From the April 26, 2004 issue: A message for our times.
Apr 26, 2004, Vol. 9, No. 31 • By LARRY MILLER
Being on a first name basis is never going to help him with the reporters in that room who are out for his scalp.
"Hi Don, I haven't called on you, have I?"
"Thank you, Mr. President. So: Do you feel you're a failure, because of failing, and when you fail, does it make you feel like you failed, or fail like you feeled, and is the mistake a mistake, or did you see a mistake, and with all the mistakes that you knew were mistaken, would you mistakenly make the same mistakes, or does the apology come first, to apologize to the families, will you make an apology, or should Richard Clarke just apologize again, because his apology was such a nice, big hug?"
MESSAGE TO THE ADMINISTRATION: Win. Get your people out there, and tell them that the answer to every question is, "We're fighting a war, and we'll let historians worry about everything else afterwards. You don't blame the fire department for the arsonist. Unless you're stupid."
No one in Europe or on the left is ever going to change their minds from seeing a photograph of a Marine handing a bag of groceries to a woman in a burkha. Jacques Chirac is never going to say, "Well, they have built a lot of community centers. Maybe Bush was right."
Win. Stop building schools. Win. There's plenty of time and need for hospitals, but first . . . win. Yes, Iraqi girls can be very empowered by seeing a female major running an outreach program, and we'll all chip in for the posters that say, "Take Your Daughters To Mosque Day," but in the meantime, would you please win.
If I have to listen to one more spokesperson say, "The overwhelming majority of Iraqis is with us, it's just a small percentage of malcontents causing all the trouble," I'll be tempted to say something I swore I'd never say in life: "Du-uuh."
A small percentage, huh? About the same size as the few thousand Bolsheviks who took over the 100 million Russians in 1917? More? Less?
Naturally, I want to help out beyond just being a sarcastic crank (although that certainly has its place). In service of this goal, I'd like to offer a new slogan. It's based on the old antiwar chant from the sixties, "Peace Now!" You must've heard that one. Demonstrators have been shouting "peace now" for the last 40 years. Hell, I probably shouted it, myself, somewhere around '73. (This would have been shortly before the drinking age in Massachusetts went down to 18, after which my friends and I took to shouting far more sensible things, like, "You can't cut us off, it's only 11:00. Hey, let go of me.")
Here's the new one: Win now.
Okay, hold it. Sorry again. Maybe I'm wrong. Yeah, I'm sure everything's okay. Doesn't seem so rosy to me, but, after all, what do I know? Nothing. What do they know? Everything. Yeah, no problem.
Hold on. It's working again. I feel better already.
Larry Miller, a columnist for The Daily Standard, is a writer, actor, and comedian living in Los Angeles.