Jewish World Review March 2, 2004 / 9 Adar, 5764

David Grimes

Grimes
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
MUGGER
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports


Dictators' softer side


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Do you believe that some of the world's most despicable dictators could be made to "see the light" if they were offered sensitivity training at a prestigious American university?

The folks at Boston University, which announced last summer that it was creating a residency program to help various African dictators give up their jobs without setting off civil war, apparently do.

The first head of state to take part in the program was Kenneth Kaunda, who led Zambia to independence in 1964 and then ruled the southern African nation for 27 years. Like most dictators, Kaunda didn't have a lot of patience with people who were critical of his regime, and so in 1972 he created the Patriot Act. No, wait. That was a different regime. In 1972, Kaunda outlawed opposition parties and declared Zambia a one-party state.


Still, by dictator standards, Kaunda was a swell guy. Nearly two decades later, he called for multi-party elections and stepped down gracefully when he was defeated.

I wish Kaunda the best of luck at Boston University and hope that he succeeds in getting other, nastier African dictators to give up their power without a bloodbath. Still, I can't help thinking that it would be even better if we could suspend the laws of space and time and assemble some of history's most reprehensible dictators in one room to teach them how to be better people.


Moderator: Good morning. I want to thank all of you gentlemen for taking time out of your busy schedules of exploitation, enslavement and genocide to come here today for the start of the 12-step program we're calling "Getting in Touch With Your Inner Teddy Bear."

Idi Amin: You know, your head would look good on my mantel.

Moderator: Mr. Amin, that is exactly the kind of negative, antisocial attitude we're trying to eliminate here. Let's begin. I'm going to suggest a few hypothetical situations and I'd like you to tell me how you'd respond.


Mr. Stalin, let's say that you are the dictator of a huge but extremely poor country. In order to boost agricultural production, you force all of your peasant farmers to work on state-run collectives. The bureaucracy is greedy and corrupt, however, to the point that the peasants, who were barely getting by before, are now starving to death by the millions. What should you do?

Stalin: Export all of our grain?

Moderator: No, Mr. Stalin. I'm afraid that is incorrect. You should move immediately to take the grain from government storehouses and distribute it, free of charge, to those who need it most.

Donate to JWR


Stalin: Have you ever visited northern Siberia in winter? I could arrange a 20-year pass.

Moderator (loosening necktie): OK, let's try another one. Nicolae Ceausescu, let's say Romania wants to start distancing itself from the Soviet Union and improve its relationship with the United States. What should it do first?

Ceausescu: Collaborate with Arab terrorists?

Moderator: Ye gads, man! No! It should show its sincerity by instituting democratic reforms like free elections and a free press.


I'm going to give you another chance, Nicolae. How would you revitalize your country's economy?

Ceausescu: Demolish churches and historic buildings in the capital city to make room for a giant shrine to me?

Moderator: No, please try again.

Ceausescu: Er bulldoze all the villages in the countryside and force the peasants to move to the city and live in small, dingy, poorly made government apartments?

Moderator (slumping): Let's try someone else. Pol Pot, your country, Cambodia, is one of the poorest in the world and has one of the lowest literacy rates. How do you turn this around?


Pol Pot: Easy. You torture and kill all the intellectuals.

Moderator (sweating profusely): Mr. Pot, I really don't see how doing that would solve any

Hitler: Are you a Jew, gypsy or homosexual? Because you sure look like one.

Mussolini: He looks like one to me, too, boss.

Moderator (racing from room): Class dismissed!

Appreciate this column? Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.



JWR contributor David Grimes is a columnist for The Sarasota Herald Tribune. Comment by clicking here.

Up

02/23/04: Is there life after Ken?
02/18/04: California needs its chi adjusted
02/11/04: Pleeze by sum stuph frum me
02/03/04: A tale of two generations
01/28/04: Warning: Labels on products are getting wackier and wackier
01/21/04: It's a computer! No, it's a side dish! Skeptical? Look under the hood
01/07/04: Nursery rhymes to scare the kids by
12/30/03: Ear-scratcher fingered by police
12/24/03: Gifts for that not-so-special someone
12/18/03: Things we hate to do
12/09/03: Keep your name out of this book
12/03/03: When tots control the world
11/18/03: Danger: TVs falling from above
11/11/03: Songs that won't go away
11/04/03: Keep technology away from the monkeys
10/29/03: A career of sensational regrets
10/22/03: Ig Nobels reward weird science
10/16/03: TV golf needs a kick in the pants
10/08/03: That's geek to me
09/30/03: A man, a woman and a cat
09/22/03: A tale of two spams
09/16/03: Librarian action figure will be taking no guff
09/10/03: Slackers need to remain invisible
09/02/03: No fun in the summertime
08/26/03: The algebra of love
08/11/03: Journey to the center of the pavement cracks
08/06/03: Word dominance by U.S. appears a fait accompli
07/28/03: Ads that are hard to swallow
07/09/03: Keep cows out of the classroom
07/03/03: Little-appreciated facts about unshaven men
06/24/03: Brother, can you paradigm?
06/18/03: Cats, TV not a good mix
06/10/03: In defense of grumpiness
06/04/03: Do we really need keyboards in our Port-A-Johns?
05/29/03: Always a dull men's moment
05/21/03: Bad PC hygiene leads to bugs
05/12/03:Army mops up; Tony Blair doesn't
05/06/03: Grill a hamburger for PETA
05/01/03: Exams spice history
04/23/03: Too much money? Tax me more!
04/14/03: When good gourds go bad
04/11/03: One fish-tale that isn't --- and that's no lie!
04/02/03: Do you really want to know what your dog's thinking?
03/26/03: Pajamas make high school less stressful
03/21/03: It's time to be nice to the French
03/03/03: The ultimate clean and constructive sport
02/12/03: Get a bang out of cleaning with cruise vacuum
02/06/03: Voluntary kindness? Not likely
01/28/03: Signs our economy is on upswing
01/22/03: There may be cash in your old underwear
01/15/03: Banish these words, now more than ever
01/07/03: Coughing as an art form
12/24/02: Parents shell out for missed homework
12/17/02: French government says no to @ symbol
12/11/02: A latecomer joins fellowship of the DVD
12/02/02: Don't worry, be fat, unfit and really happy
11/18/02: Intrigued by a German invention that could get teens out of bed before the crack of noon
11/06/02: A noose by any other name ...
10/29/02: Iranian dogs on notice
10/22/02: Talk about a job that stinks --- literally!
10/15/02: The official world's funniest joke
10/02/02: Japanese turn eyes to computer haikus
09/27/02: Oh, no! Bosses want to know what's on your mind
09/24/02: An airbag, humanity's salvation?
09/17/02: DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME!
09/06/02: Come listen to a story about a man named ... Bill
09/03/02: You're not in preschool anymore!
08/30/02: A charming idea from a brutal, whacked-out, megalomaniacal dictator-for-life
08/26/02: Blubber water? How to put on the pounds by gulping H20
08/21/02: The latest evidence that Mother Nature is out to kill us
08/13/02: Computers, airplanes and Canada don't mix
08/06/02: The sky's not falling? Dang it!
08/02/02: Some fond memories of worst TV shows
07/30/02: Pay my credit-card bill, please?
07/25/02: Something to celebrate
07/22/02: Baseball needs to ban the fans
07/16/02: Hasbro should consider new inaction figure
07/11/02: Decline in trash-talking is harming our mental health? Well, #@%&!
07/08/02 Americans retain right to fork tongues
07/01/02 These laws were made to be broken
06/18/02 Watching enough commercials?
06/03/02 Throwing your vote to the dogs
05/08/02 Hey, Mom, could you spare a dime?: Parents' obligations unending

© 2002, Sarasota Herald Tribune