By Todd Stadler · Friday, January 17, 2003 3:37am
If you ask me, this whole reality TV thing has gotten way out of control.
I mean, it's all good and well that Peter Funt is riding his father Alan's coattails by showing us all the humor inherent in phony extra airport security measures (ha ha ha, kids, but don't try it yourself or you'll end up in airport jail).
But when Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says that the failure of U.N. arms inspectors to find weapons of mass destruction "could be evidence, in and of itself, of Iraq's noncooperation," you suddenly realize that, okay, it's all a joke, then, and George Bush isn't really the president, and okay, now this all makes sense, and where are all the hidden cameras, oh there they are, all over the malls and traffic signals and supermarkets and elevators and dressing rooms and sure, that's funny, but please stop the joke I want to know who the real president is and stop it please stop it this isn't funny anymore please please stop.
I mean, if this isn't all a joke, then why am I laughing so very very hard? Oh wait, I'm crying.
But enough about me. This has never been about me.
This has always been about tracking down and finding Osama bin Laden.
I'm sorry, about stopping the terrorist network that bin Laden led.
Check that, I mean about bringing peace and freedom to the country terrorized by the organization that was friendly to the network that bin Laden led.
No, scratch all that. This has always been about Iraq. Iraq has always been the problem here.
We have always been at war with Iraq. Ever since they uh ... um ... did that thing they did that made us realize that we should go to war with them. Again. Or once again have remained at war with them. Iraq. Ahem.
Look, I'm no fool. I realize Iraq's run by a truly despicable tyrant with a history for terrorizing his neighbors. And I'd be more than happy if Saddam Hussein left or was forced out of office.
But I'm not sure that's our job. After all, I'd be more than happy if Bush left or was forced out of office, too, but you don't see me massing a quarter of a million troops on the Whitehouse lawn and saying "oh, but I don't have a timetable for using them!"
I have yet to find anybody who can tell me why why oh please just answer the question why we ever started focusing on Iraq.
Okay, anybody who wants us to go to war, that is. Those who don't want us to go to war have lots of reasons ? Bush has a personal vendetta against Saddam ("he tried to kill my dad, you know"), Bush is trying to distract us from our failure in Afghanistan, Bush is trying to control the country with the second largest known oil reserves, etc.
Of course, I'd like to think that the burden of proof for why we should make war on Iraq lies not with the peaceniks but with those whose plan, you know, involves billions of dollars of spending and thousands (or more) of dead people, no small chunk of which will likely be your friends and neighbors in the military.
But the best I've gotten so far is that there exists some secret evidence that the administration can't tell us about but which neatly explains everything.
Including, one supposes, the existence of an illegal weapons program and maybe what really happened to the Mayans.
But the story is that Iraq has illegal weapons. So we advocate for weapons inspectors to be sent in to prove that they have illegal weapons, all the while touting that the burden is on Iraq to prove that they don't have illegal weapons.
And then, when Iraq fails to prove that they don't have weapons (never mind that we thus far have failed to prove that they do), we say it doesn't matter anyhow, because we already know that they do ha ha it was all a dirty trick.
How do we know? Why, our deus ex machina secret evidence tells us so! Oh, but you can't see it. It's secret.
So eventually we'll go to war and we'll bomb the expletive out of them, but not without sending some, what, several hundred or thousand Americans to die along with them, of course.
And when a mother, stricken with grief because her son has died while serving in Gulf War II, cries out, "Why? Why? Why did my son have to die?" is the government going to say, "We could tell you, but we'd have to kill you. Sorry about your son and all"?!
Or maybe those whose sons and husbands and fathers died get to be let in on the secret, hmm? What a special treat.
You know, when I get all worked up like I clearly am now, I find solace in just one place, and that is the White House press briefings page.
Though it may contain many ideas which make me want to explode, at least I can point to it and say, "here is some apparently unfiltered information that President Bush actually wants to share with me," although, of course, it is all very filtered, through the lips of Grima, I mean Ari Fleischer.
Let us marvel together at the transcript of a recent press briefing, shall we?
Q: Can we presume that the President is very happy that Mr. Blix says there is no smoking gun in the search for weapons in Iraq?
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, the problem with guns that are hidden is you can't see their smoke. And so we will still await to see what the inspectors find in Iraq and what events in Iraq lead to. The report that we understand was conveyed in the meeting up in New York this morning said that the work of the inspectors is still underway, they continue to gather information. And the report also cited a number of concerns and a number of problems in what Iraq has been doing.
Q: But it wouldn't be disappointing, would it, if there were no weapons there?
MR. FLEISCHER: We know for a fact that there are weapons there. And so ? the inspectors also went on ?
Q: What's the search all about if you know it so factually?
I'd like to think that Ari Fleischer has fundamentally altered the way English speakers think about their idioms involving smoking guns. It's not that we're looking for the smoke coming from the gun that shot somebody ? no no no!
The guns are hidden, and so is the smoke! And for that matter, nobody's been shot! Of course. So, um, what are we doing again?
Q: The heart of the problem is there is a lack of confidence in anybody speaking the truth there, isn't that ...
MR. FLEISCHER: Are you accusing the inspectors of not speaking the truth when they say that it's not assured?
Q: No, I think they're speaking the truth, and the country won't accept it.
MR. FLEISCHER: So when they say the absence of the particular item is not assured, you accept that as the truth. You agree with the President. I'm very proud.
Q: I mean, the point is, wouldn't you be happy if there were no weapons there?
MR. FLEISCHER: There would be nothing that would make the President happier than there being no weapons in Iraq. And the best way to make certain that there are no weapons in Iraq is for Saddam Hussein to disarm himself of the weapons he has.
Wow! My head's spinning! Along those lines, the best way to prove that there is no God is to have God come down and tell us he does not exist. Ipso facto, presto change-o.
I conclude this entry with a fun application you can try at home.
- First, you have to get yourself beat up by someone (we'll call him Person A) who doesn't like you. I leave this to your clevertude.
- Next, find a person (Person B), who also doesn't like you, and who knows Person A, but isn't noticeably good friends with him.
- Walk up to Person B and tell him that you heard he was going to throw a rock at you.
- Ignore any taunts he makes about the black eye you got from Person A and internalize them as proof that he is in cahoots with Person A.
- When Person B protests that he wasn't planning on hitting you with a rock, ask him why he has a rock in his back pocket.
- When he protests that he doesn't have a rock in his back pocket, tell him that he won't then mind if you stick your hands in his pockets.
- When he tells you to get the freak out of his pants, take him to the police station and inform them of Person B's plan to hit you with a rock, and suggest that they look in his pants pockets for proof.
- When the police find no rock, wonder to yourself if they are also not in cahoots with Persons A and B.
- Then declare to the police and Person B that it doesn't matter if a rock cannot be found on Person B's person, as rocks are very easy to hide, and the mere fact that Person B has not produced a rock (as evidence of his plan to hit you with same) proves that Person B is hiding the rock he plans to hit you with.
- While they are still trying to process your logic, pounce upon Person B and punch the living snot out of him.
- As the police are hauling you off to a jail cell, explain that it was all an object lesson, and ask if they realize that they're being used as tools of The Man.