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Today's word on journalism

Monday, January 29, 2007

Words as weapons:

"When he had a pen in his hand it was like giving a kid a machine gun."

--Peter Hall, theater director, on "Angry Young Man" playwright John Osborne (1929-1994)

Letter from the future, to Kofi Annan

By Justin Siebenhaar

December 15, 2006 |

From: President George W. Bush
To: Secretary General Kofi Annan
(Post Dated: January 20th, 2008)

Dear Kofi,

Today ends eight long years of us trying to sort out differences and work together to bring a better world to the next generation. I am going now and you can rest easy. To be honest, you must have been resting easy for the last eight years. I have rarely called your bluff nor have ever really pressed you to "do the right thing" or keep the promises you made when you took office as Secretary General.

My successor has promised to give the American public what they think they want: short term pain for long-term pain. America will sink back into the hole it carved for itself after Vietnam. It's very likely for the next short while you and your cohorts at the UN will be able to blame America for every ill in the world, taking none of the blame yourself nor any of the responsibility of fixing things.

Now to be fair, I share some of the blame too. My administration did make a big mistake in Iraq. There were no WMDs, there weren't enough troops, and the citizens of Iraq didn't react the way he had hoped or expected. But that is done. Perhaps our mission would have been easier if Saddam had been held to account, if the punishments that you threatened to be brought against him for each and every one of those seventeen UN resolutions you passed against him -- each and every one of which he violated -- would have been enforced. But again, that's over.

But I give a word of warning to you, sir. Your job is not going to be getting any easier. In fact, you no longer will have America to blame for everything. America was the one grownup in the house, and now it's decided to leave. Now the kids can run free. But that means there will be no one to bail you out. There will be no one to pick up. There will be no one to defend you when reality comes knocking. And if your track record is any evidence of your capabilities or willingness, I pity the world organization that has you at its head.

Remember the time when some Israeli jet fighters bombed a UN post in Lebanon and you immediately called it deliberate? Remember how two days later it was discovered that one of those UN observers sent e-mail to an American news agency telling them that the attacks were not deliberate and that it was Hezbollah who was using the post as a shield? Remember how your condemnation of Israel and America was swift and harsh before that truth was revealed, and how slow your apology and how nonexistent was your condemnation of Hezbollah afterwards? I remember. The world may not remember, the news agencies may be all too happy to keep such facts in the closet, but I remember.

Remember when countries that had be willingly supporting, financing and turning a blind eye to terrorists in their neighborhoods finally had to suffer the consequences of those choices and you condemned not the terrorists, but the nation who was attacked by the terrorists?

Remember how during the most minor conflicts that happened to feature America you were so quick to condemn America, but all the while you were silent on Sudan? Remember how you were slow on Bosnia? Remember the time when nearly a million Rwandans were being killed by machetes, their bodies left in giant heaps by the side of the road all because of their race, and you refused to call it a genocide? And remember when how you told the UN forces, who could have done something and saved thousands, not to do anything? Remember how you told them they couldn't get involved?

Remember the Oil for Food scandal? It was even discovered that your own son was involved in taking large amounts of money -- bribes -- to look the other way when ruthless dictators would take money that was supposed to go to their starving citizens and sell it back to them. Did you pursue this? You did not. It was not a big deal to.

Sir, I would dare guess that more human beings have been killed during your terms in office than at any other time since the formation of the UN. And yet, you blame my country for all this. Well, I'll be out of your hair from now on. Don't you worry; it looks like the rest of the world is content to let you go on being who you've always been.


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