalia coffee trial offer and had a coffee maker waiting for us.
Since my mother doesn’t drink so much coffee these days and my father is not so picky, we said we’d make the necessary purchases to fulfill the trial agreement. The coffee we got from Gevalia was actually pretty decent.
As time passed and K and I started feeling less fiscally uncertain, we began really living the American dream: we began spending more money. And one thing we started spending more money on was music. In order to get a lot of new music quick, we did old join/drop-Columbia-House- in-one-month thing that my best friend and I did in high school so many time.
I’ve often wondered what that says about the actual cost of a CD when a company can essentially sell you a significant number of them for about $2.30 a piece. I guess the inflated prices of the regularly priced CDs is supposed to make up for that, else they wouldn’t be in business.
Eventually, we were “settled”ï¿½ enough that we decided to buy another car. We went out one Sunday and began looking at what was out there. At the Kia dealer, we were bamboozled into a test drive, even though we said we were only interested in talking about prices, features, warranties and such. Taking a test drive, though, indicated that we were a step closer to buying than we actually were.
Looking back on it, K and I were furious that we’d allowed ourselves to be manipulated as we had, for the whole awful adventure ended with us sitting with a salesman trying to be firm and yet polite in telling him, “No, we are not going to buy a new car today. We just came to look.”ï¿½
I guess trial memberships and test drives are as American as any clichÃ© about American-ness you can think of. In an age of a million choices, we consumers don’t want to make a fiscal commitment to something unless we can help it. And this has evolved into a country where we can get trial sizes and sample packs of even pharmaceuticals.
And that’s why Donald Rumsfeld’s suggestion that we should “Announce that whatever new approach the U.S. decides on, the U.S. is doing so on a trial basis.”ï¿½ It’s not a commitment, and we can easily change our minds.
This letters shows that such a the Bush administration had a pathological reluctance to change it’s mind on Iraq policy because it would say to the world that we might have lost. Changing your strategy is the same as admitting, “If we had not changed strategy and tactics, we would have lost this war.”ï¿½
America doesn’t change its mind! In its march for freedom, America is the only country seeking the pure good ï¿½ indeed, the philosophical “Good”ï¿½ ï¿½ for all humankind. Our goals are just, and so our methods must also be just and efficient.
Put simply, the Bush administration was so scared of the “L”ï¿½ word having to cross its collective lips that it was barreling ahead on its original plan, not looking left, not looking right, because “to move to another course”ï¿½ is the same as “losing”ï¿½: “This [labeling our new strategy a “ï¿½trial’] will give us the ability to readjust and move to another course, if necessary, and therefore not “ï¿½lose.'”ï¿½
We don’t lose if we don’t say the L word. We’re changing tactics not because we’re losing using these present tactics, but because we want that nice new coffee pot for Condi’s office.
We will leave Iraq on our terms ï¿½ as victors, as liberators! ï¿½ no matter how many linguistic contortions we have to go through to do so.