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The Bushwald Plan for Conquering Iraq Without Bloodshed
February 26, 2003
By Art Bushwald

Today's biggest news is the stand-off with Iraq, one of the three members of the dubious "Axis of Evil". According to the Dubya administration, the Iraqi leader, the bloodthirsty tyrant Saddam Hussein, has (or will have, at some point in the murky future) the ability to launch weapons of mass destruction against the United States. If we don't take immediate action against this threat, we are told, Saddam could wipe us off the map. In the meantime, we were advised by our government to buy duct tape and plastic sheeting to protect the interiors of our homes from a chemical or biological attack that may or may not be originating from Baghdad.

Actually, this type of sensationalism is nothing new. The original "duct and cover" age was the 1950s and early 1960s, and the boogeyman back in those days was not an Iraqi from the Axis of Evil but a Russian from the Evil Empire. In those days, schoolchildren watched videos of a cute little turtle telling them to get under their desks ("duck") and hide ("cover") should the Crazy Cossack ever decide to push the proverbial button.

Of course, that scenario never materialized. In fact, not only did it not materialize, but the Evil Empire itself eventually disintegrated into its constituent republics.

To hear conservatives tell it, US president Ronald Reagan singlehandedly brought down this evil nemisis merely by outspending it on defense. At first glance, this may seem like a simplistic explanation of a complex situation, but after long consideration, I thought, what if the conservatives are right? What if all it takes to bring down evil enemies is to outspend them on defense?

Thus, after more thought I have decided to propose the Bushwald Plan for Conquering Iraq Without Bloodshed. It would work something like this:

First, we would have to find an intermediary, someone who has been trusted by both sides, to arrange for a friendly game of High Stakes Defense Spending between Dubya and Saddam. I think there are two obvious choices.

One is Vice President Dick Cheney. According to the Financial Times of London, Mr. Cheney would be a natural because his company, Halliburton, was instrumental in helping to refurbish Saddam's oil fields in 1998 despite the general economic sanctions against the Iraqi dictator, so Saddam owes the vice president a return favor.

The problem with Cheney, though, is that he is a very busy man. When you consider how much time he spends just to run the shadow government, chair secret energy meetings, attend discreet fundraising events, and keep one step ahead of the federal marshals who want to serve him with a subpoena about the aforementioned secret energy meetings, there just wouldn't be enough time in the day for him to pencil in an appointment with a former client.

The second choice would be Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. As you may recall, Mr. Rumsfeld was special envoy to Iraq under Reagan, and met with the Iraqi strongman to extend the hand of friendship between our two countries and show support for Iraq's determination to stop the Iranian Revolution in its tracks.

I can just imagine that a reunion between Rumsfeld and Saddam would be quite a heartwarming event for both men.

Saddam (extending his hand): Rumsfeld, you desert scorpion! Haven't seen you in a long time! Allah, it must be, what, 20 years since you last came to offer me some weapons of mass destruction?

Rumsfeld: Yeah, it's been a while.

Saddam (bringing out old photo showing the two shaking hands in 1983): You old son of a jackal, you! Except for a little less hair, you haven't changed a bit!

Rumsfeld: And neither have you, Saddam! (Gives Saddam a big bear hug). Look, Saddam, I've got a favor to ask you.

Saddam: Sure, anything, you old hyena, you!

Rumsfeld: Dubya's looking for an opponent for a friendly game of High Stakes Defense Poker. Are you up to it? It would be played at the Lazy W Saloon in Crawford, Texas.

Saddam: Texas, huh? How do I know that you won't arrest me if I set foot in your country?

Rumsfeld: I can guarantee that you will be extended the same courtesies that the bin Laden family were given when they were stuck in the US after September 11.

Saddam: You mean if my crazy son decides to launch some sort of terrorist attack, you'll let me get my butt out of your country pronto?

Rumsfeld: We give you our word.

Saddam: OK, I'm in!

Rumsfeld: One condition, though -- you have to let Dubya wear the white hat! This is the photo-op of the century, and Dubya wouldn't be caught dead wearing a black hat!

Saddam: Agreed! I've always been partial to black, anyway.

So Saddam goes to Texas to play Dubya's favorite game at the Lazy W. The game goes something like this:

Saddam: I'll bid five old SCUD missiles, a half-dozen cannisters of unusable mustard gas, a battalion of dilapidated tanks, a gross of AK-47 rifles cannibalized for parts, and ten bombed out radar installations.

Dubya: I'll see your bid, and raise you one space-based missile shield, a hundred B-52s, ten destroyers, fifteen aricraft carriers, and 800 cruise missiles.

Saddam: You've busted me! I can't come anywhere near that bid!

Dubya: I win! I win! Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah! I win! You lose!

Saddam (severely dejected): OK, effendi, you win. I give up.

So that would be it. The Iraqi crisis would end peacefully, and once again Francis Fukuyama could claim that history has officially ended and humanity could now live in peace and harmony forever and ever.

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