Before we’re attacked for our position on the matter, permit us to announce at the outset that we did not watch the recent Michael Jackson extravaganza. In normal conditions, you’d have to hang us over a balcony to get us to focus on that creature. But in pre-war conditions, we can only express regret that Mr. Jackson did not travel to Baghdad for his interview. Surely President Saddam has the biological and chemical expertise with which to minister to Mr. Jackson’s sundry nose and skin problems. Inspectors would have to search no further. Think of all the palaces Mr. Jackson could frolic in. There’d be no going back to Santa Ynez. Scott Ritter would be immensely jealous.
How unfortunate that Mr. Jackson blames his unprecedented condition on his father, the impresario. He could learn a lesson in filial devotion from Adlai Stevenson III, a former U.S. senator from the land of Lincoln who took to the New York Times‘ op-ed page today with a definitive reading of the Adlai Stevenson “moment” in 1962 and whether Colin Powell’s appearance before the same U.N. Security Council this week measured up to its standards. Alas, it did not. Daddy’s was an offensive for peace, but Powell’s wants war. Daddy prevented war. Powell promotes war.
Daddy’s moment was famous, the stuff of legend, “but he rarely talked about it with his family.” (Maybe because he was also sharing “moments” in someone else’s arms, but that’s another story.) Daddy, you see, knew the price of war. He remembered what happened when Austria-Hungary attacked little Serbia. It led to the end of Austria-Hungary. Now if Franz-Joseph Bush-Powell attacks little Iraq, it will be the end of us.
Adlai III, like other doves, argues Bush should be going after North Korea instead. One anticipates with bated breath how the anti-warriors will shift on a dime if indeed the U.S. does decide on a showdown with Pyongyang.
Once the mantra kicked in, Young Adlai couldn’t keep from joining in the chorus of those who insist terrorism is rooted in America’s failure “to address the widening gap between the haves and the have nots” in the world — and for starters, in the failure to resolve the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” an observation Y.A. uses to set up these immortal words: “The United States loses credibility when perceived as supporting terror in one part of the Mideast, while professing to fight it elsewhere.” In the eyes of little Adlai, in seems, Israel is the equivalent of Al Qaeda. Hence if America wants its credibility back, it will need to join the side of the suicide bombers. Not even Jimmy Carter has gone this far in the name of peace in his time.
Already last week we saw the Tootsies are on a roll. Now along comes chewy Dustin Hoffman, decrying all the self-same things. “I don’t think, like many of us, that the reasons we have been given for going to war are the honest reasons,” he said in London. “As an American,” he added, he found it “painful” and “reprehensible” that the “administration has taken the events of 9/11 and has manipulated the grief of the country.” It would seem that Mr. Hoffman, a famous method actor, is doing some projecting, crediting the Bush crowd with the same emoting skill he has used for decades to win over audiences and the leading gal. How far-sighted Whit Stillman proved to be when in his brilliant movie Barcelona he has its leading U.S. patriot denounce the Hoffman on display in The Graduate as a loser and a creep.
On the other hand, perhaps we owe Hoffman for making it possible to think of President Bush as a practitioner of the Stanislavsky Method. Let’s just do all in our power to keep Mr. Bush out of the clutches of Mrs. Robinson.
John Kerry might have something to say about that, but not now. He’s too busy making plans for his bris. Next will be his bar-mitzvah, the first ever to be turned into a presidential fundraiser. Did McCain-Feingold anticipate this? Which isn’t to say we’re not happy about Kerry’s recent discovery. There’s now a chance he might someday be mistaken for a mensch. On the down side, we have confirming evidence why he reminded us of Madeleine Albright.
In less happy news we have the sad decline of CNN’s conscience, Aaron Brown. While others rushed to their anchor spots when news of Columbia broke, Mr. Brown would not be budged from the golf course. He had paid huge dollars just to play among largely Republican PGA golfers at the Bob Hope classic, and in the process took on many of their fabled selfish traits. Now his career has missed the cut.
But there is an opening in the U.K., where Tony Benn isn’t getting any younger. It’s a miracle Tones survived his grueling confrontation with Saddam. We just hope Benn sees fit to pass on his title to our Enemy of the Week, which would leave him effectively named Aaron Neil Wedgwood-Brown, the new Viscount Stansgate.