The election is Tuesday
, and I hear a lot of talk about how things are getting better in Iraq, and it's on the gilded path to something
, and that means Bush
is entitled to a second term. But you know what:
tomorrow the whole of of Iraq's resisting population will wake up, smack
their foreheads and change positions with the declaration, 'Hey, America, we understand now! You leveled our country's threadbare
and killed 40,000 of us out of a divine sense of concerned paternalism. We were too
chickenshit to make the sacrifice ourselves, so you justifiably manufactured erroneous pretext and did it for us! Praise
you more than Allah for your tough American belt-beat love! We'll stop killing you post-haste.'
Assume also that Iraq's multiplex of ideologically discordant
interest groups will enter into a grand convention with historical, sacrosanct
overtones. Representatives will sit down together and engineer a constitution that establishes a system of true, pluralistic
, democratic government. All will be satisfied with the document and all will feel it represents
Assume afterward Iraq will enter a new era of prosperity, financed by equitably
distributed oil revenues. Old traditions, repressive customs and religious
superstitions will fall by the wayside, understood by the new, jet-setting Iraq as archaic and the source of all their nation's past socioeconomic and political
difficulties (difficulties to put it mildly).
Assume in Firdos Square
will stand the statue of an ambiguous
American GI handing out chocolate
bars to ecstatic, hopeful children. It will be lovingly polished and wreathed daily by eager citizen
volunteers on a waiting list.
If all that happened, would it make the Bush Administration's decision
to go to war any less of a strategic mistake, would it be any less of an analytically underdeveloped professional snakeoil chemist's messianic
pipe dream? I'd say no. If a man bets his life savings on 32 black
and wins, he's still an idiot.
Here, I'll demonstrate
the concept with this here whimsical tale of intrigue, told in scintillating second person. Note the parallel
Three years ago, you were relaxing in the back seat of your limousine
, on your way to wherever. Your driver was new and a little inexperienced, but you hired him anyway because his dad had been your driver, and you thought it'd be novel
to create a dynasty
. After a few minutes of idly chit chatting with him about how many STRONG
values he had, and his tough-minded, John Wayne-esque common sensitude, you were attacked by a hulking, swampy-skinned man eating monster with big teeth
and all the scaly, terrifying trimmings you'd expect. The thing blitzed through the passenger window nearest you and took your arm off before retreating into it's hole across the ocean. All this happened too quickly for your driver
to react, but after 7 minutes he drove
you to the hospital and said something inspiring.
A few days later your driver activated the missile
launcher in your limousine trunk and sent one billion pounds of ordinance into the monster's hole across the ocean
. The bombs didn't quite kill
the monster, but dismembered parts of it's body that would take a while to grow back, and you thought that was pretty cool. You approved of your limousine
driver like you'd rarely approved of others.
Even the other chauffeurs
competing for your business couldn't help but admire your driver's steadfast
ability to knee-jerk.
In the months following the incident, you slowly learned how to live again, and how to function without a left arm. However, you remained justifiably
paranoid about the prospect of another limb-rending attack. So, when your driver began flail hysterically behind the wheel, warning you earnestly that ANOTHER
monster had you in it's sights, he had your absolute attention
Driving you to work one day, he passed a photograph
through the window separating him from your cabin
. 'This is the guy, he's the one who wants to take you out. And he is absolutely capable. He's also in cahoots with the monster who took
off your arm. Bear in mind though, I'm just implying this, because I need to be able to backtrack
on it down the line when you realize
none of it is remotely true.'
You examined the picture
critically. It was a picture of a small crippled mouse riding an inner-tube in a sea of oil, brandishing a B.B gun with all the swaggering machismo
a mouse cripple in his situation could muster.
In the sea floated a buoy affixed with a sign that read, 'Dear Mouse, this oil is for the children's medicine. KEEP OUT
. Thanks, The U.N.'
You said 'Are you sure that's the monster's associate, capable of inflicting equal
or greater damage? From my vantage he looks like a small, insignificant
mouse cripple with a king's hoarde of natural resources that he's denied access to by the world community.'
Your chauffeur turned to face you, and furrowed his gray-splattered eyebrows
in such a way that they looked simultaneously grizzled
, wise, and empathetic, 'Mushroom
clouds are certainly an amazing thing. How would you like to see one sprout, ON YOUR FACE!? That's what you're in for if we don't get this mouse before he develops nuclear
'Well them I'm down!' you shouted, 'Let's do some warring!'
'Ho-yah! I concur!' grunted a microphone
wielding man in the seat next to you, hoisting a backpack stuffed with an inflatable cameraman onto his bent knees
. The press
'How'd you get in here?' you jerk
back a little like a man in an electric chair
'Oh, I invited him!' shouted your chauffeur
over the increasingly loud engine hum. 'He'll show the world how you're like one of those tough young bopper
s who Saved The World (tm) during the 1940s. We're thinking of surgically affixing a hardscrabble
five O' clock shadow to your face. What do you think, Pressy?'
'I'm going to be like like Edward R. Murrow
,' yipped the newsman in beaming oblivion, 'But with pomade
'Yes you are,' agreed your driver, 'And this is going to be a war that values the sanctity of human life like precious Jesus
on earth. You know that, right?'
So sayethed the newsman.'Yessir. Strength, pride, solemn
whathaveyou, got it. Do I get an army hat?'
Answered your driver, 'I need your newscasts to be interceded with at least two dozen patriotic
country songs every five minutes, then the hat is yours. I'll even include some dapper insignia if you can convince Toby Keith
to do one about me, and the way that I'm reminiscent of John Wayne
's STREGNTH. My giant belt buckle is a lot like a crotch
'I'm a crusading investigative journalist! I can do it!'
At this point you began to feel moderately uncomfortable, surrounded by absolute screeching batshit
lunatics, even; but before you could voice it, you felt the limo
come to a metal-on-metal halt.
'We're here!' shouted your driver through the limo's humid, nervy
atmosphere-- a veritable forest of freefalling goosepimple
The newsman squealed like a kid on a merry
go round, bouncing up and down while working the release clasp on his inflatable cameraman backpack.
He threw the bag to the cabin floor, where it began to hiss and balloon, and then the newsman suddenly dissolved into a viscous
wax that slithered through the porthole in the limo's privacy window, into the passenger seat-- where the goop
rematerialized into the cap-toothed reporter, making a sound like hydrogen peroxide sizzle.
Quickly afterward, the cameraman was fully inflated, sticking his lens through the privacy window, getting your driver's vantage. Video
screens dropped from the ceiling above you in a mechanical ballet
. One displayed the feed being broadcast by the cameraman, still more showed various exciting satellite overviews, and the rest brought you pundits with coordinated
messages of the day.
'This mouse is a monster I'm sure.'
'This mouse is a monster I'm sure.'
'This mouse is a monster I'm sure.'
Inches in front of your limo lay the oil
field, a dirty-honey expanse sprawling lustrously past the edge of the world. Your limousine's leather seats began to drool
. A camera fell from the ceiling and gave you a profile view of your driver.
He thrust his well-bred
chin up to god's feet and proclaimed
, 'I have a dream, that months ago you had a day that will live in INFAMY
, and I hold these truths to be self-evident that you gotta RESPECT YOSELF! HEY HEY! and in doing so TEAR DOWN this mouse-monster and his many walls!'
Charged by the mania of everything and inspired, you thought adoringly of Toby Kieth
, shouting 'Let's Roll!'
gravel land bridge stretched out to the center
of the oil sea
, connecting with a small island. The width of the bridge easily accommodated your limo. You rolled.
Quoth the newsman, seen face first on one of the screens, 'Now we've been informed by people very high up in the limousine driving administration
,' he paused, winked expressively and pointed toward the driver, 'that although the vile fiend we are attacking in the cause of UNFREE FREEDOM
is surrounded by innocent mice, all possible efforts will be made to ensure they remain unharmed. We have the technological know-how for this. We've also been assured
that this entire conflict will last a matter of minutes, as we know exactly where the BABY-MAULING BUTCHER
OF MONSTER MOUSE ISLAND is, and we can use the black ops
you've read about in Tom Clancy
novels to take him out cleanly, from distant, air conditioned safety
. Once this is accomplished we'll be able to dust our hands off and ride into the sunset like the magnificent heroes of spaghetti
lore that we are.'
You welled up briefly, thinking about how good a person you were, making sure to hurt the mouse innocents as unintentionally as possible
. They were just as much victims as you, after all. Lesser
beings maybe, considering their barbaric cultural practices. Considering also their tendency to waggle their forefingers obnoxiously while bleating sub-moronic slogan
s that highlighted the religious virtue of your death. But even slaughterhouse cows had rights! You didn't really look at the curious charred mouse skeletons littering the road
, covered in depleted uranium
The little mouse city was havoc; you ascertained that much immediately as your limo came to a bristling halt on it's outskirts. Frenzied mice scampered over one another in every direction trying to find a direction that didn't lead to you.
'Woo!' your driver hollered while at the same time managing to rustically balance a barleystalk across his lower lip
in a way that perfectly expressed the simple virtue
of Americana, 'The Motherfucker
is in there somewhere!'
Excitedly, he slammed his surgery
enhanced palm down on a large red
button positioned on the limousine dashboard's dead center. The vehicle's headlamps swung open and outward like doors
. Long, thin metallic barrels began to forebodingly extend from the space the lamps
had covered. Red stencil lettering on their sides read 'Precision Flamethrower
Delivery Mechanism'. Permanent marker
scrawl on one barrel read 'Bite off this,
Your driver grabbed
his crotch and floored it
The ride got awfully bumpy as your ride began to mow over mice. And their pained screams got awfully noisy as your twin flamethrower cannons
immolated about 5,000 of them. On one of the video screens, you saw a few of their burning skeletal
forms scamper onto the limosuine's front windshield. They left black gristle
marks as the inertia
from your driver's wild maneuvers slid them off.
Your driver began to reflect
on your progress, 'This is a good, strong, honest
Your stomach lurched as the limo hooked dramatically; a rapid succession of bumps
The newsman squealed some more,'This is spectacular, this is wonderful. Omigod it's like SEX, but romantic!'
You began to have second thoughts, you couldn't shake the nagging feeling you'd crossed some kind of threshold of humanity
, and you'd actually be held accountable for it at some point
. Your skin took on a nervous white pallor
. The newsman noticed.
!' sweaty and glowing, he shouted at you over explosions and dying, 'These are the ones who wanted to fight us! They are the BAD
'Oh!' You regained some color. Relieved, you continued to feel like a good person.
Toby Kieth played in the background
'You know I played semi-pro football a while
And know I just cannot help but smile
When we kill goddam mice who bite off our arms
You know I been all over this big world
And I think you're a naive little girl
Crying foul while I kill mice and munch on cigars
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh, look at my muscles they qualify me
To make wide-reaching decisions on global policy
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh, look at my belt buckle scream 'kick ass!'
I have god's honest rage in my thick walrus mustache
your limo driver is STREGNTH just like John Wayne !
tears fall from my eyes while I scream it so plain!
He's just like you, honest and common, morals morals precious children.....'
At the end of the day, there wasn't too much left
. Half of everything was blown
to shit. Everything else was covered in shit, because you'd blown up every branch of the Mouse Island Sanitation
Department. Your limo crept slowly through the wreckage now, and mice missing legs and arms and ears scuttle
d out of your way. Every now and again one of them would throw a grenade
'Foreign agitators, desperate hold-outs,' your driver and newsman muttered in unison every time it happened
. For a year.
In the madness of the conflict
your driver had actually captured the mouse monster, and now he sat screaming like a buffoon
in the trunk of your limousine, sealed inside a shoebox. Your driver had taken the opportunity to affix a sticker to your rear windshield
that read, 'We win. We rule. I declare now is the time for us to thrust our pelvises.'
You never found
the mouse monster's nuclear weapons, but your driver seemed unphased.
'It's ok,' he explained, gesticulating with sharp
, go-getting confidence, 'The weapons thing was secondary
. The real reason we came here was too bring these ignorant mice democracy. Good, strong democracy.'
'And how's that working out?' queried
Your driver glared at him for a moment before willing himself to look thoughtful
and optimistic, answering, 'Well, we're making good, strong honest progress, Pressy. In fact I'd call it decent, firm
Another grenade rocked your limo, and from a distance you could hear a choir
of squeaky mouse voices chanting, 'Death to the humans! Death the the humans! Mouse-Allah is great!'
And it was into about the third minute of that chanting that you glimpsed an expression of worry and confusion poking through your driver's facade
of godsent confidence. At that moment, half
of you realized what the other half refused to believe: The man
had no clue what the hell he was doing. Nobody
Another grenade rock
ed your limo and you began to accept it as the way things worked. You decided maybe things could work differently if you hired another driver.
But then a miracle
! The fumes from the mouse droppings that coated the city began to behave strangely. They swirled exotically and jetted in from points all over the city to meet at a point
just in front of your limo, where they began to coalesce
in a vortex
. As this body became denser, it's particulates began to take on a crystalline shape and luster
In an explosion of light and sherbet color, a tiny creature no bigger than a hand was formed. It had dove-white skin, a star-tipped wand that seemed a geyser for pretty
sparkles, and wings. Pinned to it's chest was a nametag that read 'The Democracy Fairy
'Hello!' it's voice was a girlish kazoo
, 'I am the democracy fairy! I am here to magically imbue these mice with a deep understanding
of the workings and necessities of civil civilization! Yes I am!'
She waved her wand and the mice stopped throwing grenades at you. She waved it again and the streets were clean
. She waved it again and the dead mice rose
. She waved it again and you were teleported from your limo to the middle of a verdant, rainbow
-lit pasture, hands joined in a circle with the mice, your driver, your newsman and that wacky
Mouse Monster, singing:
'Hey, let's get together
I'll be your vicious horde
teeming and chattering filth
and you'll be mine
We're good people
We're part of
Something big, something that
makes grandma voter turn
her head upward and purse
her lips and cry 'NO! NO!'
as she shakes her head in
'I WILL NOT HEAR IT'
defiance when she's told
by a million she's killing her grandkids
we'll cry for our heroism
and write songs where
our voices quaver at the
point where the mother
gravely lays a
saltwater soiled hand
on the flag-draped coffin
We're good people
It was beautiful. And to top it off you found a twenty dollar
bill on the floor, and the sweatheart
you'd let get away appeared in front of you and asked for your hand
And that's all fantastic
, and it's wonderful how things managed
to work out, but the question still remains:
Do you want
to let this jackass
drive you anywhere else ever again?