Your Face, Your Holiness
April 16, 2003
By Kevin Dawson
Gloat much, America?
What fun those two good Catholic boys Bill O'Reilly and
Sean Hannity must be having asking the Pope, "Why can't you
just admit you were wrong?"
The evidence certainly speaks for itself. Jubilation. Dancing
in the streets. Looting. Remarkably similar to the scenes
of a week earlier, only then the Iraqis were waving photos
of Saddam Hussein. Moral: pledge your loyalties to whoever
has their guns pointed at you.
Speaking of the looting, Donald Rumsfeld delivered himself
of the following wisdom, which the New York Times honored
as its April 12 Quote for the Day: "It's untidy. And freedom's
untidy. And free people are free to make mistakes and commit
crimes and do bad things." I didn't know "freedom" meant the
liberty to knock over a Best Buy, did you? Presumably the
only problem with September 11 is that the Al Qaeda terrorists
weren't really acting on their own free will, otherwise the
devastation could be reclassified as so much boys-will-be-boys
horseplay. Right, Rummy?
I didn't catch the president's address to the Iraqi people
after the liberation. All I saw was a newspaper photo of him
speaking on television, with some Arabic subtitles which were
translated to me as saying: "Look, I didn't want it to come
to this. No sane person wants war. That's why I patiently
waited twenty whole minutes for weapons inspections to take
place. Is it my fault Hans Blix couldn't find his own ass
in a mirror? As my Laura always says, 'Never send a man to
look for anything.' Anyway, have you folks ever heard about
Ever heard the famous story about stage comedian Bert Lahr?
In 1939 he was co-starring with Ethel Merman in a musical
called "DuBarry Was a Lady," and all through rehearsals
he complained to his agent, "She's got the whole show. I've
got nothing." The agent kept assuring Lahr, "Stop worrying,
Bert. You're going to be great." On opening night, the show
ended, and Lahr was a success, earning rave reviews equal
to Merman's. The agent appeared in Lahr's dressing room: "What
did I tell you?" Lahr merely replied, "Yeah, but what about
So what about next year? After the apparent triumph of "Operation
Shooting Fish in a Barrel," does the U.S. continue its newfound
quest to liberate oppressed peoples? Condoleeza Rice has hinted
at the possible compilation of a grocery list of evil dictators
to deal with after Iraq's reconstruction is well underway
(courtesy of the fine folk of Halliburton - by merest coincidence,
Vice President Cheney's alma mater). Gee, if it only took
three weeks to bring down Saddam Hussein, George Wonderful
Bush should be able to have the whole world in his hands by,
say, election time next year. It would be a shame to let all
this crusader momentum we've got worked up just fizzle out
like the Soviet Union (which toppled sans bloodshed, thank
you). Besides, a perpetual "at war" condition would keep the
president safe from criticism.
Speaking of good manners, would it be in terribly poor taste
to speculate whether Osama bin Laden (remember him?) is holed
up somewhere safe and sound and laughing his head off because
- according to polls - at least half the population of this
country has decided that Saddam Hussein had at least something
to do with September 11 since he didn't send President Bush
a sympathy card?
Or maybe we don't need to do anything right now except savor
the triumph of American Might, join in on the nyah-nyah-nyah
sessions the antiwar protesters - including, presumably, the
Pope - have been enduring lately, and wonder who's going to
play Jessica Lynch in the inevitable TV movie of her story.
As for the troops, they needn't fear the unfriendly reception
the Vietnam vets got when they came home. Their grateful fellow
Americans will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them... in
the unemployment line.