The Rip Post


COMFORT FROM SIR REAL

by Rip Rense

           Everything has overwhelmed me, so once again I put in a call to my old friend, Sir Loquacious Real.
        "Sir Real," I said. "I can't keep up anymore."
        "Who can?" said Sir Real. "Last Saturday, the space shuttle, Columbia, turned into a flying Texas barbecue. Then Large Intestine Powell tells the United Nations that the United States is going to unite 500 missiles per day with Iraq. Well, make that the U.S.-led coalition of nations. You know, such super-powers as um, Portugal. The Czech Republic. Poland. Denmark. Spain. Yessir. Couldn't invade without 'em."
        "This all must be very tough on the president," I offered.
        "Pronouncing 'nuclear' correctly is tough on the president. He couldn't even manage it for the State of the Confederacy---er, Union address."
        "Come on. Lots of people say 'nuke-you-luhr.'"
        "My theory," said Sir Real, "is that he says nuke-you-luhr because he wants to nuke-you."
        "Oh, now now. . ."
        "Read about it! He practically wants to reclassify nuclear weapons as conventional.  Do your homework! He has decided they can be used 'pre-emptively,' which I believe is what we used to call 'first strike' in the Cold War. They keep talking about using 'bunker busters' when they conquer Iraq."
        "That's surreal."
        "No," he said. "I am."
        "Bunker busters. Sounds like something you buy  for the Fourth of July."
        "Buster Keaton would be horrified," said Sir Real. "They only go 20 feet deep! They throw off enough radioactive cooties to poison Peoria! And even if they hit a stash of chemical or biological weapons, they'll spread that crud like an atomic sneeze, all over creation. Or whatever is left of it."   
        "Can we change the subject? This is too damned scary."
        "What shall we change it to? Those extraordinary people who were brave enough to fly into space, only to be let down by NASA?"
        "What do you mean, 'let down?'"
        "NASA learned nothing from the Challenger accident, apparently. Do your homework, Rense! Then you won't have to bother me so much. Five NASA experts warned repeatedly that the shuttle program was terribly unsafe, and they were all fired! An engineer wrote a warning letter to Bush! And guess who runs NASA! Why, it's one of Dick Cheney's pals, someone Dick once tabbed to be hatchet man on the Pentagon budget. Once again, an executive puts his employees' welfare paramount! Heh, heh."
       "Well, it's very sad. Every time I see the flags at half-staff, I feel very disturbed."
        "You can stop feeling disturbed after Wednesday," said Sir Real."The president did not see fit to give the seven Columbia astronauts a full week of flags at half-staff."
        "Yes, I thought that was strange."
        "Strange is a starting point!" said Sir Real. "Bush couldn't have the country preoccupied with astronauts turned into Burger Bits! He's got a war to manufacture! An appointment with destiny! So he cut the flag thing off after four days---that's right, just in time for Large Intestine Powell's U.N. speech! It doesn't even work out to one half-staff flag day per astronaut!"
        "You're awfully cynical."
        "I merely state facts. Let's look at some more. There is zero evidence that Saddam Hussein has any connection to Al-Qaeda, but let's assume he does! Let's assume he is having unprotected homosexual relations with Osama right now, okay? Well, guess what Bush wants to do for the great "evildoer," as he loves to call Saddam? Prosecute him? Kill him? Or worse---tie him up and leave him alone with Diane Sawyer? Nah---Bush offered Saddam asylum! That's right, the chief Iraqi moustache can go to Saudi Arabia and live in a low-rent palace for the rest of his life! Hot and cold running camels. 'Saddam Hussein, your nation has just been conquered by the USA! What are you going to do now?' 'I'm going to Disneyland!'"
        "That's surreal."
        "No, I am."
        "But what," I said, "about protecting our country? Isn't that what the president is doing?"
        "Police forces, border patrols, fire departments across the nation are losing countless millions of dollars! Why? Because of the mutant tax cut for the rich and nasty! Less tax revenue equals less money for public services. It's all going to the military."
        "Well, that's why he's invading Iraq, right? To get the oil, and pump up the economy?"
        "Pump up the corpse-or-ations, you mean!" said Sir Real.
        "But Bush says that what's good for corporations is good for the economy, right? Won't it all trickle down to the middle class and below?"
        "I can give you an answer to that in two words, Rense:
En Ron. As for protecting the country, doesn't anyone get the logic that if you bomb the Shiite out of a Muslim nation or two, that Muslims---gee whiz, including terrorists---will trip over themselves to kill westerners?"
        "But--but Saddam does have weapons of mass destruc- tion, right?"
        "All intelligence reports say that he is nowhere near as powerful as during the Gulf War, when he tried to provoke Israel with a few Crud missiles, killing. . .dozens. Weapons of half-assed destruction! And let's ask ourselves why he wants weapons of mass destruction---"
        "To gas his own people?"
        "That's one of those rumors that Bush loves. A former CIA agent reported just the other day that the gassing of the Kurds in the north of Iraq, years ago, might well have been carried out by Iran! Or the Kurds might have been caught in the fatal flatulence of the Iran-Iraq war. There is no evidence that Saddam did it!"
        "Sir Real! I can't believe this. You are suggesting that Saddam is innocent?"
        "Nothing of the kind. He is as foul and vile and insane and fiendish as. . .well, a dozen or more other dictators in the world, who routinely sanction mass killing, rape, starvation, torture of their populations. Funny that Bush singles out Saddam, eh? Could it have something to do with oil?"
        "But why does Saddam want weapons of mass destruction, then? For a hobby?"
        "Let me ask you something, Rense. If you were an megalomaniacal dictator of a tiny country, and right next door was a country you hated that had a rumored 200---two hundred---nuclear bombs, and that country hated you, too, wouldn't you want some nukes, too?"
        "Israel has 200 nuclear bombs?"
        "Mordechai Vanunu was imprisoned 17 years ago for blowing the lid off of Israel's weapons program. Since that time, Israel is believed to have built about 200 bombs."
        "Wow. And here I called you for some comfort."
        "If you want comfort," said Sir Real, "I suggest you are most likely to find it inside a bottle marked, 'Southern.'"

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