Summary: There is still time for the Administration to win the hearts and minds of the people of Iraq and the people of America. A bold strategy is needed and the Convention in New York is the perfect time for it.
Occupations in the heart of the Arab world are tricky, and the handover in Iraq is more trouble. There is still time to think clearly and raise a different take-charge figure who’ll deliver victory. No one will ever ask who lost Iraq. He’ll command grudging respect, sport a richer history of links to U.S. intelligence services, and submit to character rehab. He’ll have a better shot than the interim folks.
We must be practical -- cut the losses and pursue workable goals. No need to declare victory and then bug out. No need to toss out the Baathists with the bathwater. The Iraqis welcome, with open arms, their newfound order under the aegis of a rehabilitated leader.
No need to incense the U.S. public with another $200 billion sunk in the sand. No need to rely on the London Iraqis for that elusive post-6/30 leadership. No power vacuum.
Let’s get him back in there by Labor Day. He’ll straighten out the Sunni Triangle, the Kurdish Hexagon, the Shi’a Trapezoid, and Failujah too. He may not be revered, but he’s still the only real hope for the New Iraq held so dear by impressive thinkers in Washington.
Live in prime time on September 2nd, for the grand finale of the Republican National Convention, he is beamed onto the screens at Madison Square Garden. The crowd is already pumped for W’s acceptance speech. He admits, in pretty clear English, the 9/11 pilots studied aviation theory, most on scholarship, at Baghdad Higher Aeronautical Institute! Moments later on the Jumbotron, Cheney emerges in Baghdad from an undisclosed location to receive the key and the map to the desert depot where the WMD were stashed, proving that Dick did have that extra dose of intelligence after all!
Cheney proclaims the repentant dictator is back, but temporarily, and America has won the war! Fox News gets the exclusive rights to this real journalism, fair and balanced, and the White House FedEx’s in a banner that unfurls from the rafters of the Garden - “Mission Really Accomplished.”
Then, on Labor Day 2004, Fox broadcasts the First Annual Fiesta Mesopotamia out of Baghdad, replete with Texas-style barbecues, guided tours of the palaces, skins and shirts basketball in the Green Zone, and Apache attack helicopter rides for children from the orphanages.
Fresh from the excitement at the Convention in New York, President Bush pilots in at dawn for this September 6th spectacle with Dad, Jeb, Hughes, Geraldo, Coulter, and Ollie North, each turned out rakishly in desert military chic. The boys and Karen riding the flight deck of a vintage bomber; Poppy parachuting onto the roof of the Palestine Hotel; Geraldo, Annie, and Ollie holding the mirror for one another in the aft cabin as they blow dry before turns of chatter at the videophone on the network America trusts.
Bipartisan praise for this political wizardry will gush forth. Air America calls it a miracle. The Clarke, O’Neill, and Anonymous books are remaindered. Clinton and Gore praise our commander-in-chief on the lecture circuit. Kerry and Edwards scramble for a strategy. The French are speechless. Michael Moore cancels the release of the DVD and e-mails apologies to Ray Bradbury and the White House. Outfoxed is outfoxed. Al Jazeera goes off the air.
How to trust him? We’ll keep some forces in theater, mostly the $1,000 a day guys, embedded next to his office. He won’t read the papers and our people will write his PDBs. Rumsfeld will deploy to Baghdad as his personal trainer for about a three-year stint. They will generate a marvelous photo op -- each trim, clean-shaven, suited up fashionably, no leg irons -- with a déjà vu high five so very reminiscent of their warm greeting in old Baghdad. Drawing effortlessly on their deal-making days, they will seal with a buss the pact that will give them a crack at a shared Nobel.
He will grab this chance for American protection, again. Some Democrats may trouble over his past, but behavior modification contracts will be let to American bidders. A cast of rehabbed ex-dictators will join him in group, and prescription mood altering drugs will come out of Canada.
His palaces will become shopping malls, save one, where he gets the east wing and where, in the west wing, Rumsfeld is asymmetrically embedded for 1,001 nights.
He lets the oil flow and America gets its righteous share. Halliburton handles the energy, catering, and carting contracts and administers the depleted uranium superfund clean up concession. Halliburton’s eco-tourism subsidiary, Eden, Inc., rolls out a line of deluxe packages to the lush river valleys.
He pulls out of OPEC. Unleaded in the U.S. drops to 89 cents. Antiques Road Show sponsors a black-tie gala to get all the artifacts back to the museums, no-questions-asked. He signs off on the U.S./Israel colony in the Kurdish north. The Marines rotate out to Syria and Iran.
His day of judgment will come just as surely as depleted uranium dust will blow into the palace pool, but his biggest punishment will be this deal with domestic partner Donald. Still smarting from the nasty sting when Rumsfeld turned on him! Paying a stiff fee to cash his U.S. Treasury maintenance checks at the American Express office downtown, when Chalabi used to get direct deposit!
Confined to quarters whenever Perle, Wolfowitz, Kristol, Scooter, Condi, Rush, Ingraham, O'Reilly, Falwell, Feith, Cambone, Boykin, Bremer, Mylroie, or the London Iraqis rotate in for palace sleepovers in the Carlyle Group Bedroom!
Rummy claims he “lost” the only copy of his tell-all book manuscript when he gives it over for vetting! Those accent correction classes with contract tutors they bring in from Oklahoma! Request for French lessons shot down! Live interview commitments on the radio with Hannity, and taking calls from the little people! A miserably short tribute during halftime at Super Bowl ’05!
All the palace monitors locked exclusively on Fox News 24/7! Permission to watch the final season of The Sopranos on HBO denied! Rummy so smug about using broken English with him. Having to endure vintage zany Rumsfeld non-sequiturs during endless rounds of rummy after dinner. Stuck in front of Sponge Bob videos with the grandkids every time they fly in over school breaks to see Grandpa Rummy!
T.V. dinners and take out with Rummy when the kitchen staff schedule rotations to the States! Clueless as to the big fuss they make over Tex-Mex in the mess hall. Those pet monikers Rummy will dig him with – “Sheikh Saddy”, “Saad Sack”, “Babylon Boy”, “You Maniac”, “Papi”, and the like! Steamed at the good deal Muammar got!
The Iraq masses will be transfixed by the reconciled domesticity they witness in Saddy and Rummy on a weekly pay-per-view reality show. Co-produced by Fox, the BBC, and ExxonMobil Masterpiece Theater for Iraq TV-1, it’ll be loosely translated from the original Arabic as “The Donald and His Apprentice.” Tony Blair will host in grave British tones, and he’ll get a couple of little cameos as palace gardener in a natty, pressed, blue denim jump suit.
Tutored in this manner, the factions will learn how to cooperate for the common good. The new, transformed United States of Iraq will be a beacon to the region, just as planned. The Greater Middle East Initiative will jump onto the fast track - peace, prosperity, and freedom for all.
In about three years, on July 4th, 2007, the new Iraq Independence Day will be proclaimed, the country will be secure, and his fate will be sealed. The younger Chalabi redeploys from his furlough in London for the trial. Fox goes live and The Donald and The Donald scamper into the presidential office to roar, “You're fired!”
But the coming deserved, harsh, and inevitable judgment meted out for his past crimes will be tempered, no doubt, by appreciation for his coming to bat in this historic deal for the good of America, just like in the good old days.
In the very near term, captivated by the rapid turn of fortune, the citizenry back home will acknowledge this political masterstroke by the unanimous plebiscite they accord George Bush in November 2004.