Saddam Hussein’s chess game with the Bush family is down to its last move. Unfortunately, the Bush family isn’t playing chess… they’re playing cowboy diplomacy. For what seems like years now (it’s actually months, I think), Bush has been Dirty Harry – his gun pointed at the bad guy’s temple – saying, “Give me an excuse! Make my day!”
For those unfamiliar with macho American movies, Dirty Harry desperately wants to blow the bad guy’s brains out, but needs an excuse. He’ll get in big trouble if he shoots the guy without provocation. Saddam has been denying this Dirty Harry his excuse. He has – albeit reluctantly – backed down to every ultimatum. And Dirty Georgie can’t stand it.
So tonight, George got on TV to change roles. Instead of Dirty Harry he now sounds like a B-movie sheriff saying, “You’ve got until sundown to get out of town.” Actually, the ultimatum was to leave Iraq within 48 hours, which is the same kind of cowboy diplomacy. War is starting to look hopelessly inevitable.
Only a very small number of people worldwide want this war. Try as we might, the rest of us haven’t been able to stop it. Millions of us have marched in cities around the world, but that hasn’t stopped it. The governments of France, Russia, Germany, and countless other countries haven’t stopped it. The Pope and every other praying Catholic in the world haven’t stopped it. The UN Security Council could TRY to stop it, but the Americans would just veto anything they proposed. Unfortunately, the only person left who can stop this war is as crazy and power-mad as the wackos in Washington: Saddam Hussein.
To save the world from war, this would be my appeal to Saddam Hussein:
Mr. Saddam Hussein:
Our emperor wants you dead. In the process, he wants to turn what was once a prosperous, modern country – your country – into a wasteland of death and rubble. He’ll do this with a rain of bombs, cruise missiles, MOABs, daisy-cutters, and probably a few new goodies never seen before.
Once they kill you and destroy your country, his armies will rule it as a conquered power until they can install their hand-picked puppet dictator. Your oil will be plundered by American corporations to pay other American corporations to rebuild all the facilities destroyed by the American military. Finally, long after you’re gone, they’ll write the history books to remember you as an evil dictator, a despot who tortured and poisoned his people.
Saddam, you seem to be a rather smart guy, and you also seem to be sensitive as to how you’re portrayed in the history books. So you really shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss your other option: You could round up your sons, get on a plane, and fly off to whatever country will take you. You get to live. Your people get to live. Nobody gets bombed, nobody gets shot, nobody gets gassed, nobody has to die. The beautiful city of Baghdad remains standing. Iraq falls under the jurisdiction of the UN, which oversees a multilateral effort to build a new government. Wouldn’t this be better than being dead and having your destroyed country ruled by the American military?
Resigning would be an act of the gracious statesman you claim to be. The entire world would revel in the selflessness of such an act. People will come to Baghdad hundreds of years from now, and they will remember YOU as the person who kept the city from being destroyed by war. This ultimate act of redemption will be remembered long after your prior transgressions have been forgotten. The history books will remember you as a leader who – when it mattered most – put his people’s interest before his own self-interest. And you don’t even have to be taken prisoner! All you have to do is leave the country!
But here’s the part I think you’ll really like: If you hand over your reigns of power to the UN, all of Bush’s armies will be left standing out there in the desert with no excuse to attack. This would frustrate and humiliate the warmongers to no end.
See, Saddam, there’s something you need to understand about the type of Americans you’re dealing with here. They like old Western movies, the kind that end with the “bad guy” getting shot. They hate it when the bad guy says “Don’t shoot! I surrender!” There’s no closure in that…. only jail time, full-jury trials, and appeals.
They’re only happy with endings where the bad guy’s dead, and you’re the bad guy to them right now. They want to parade through Washington with your head on a spear (figuratively speaking, of course). You can deny them what they want – this consummation of bloodlust – by packing up and leaving town. This will humiliate the cowboys and force them to put their guns away. They might get “regime change” as they say they want, but they’ll be deprived of the power and plunder they’re REALLY looking for.
So please, Saddam, think again about giving in to George’s ultimatum. It’s the best thing for you, the best thing for your country, the best thing for the world, and even the best thing for our country. Your capitulation for the sake of peace will be enshrined as one of history’s kindest acts, and it’s the only way left to stop these international thugs.
La Crosse, WI