To the Editor
That an appropriately matched adversary can be invoked to neutralize any conceivable power in the physical or geopolitical realms has been clear since 911. The worlds mightiest armed force, for all its formidable size, commands little authority if the enemy has no targetable location, and if getting killed is actually part of the battle plan of its soldiers.
Children at play have the magical ability to re-invent games they are not winning. Governments also have this power, since they create the political world, as children do, out of nothing, and make it into whatever stories they are able to imagine. So we arent surprised that suddenly the threat of invisible assassins that disrupts the sleep of our president has been artfully morphed into a giant, plastic Bigboy the shape of the evil dictator Saddam Hussein, a destructible object with calculable bombing coordinates. The new game is a standard western movie with an incorruptible lawman, a standard-issue villain and a predictable outcome.
This week, as the Bush administration begins to look increasingly like the last kids on the block to put away their cowboy suits and grow up, Im pleased to note that a third antidote exists for our massive firepower and the mentality which wields it: the encounter with maturity.
Reflecting the war-weariness of Europeans generally, the French UN Ambassador has put forth a condescending argument aimed at his best guess as to the probable mindset of our Texas president. As if confronting an adolescent punk in the prelude to some stupid barroom brawl, he suggested that Mr. Bush had already won his fight. Translated into cowboy lingo, it would sound something like this: Me and the boys are sure impressed by the size of yore shooter there Mr. Bush. Everybody in the bar, includin Oilcan Saddam over there, is real scared of you. Nobody wants to take you on, and for sure nobody is gonna try no funny business as long as a tough guy like you is sheriff. So considerin that even John Wayne never hit nobody after they had already gone down to humiliatin defeat, we all suggest that you hitch up yore pants and go on home to yore adorin wife.
As embarrassing as it must be, following a shameless display of bullying and bribery, for Cowboy George and his terrified buckaroos to stand down and re-think their lives, many of us feel that such pain often accompanies the experience of becoming adults, and that in the long run it will be good for them. If it is any help, we too are embarrassed for them, and sincerely hope that they come to some recognition that this destructive acting-out is going to make them look even sillier and even nastier to just about everybody in the world.