New Internationalist

Things to do before I retire

Issue 415

…from the diary of US President George W Bush, as told to Stefan Simanowitz

Illustration: LEWIS PEAKE
Illustration: LEWIS PEAKE

‘You know what you should do, Dubya,’ Laura joked at the ranch last week, ‘you should make a list of things to do before you retire.’ We laughed at the time but then I gotta thinking, with only a few months left as President and a whole buncha stuff still to get done, maybe a list wasn’t such a bad idea. I’d been at the breakfast bar for a long while when Laura came by and looked down at my notepad. ‘You’re sure you only got one thing to do before you go, sweet pea?’ she says. ‘I guess so,’ I said. I had just one single line written on that there list: take down Iran.

When Dick first told me about his plan for the Middle East I thought he was either a genius or just plain crazy. I remember it clear as day. We were having a round of golf down in Waco and Dick was explaining this complicated foreign policy stuff. We were teeing off on the 17th and he says, ‘Look George, it’s kinda like how you’d play this hole. First you gotta study the terrain; find out where all the bunkers and roughs are. Then you gotta choose your hardware. You wouldn’t use a putter for a monster hole like this, would you?’ He takes out a wood and does a practice swing. ‘Now no matter how good a golfer you are, you’re not going to sink a hole-in-one on the 17th. A hole like this will need a couple of big thwacks at least before you even get up on the green.’ He hits the ball down the fairway. ‘The first thwack, Afghanistan.’ He tees up again and takes another drive. ‘The second thwack, Iraq.’ He tees up once more. ‘Then we thwack the real bad guy. Iran.’ He drives the golf ball into the scrub.

Afghanistan was cool at first but those Taliban evildoers just ran off into the mountains and are still out there popping our guys. Iraq went so well to start with that I even gotta fly a jet onto an aircraft carrier and declare ‘mission impossible’. But the Iraqis didn’t see it that way and soon all the different tribes were fighting each other. Dick had said this might happen and if it did, it could even help us to slice up the country and make sure Iraq could never cause trouble again. Some folks back home say Iraq was a mistake, but that’s ’cause they don’t know about Dick’s game of golf theory.

Other folks say Iraq is kinda like the new Vietnam. I couldn’t really say ’cause I’ve only been to Iraq at Thanksgiving and I never went to ‘Nam in the Seventies – it was way too dangerous back then. But Dick says that 60,000 of our guys died in Vietnam and we’ve only lost about 4,000 so far in Iraq, so that’s really good going. No-one takes notice of the injured guys so they don’t count. I do feel bad for the brave service men and ladies who get popped, though. Just last week Condee came into my office and told me that three Brazilian soldiers had been killed in Baghdad and I was really awful upset. ‘How many is a brazilian?’ I asked.

The other thing they never had in ‘Nam was oil. The Gulf has got so much oil it makes our wells in Texas look like a row of pisspots. We’re pushing a law in Iraq which will let our companies like Exxon and Shell get full control of their oil. And Iran has also got oceans of the black stuff. The darndest thing is that all the oil and gas in Iran is in a skinny-ass province right next to Iraq. All we’d have to do is shock’n awe Tehran and take over that strip of land. If the Democrats or the liberal media grumble, we just say we’re using it as a buffer against the mad mullahs coming over the Iraqi border.

Another part of the plan is to persuade everyone that we’ve gotta sort out this Amadinnerjacket guy. It’s been goin’ real well on that front, made easy by the fact that every time Amadinnerjacket opens his pie hole he puts his foot right in. He’s big into nucular technology and although we haven’t got proof yet, we’re saying he’s trying to make WMDs just like Saddam did. We got the United Nations to say he’s not allowed to do anything nucular at all and Congress have put Iran’s Revolutionary Guard folk on our list of terrorists. That means we don’t even have to ask permission to go after them. Me and Dick just gotta say the word.

Some folks back home say Iraq was a mistake, but that’s ’cause they don’t know about Dick’s game of golf theory

The other thing we had to do was get rid of what Dick calls ‘the divets on the green’. Divets like Admiral Bill Fallon. Bill was head of military command and used to be one of us, but then he said that taking out Iran would make everything much worse. I got him to resign and gave the job to my buddy Dave ‘The Surge’ Petreus. Dave is telling everyone that we’re already kinda at war with Iran. He says that it’s the Iranians who are killing our boys in Iraq and also harbouring terrorists. The public really go for that stuff.

Our intelligence guys also tried messing with the plan. They came out with a report that said Iran wasn’t trying to build any nucular weapons after all. Dick reckons they’re still sore at us for making stuff up about Saddam and pretending we’d got the information from them. But we just ignore that report.

Good ol’Blair is no longer in charge of England and his replacement is this grumpy Scotch guy who used to be a commie. Luckily I’ve got ‘a new caddy’ as Dick calls him. He’s this midget Frenchie called Sarko and he’s already sent a whole aircraft carrier group to join us in the Gulf.

I still see Blair though. Last time I saw him he was over here taking on another big bucks job. After our prayer meeting Blair started talking about his ‘legacy’. When he’d left I got to thinking about my legacy thing and whether invading Iran just before I step down might make me look like the guy who starts a brawl then jumps into the nearest cab. Condee once compared going into Iran at the end of my term to taking a big dump on the Oval office carpet just before handing over the keys. But that was when we thought the Democrats were going to win.

So I asked Dick and he explained the real genius bit about the plan. ‘Like golf, once you start you can’t suddenly stop,’ he says. ‘Even if you’re playing a hole that’s a real toughie, you can’t just pick up your ball and head for the clubhouse. This Middle East plan is rolling and is going to roll for decades to come. Oil’s running short and the godless Chinese, Ruskies and Indians are getting stronger. At the moment, we’re the only superpower in the world. We’re like Tiger Woods. But if we don’t press home our advantage now some other guy might come along, make the putt and win the Ryder Cup.’

The first thing I did when I got to the White House after that weekend at the ranch in Crawford was to stick my list on the wall right next to my Twelve Steps leaflet and my Axles of Evil diagram. According to Dick, sorting out the Middle East won’t be easy and will take a long time. But going into Iran now will mean that whoever becomes the 44th President, Republican or Democrat, they’ll have to go right along with the plan. I don’t know who’ll win and I don’t much care. I don’t reckon the American people are ready to give the top job to a black guy. They’d always prefer to have a good ol’ boy from Texas like me in the White House. A good ol’ boy who just might not be as dumb as he looks.

Stefan Simanowitz is a writer, journalist and broadcaster. He is Chair of the Westminster Committee on Iran.
Contact: stefanowitz2@hotmail.com

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