The first reaction on hearing that one of the would-be suicide bombers in Scotland was a doctor is: ‘What is this world coming to?” Then you remember the on-going polemic in the U.S. over the role being played by psychologists in the elaboration and carrying out of torture....on past or future suicide bombers.
Moving on, I can imagine the following conversation between Vladimir Putin and the two Bush presidents as they ostensibly fish off Kennebunkport:
Bush II (Kings also had Roman numerals after names, but they went by their first name...): You gotta help me, Vlad. I’m stuck in Iraq the way whats-is-name, your predecessor got stuck in Afghanistan.”
Putin: “These guys are tough. Worse than a government.”
Bush I, interjecting: Those were the good ol’ days, when I dealt with Saddam. Beat ‘im to a standstill.
Bush II: You shoulda beat’im to a pulp.
Bush I: Coulnd’t do that, too much business involved.
Putin: Problem is, smash one of these guys, ten more appear.
Bush I: Maybe we should talk to them. Find out how much they want.
Putin: Problem is, they don’t want money, they want power. Like our Bolsheviks in 1917.
Bush I: Yeah, today power is cheap. Everybody wants power: the Hispanics, the Blacks, the Sunnis, the Shias. Even ordinary people want power!
Putin: Look! I caught a fish!
Bush I: Good catch, we’ll have it for supper.
Bush II (wistfully): Wish it were as easy to catch Bin Laden.
Putin: Problem is, you can catch big fish in a big pond, or a small fish in a small pond, but before you catch’em, you know they’ve spawned dozens more.
Bush II: Yeah, and you can’t talk to fish.
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