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Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
April 15, 2003
By Lisa Walsh Thomas

Lottery profits strongly indicate that being a quick millionaire is at the top of many, many people's Christmas wish lists. Don't despair over the short list of lottery millionaires; there are other ways to get your bags of shiny beads. Each, however, tends to be problematic.

You can work yourself to death for a few decades and save to find good investment counseling and run into the good-luck fairy. Problem is that the investment counseling may fall in a bear market, in which case the good-luck fairy is very adept at morphing into the OOPS-fairy.

Or you can inherit a million. Problem is that you have to wait for someone to die, and that's considered tacky. You either have to face genuine emotional pain or learn how to fake it pretty well.

Or you can be born superbly intelligent and creative. That's the category into which most millionaires I've known seem to fit. Problem is that you've already been born, and contrary to a lot of religious beliefs, I don't personally believe you're likely to go through it again.

OR - you can find something desperately needed by the current global head honcho. According to cave-age economics, what's most needed is most valued. This old economic approach works best if you are an Iraqi, currently in Iraq (being careful around all that depleted uranium Uncle Sam has left behind), and have a hotline to someone with a good connect to said head honcho.

How many people can put a price tag on the value of an Iraqi providing information that "proves" the existence of WMD (weapons of mass destruction)? There are some in Washington who might sell their mothers' souls for such a find, as such a discovery is necessary to justify the streets littered with the bodies of dead kids and the U.S.' loss of prestige throughout the world.

The Anglo-American forces keep coming up with possible "finds" but each keeps getting shot down as fast as Colin Powell's evidence that Saddam was ready to blow the U.S. to bits. Whether by accident, misunderstanding, or sheer fraudulent play, they just don't work out. Then a few more days pass, and something else turns up. And hey, practice may not make perfect, but practice surely ups the ante for success.

In Kirkuk, at the same time that U.S. forces have bumped into some Thomas NYBD warheads that appear to possibly be tipped with chemicals, a former Iraqi has been freed from prison there, where he is telling the U.S. forces that he has evidence of Saddam's WMD. I have to wonder about the difference between his returning home to a life of poverty and being furnished with a house in Florida, pool, flag and all.

He probably can't get the cool million without actually producing the weapons, but the house might come with sworn testimony that they were there (before Syria nabbed them). We know how it goes: the best way to overcome a temptation is to yield to it.

No one to my knowledge has ever called the Iraqis stupid. A couple of days ago, Uncle Sam listed 55 Iraqi leaders who needed to be - what is it they say? - "taken out." A day later enters one of the 55, General Amer Hommoudi as-Saadi, who turned himself over to U.S. soldiers. Amer was Saddam's Scientific Advisor. May be that Amer decided Guantanamo beats the grave.

Starters don't indicate that Amer is going to get the house, much less the million, as he's told Germany's ZDF television that Iraq had none of the WMD (weapons of mass destruction) that Bush's God keeps insisting are there. (CNN's not making much of this announcement.) Still, we watch. A little encouragement from the CIA and a few other goon squads might make Amer remember something after all. And hey, the house in Florida isn't bad. We'll watch this one.

Out of 24 million Iraqis (before the Anglo-American forces narrowed the number) there are surely a few people willing to participate in a scavenger hunt by Bush and Rumsfield's rules. There is a vast desert between the available options.

It could be that Tommy Franks needs a little help in just stumbling across a barrel of tabun or sarin vials, with or without "made in the U.S.A." labels. A well-placed Iraqi, being the one to lead them there, would heap boatloads of credibility to the find.

And everything has its price.

We already know that these weapons must be found. Otherwise, however apathetic the people of the U.S. are, somebody is going to get fighting mad about all those kids who've had a leg torn off or watched their mother die screaming. If they don't care about that, they'll be truly pissed at Jessica's getting broken bones, all for naught. Worse, Bush won't have a chance in hell of making it to Mt. Rushmore. They have to be found, and they will be found.

And palms will be crossed with silver. They always are.

Lisa Walsh Thomas, a poet and former arts columnist, writes regularly for several liberal online journals. She can be reached at

"U.S. Tackles Anarchy; Iraqi Scientist Surrenders" by Khaled Yacoub Oweis (Reuters), Yahoo, April 12, 2003
CNN News, April 12, 2003

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