Honolulu Lite

by Charles Memminger

Wednesday, February 11, 1998

Prez between
Iraq and a hard place

CANADA is officially endorsing the U.S. plan to bomb Iraq, so I guess we can go ahead.

You don't want to commit to a major global military engagement unless Canada is on board. We don't have the support of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, China, France or Russia, but we've got Canada. I won't feel comfortable about attacking Saddam Land until we get the support of Upper Volta, Madagascar and the International Federation of Guano-Producing Countries.

Don't get me wrong. Saddam needs bombing. Not Iraq. Just Saddam. And his son, Udai. Udai has all of Saddam's murderous traits with none of his father's charm and self control.

But we aren't going to bomb Saddam or Udai, we're going to bomb Iraq. And there are some good reasons to do it. First of all, we can. There aren't too many places in the world that you can bomb the crap out of and get away with it.

An attack would also give the military a chance to field-test some new weapons, like those "bunker buster" bombs that can smash through six floors of underground reinforced concrete before exploding in the billiard and cognac room. There aren't too many places where you can test those bad boys, other than a few parking garages in New Jersey.

Bombing Iraq also would put this whole presidential sex scandal in perspective. Right now, Bill Clinton is viewed as a 51-year-old guy who used the Office of the President to have sex with a 21-year-old intern. If he bombs Iraq, he'll just be viewed as a 51-year-old guy capable of blowing up a Third World country AND who used the Office of the President to have sex with a 21-year-old intern. That should kick his approval ratings up a few more points.

BUT there are also reasons for not bombing Iraq. For one, it would be fun to see the look on Canada's face if we suddenly said: "Ha! We were kidding. We can't believe you fell for that!"

The other thing is that, if you take away Saddam, the Iraqis are a pretty laid-back bunch. Baghdad at one time was considered a fairly hip party town, as far as fundamentalist Muslim places go. It was probably the only place in the Arab world where you could get a martini.

We could just pull back our Navy to Miami and put out the national "Do Not Disturb" sign. Hey, if France ain't worried about Saddam, why should we be? I mean, the French are the ones that actually built the bio-production facilities that allowed Saddam to crank out tons of weapons-grade anthrax, which to this day has never been found. When Saddam starts tossing that stuff into the wind, it'll be the French and other people in that part of that world who come down with a bad case of coughie-pooh.

When the French put down their snail forks and call the America desk at the U.N., they'll get a recorded message: "Hi, we're not in now. Leave a message and we'll get back to you after the ebola outbreak has run its course through Europe. Beep."

Now, if Saddam was really smart, he'd be funneling millions of bucks into the Monica Lewinsky Defense Fund. Because as long as she keeps her mouth shut, special prosecutor Kenneth Starr won't have enough evidence to indict a ham sandwich, even a ham sandwich that made 37 trips to the Oval Office. Ergo, Clinton wouldn't have any reason to bomb Iraq.

The weird thing is that most polls show that Americans believe that as long as Saddam does his job as a ruthless dictator, any plans he has to annihilate his neighbors is between him and his 50 wives. The polls also show that most Americans are in favor of seeing Penthouse photos of Monica Lewinsky and O.J. Simpson playing naked golf in Quebec. Go figure.

Charles Memminger, winner of
National Society of Newspaper Columnists
awards in 1994 and 1992, writes "Honolulu Lite"
Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Write to him at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin,
P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, 96802

or send E-mail to charley@nomayo.com or

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