Ned Paynter: DIALOGUE - A SATIRE
- DIALOGUE - A SATIRE
Ned Paynter - epaynter@...
San Diego, CA July 2003
"Here's a quiz for you. What do the following men have in
common? Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, William Kristol, Charles
Krauthammer, William Safire, Dennis Ross, Kenneth Adelman, Elliot
Abrams, David Remnick, Jeffery Goldberg, Senator Joseph Lieberman,
Robert Kagan, David Frum, Martin Peretz, Yossi Klein Halevi, and
Thomas J. Freidman? And - oh - I'll throw in one organization, the
Washington Institute for Near East Policy."
"Whew - that's a pretty touch subject."
"Take a stab at it anyway."
"Well, of course, they all favored war with Iraq."
"Okay, really strongly favored it. Advocated it, urged
it, beat the drums for it for months, demanded it.and in a couple of
cases planned it."
"Good, anything else?"
"Well, they don't like Europeans, aside from Tony Blair.
They call them 'quiche-eating Euro-weenies' and stuff like that.
They especially detest the Germans and the French. Friedman in
particular is a real nut on this subject. European objections to
genetically modified American beef sends him around the bend. And he
hates, hates Dominique de Villepin. Said de Villepin's objections to
war with Iraq were "utterly incoherent." All the rest on your list
are more or less withering on the subjects of French and German
duplicity, cowardice, moral relativism and all around perfidy."
"Anything else in common?"
"Well, most of those guys hate the U.N. too, not just the
Security Council, but the Secretariat as well. Ooh, does that Kofi
Annan make their blood boil! They tend to think the U.N. is washed
up, irrelevant, a hindrance, and think - or hope - the time is fast
approaching when it will be kaput, finis.
"Excellent. And what else might they have in common?"
"Well, except maybe for Friedman and Remnick, they're all
neo-conservatives, and, of the rest, Republican too, except for
Lieberman and Peretz. Yes, they're strongly neo-conservative, I'd
say, if you wanted to characterize them as a group."
"And would they have anything else in common?"
"Uh uh - sorry, pal, I'm not going there."
"Come off it; I know where you're trying to take me with
"And where would that be?"
"It's obvious, man. You're trying to get me to say the J-
word, and I'm just not going to do it."
"Hmm And why would you be reluctant to utter this 'J-
word,' as you call it?"
"Because that would lead directly to the fact that almost
all of the guys on your list are tight with the Likud and flaming
hawks on Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Wolfowitz's
protégé to lead the new Iraqi democracy is this guy Ahman Chalabi who
hasn't been in Iraq since 1957, but whose first order of business
would be to recognize Israel. Wolfowitz and Perle see the Iraq war as
a sort of bank shot to shatter Palestinian resistance in the West
Bank. All those guys pretty much subscribe to that view including
Friedman, who remembers every few months that he disapproves of
Sharon, but loves Ehud Barak, by whole time there was little of
substance to separate Labor from Likud anyway. The only country
in the world whose population overwhelmingly favored the war against
Saddam was Israel. Ditto the press. Ha'aretz on the nominal left was
just as enthusiastic as the Jerusalem Post. If you excluded the one-
fifth of the population that's Arab, what would be the approval
rating for the Iraq war in Israel - ninety percent? Sharon said the
American victory over Iraq meant the beginning of a "new era" in the
Middle East. In a triumphant column titled "V-I Day" -see, the win in
Iraq is as momentous as V-E Day or V-J day - Safire said the victory
over Saddam would cr4eate "an arc of freedom stretching from Turkey
in the north to Israel in the south," and who doesn't know what he
meant by that? At any rate, that's what all the guys on your list
"But it would be a gross breach to use the J-word in
association with 'neo-conservatives.' It's just not done, not on any
of the networks, including PBS, and certainly not in the Washington
Post or the New York Times. And if the connection can't be suggested
there, I'd be a damned fool to do it myself, wouldn't I?"
"Just what is it you're afraid of if you were to suggest a
relationship between 'neo-conservative' and this 'J-word' of yours?"
"Oh, you can just see it, can't you? The ADL would have a
quarter-page ad on the Times opinion page saying that such a slander
sends us all a chilling reminder of the dark days of the Protocols of
the Elders of Zion. There would be three columns in the "letters"
section: Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East; 'I seem to
have forgotten' that Israel is the only democracy protecting itself
from terrorism; how do I explain Condi Rice?; thank God for President
Bush, and blah, blah, blah. Safire and Krauthammer would have columns
on successive days with quotations from Mein Kampf to show where I
really come from. Tom Friedman would write the 'world's oldest and
most loathsome prejudice now appears newly-garbed in chic pro-Europe
political correctness.' The Times would run an editorial toward the
bottom of the column sadly noting that I had 'gravely, perhaps
irreparably' damaged any reputation I might once have had for
decency.' If I were a Jew - whoops, I said it - there'd be
speculation about my motives, surely in some way sick, for saying
such a thing. That's why Paul Krugman, Tony Judt, Stanley Hoffmann,
and Anthony Lewis may be able to say 'neo-conservative' but not, in
the Times or the Post anyway, "Jewish neo-conservative." The
relationship between Iraq hawkery and Likud militancy is simply not a
fit subject for discussion in an American family newspaper."
"Thank you. This has been most interesting. Do you know
what it all suggests to me?"
"It suggests to me that you may be an anti-Semite."
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