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Feature Story April 1, 2004
Punish the Pundits!
By John Dolan Browse author Email
Page 5 of 5
All this talk about killing has gotten Angelo so excited that he is, at last, ready to say simply what he's talking about: invading Iraq as soon as possible and staging a lot of public killings there, nice and public and bloody and Roman, the way he likes them. His language is so shriekingly mad that no parody could match the original. Here, then, is the climactic, and I do mean climactic, auto-erotic hanging scene with which Angelo concludes his call for an invasion:

"It is important that U.S. forces invade Iraq with the stated objective of hanging Saddam and whoever we judge to have been too close to him. Once those close to him realize that this is going to happen and cannot be stopped, they will kill one another, each trying to demonstrate that he was farther from the tyrant than anyone else. But America's reputation for bluff and for half measures is so entrenched that the invasion will have to make progress greater than in the Gulf War in order for this to happen. At this point, whether or not Saddam himself falls into U.S. hands alive along with his subordinates, it is essential that all be denounced, tried, and hanged on one charge only: having made war on America, on their own people, and on their neighbors. The list of people executed should follow the party-government's organization chart as much as possible. It is equally essential that everyone who hears of the event be certain that something even more drastic would follow the recrudescence of such a regime. All this should happen as quickly as possible."

Angelo is clearly in a sweat at this point, muttering, "kill...quickly...hurry...all of them..." Forced to deal with the cavils of the squeamish, he mentions that Iraq will no doubt implode into ethnic warfare once Saddam is hanged, but makes a show of truly Roman indifference to the fate of the Iraqis in this period of civil war: "How they [the Iraqis] may govern themselves, deal with one another and with their neighbors, is no business of ours. What happens in Iraq is simply not as important to us as the internal developments of Germany and Japan were. It is enough that the Iraqis know that we would be ready to defend whatever interest of ours they might threaten. Prestige is a reputation for effective action in one's own interest. We would have re-earned our prestige, and hence our right to our peace."

Let's do a quick post-invasion check here. How about prestige? Well, let's, March 30, 2004, more than a year after the Baathist regime was overthrown, the news from Iraq was that another five American soldiers were killed, and eight foreign civilians were massacred in their cars. The lasting image of the day's news was the burnt corpse of a Western splayed out like a barbecued calf, as Iraqis poked it with sticks. I think it's safe to say that since the invasion, we have not "re-earned our prestige, and hence our right to peace."

It does not seem to have occurred to Angelo that there might be problems for the American GIs (and an increasing number of US civilians) stuck in a dissolving Iraq. Little niggling glitches such as being shot, bombed or mortared.

And it definitely did not occur to him that the spectacle of American troops being picked off one a day -- or three a day, or five a day -- by attackers they can't even identify, let alone catch, might not actually do much to help us "re-earn our prestige, and hence our right to peace."

As for the fact that terrorism is up, not down since the invasion of Iraq, it's difficult even to imagine Angelo's answer for that one. Because Saddam's in prison, his officials are dead or captured, and who else would want to hurt us? It couldn't possibly be that "distraction," Al Qaeda, could it, Angelo? Uh...Angelo? You there?

Angelo's a hard man to find these days. He didn't respond to our emails. Maybe you, readers, can help us find him, and suggest some ways to bring the world of consequences to him. In the meantime, send us your nominees. Let's help these folks take responsibility. They'll thank us some day.

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