Jewish World Review March 7, 2002/ 3 Adar II, 5763

Wesley Pruden

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We're running out of ways to say 'evil' | Saddam Hussein is evil. He's really, really bad. He's a brass-bottomed, lily-livered, no-account, blue-bellied son of a horse thief. He even has bad breath.

OK, we've got that. President Bush, who continued to tutor us in Saddam's shortcomings at his press conference last night, can feel free now to move on to the next step. The president's speechwriters have reduced a half-dozen volumes of Roget's Thesaurus (including colloquial and slang terms) to tatters. There's only so many ways to say "evil."

If we don't move on to Iraq soon, history will have to make room for a statue of George W. on Connecticut Avenue next to the heroic bronze of George B. McClellan, who was the charter member of Lincoln's Bum-of-the-Month club. McClellan, the Union's "Young Napoleon," kept asking for more troops, more troops and more troops, and never did anything with them.

"Sending reinforcements to McClellan," a despairing Abe famously said, "is like shoveling flies across a barn."

George W. is no George B. McClellan, but, like George B., he risks letting the air out of his balloon by showing Saddam Hussein the gift of excessive patience. The president invited this trouble with knowledge aforethought, choosing to play head games with the obstructionists at the United Nations.

This was the price of keeping Colin Powell aboard, and Mr. Powell has been useful, up to now, in reassuring certain of the Nervous Nellies who are not quite eager to march with the coalition but who are more frightened of the consequences of staying home. The obstructionists, it is now clear to one and all, have no intention of cooperating with Washington and London, not now and not ever, and who will never run out of excuses to avoid doing what they know very well must be done. They're stalling, counting on the moment for action to pass. If they can stall long enough George W. will look the fool and America will stand humiliated.

Every day the president delays is a day enabling the "peace" protests to expand. Many of the original organizers of the "peace" movement are a diseased lot, always on the scout for an excuse to show their instinctive contempt for their country, but some of those hanging about the edges of the movement merely imagine that good intentions are all that is necessary to confront evil. When they shut their eyes the baddies and boogermen always disappear, and that's the proof. Since the president keeps talking and talking and talking and nothing bad has happened, they take it as proof that talk is enough to restrain Saddam.

So far the president, who speaks with affecting eloquence of his faith in the power of prayer, has been blessed with useful enemies, beginning with the usual cast of academic blowhards, Hollywood goofballs and preachers with empty pews. Yesterday the protests expanded across the Atlantic. Several of Denmark's leading actresses will stage a production of "Lysistrata" to encourage wives and mistresses to stay out of the beds of their menfolk until the men put away their weapons of war.

"Basically what we are saying is 'no peace, no sex,' " says Rhea Leman, an American, who will direct the Monday production in the Copenhagen suburb of Christianhavn. "The essence of the play is that if men go to war, women should not go to bed with them. Until these men stop the war, they will not get any sex."

Readings of "Lysistrata" will be held in 900 theaters, churches, schools and coffeehouses across Europe on Monday, the organizers boast, and the Lysistrata Project has spread into China, Indonesia and even Latin America, where if it catches on it might even put an end to soccer wars.

Show-biz folk could accomplish what Muslim imams and certain clerics of other faiths never could, which is to eliminate the sex that daily (and nightly) drenches the culture. The prospects of this, however, are not necessarily good. Wars and sex have continued unabated in the 2,400 years since Aristophanes first put his comedy on the boards of Athens. Some experts predict that war and sex, which together with eating are the most popular human pastimes, are here to stay.

Nevertheless, George W. should nevertheless take to heart the risks of giving his critics time to make hay. He could learn from the tale of the good ol' boy who agreed to climb a hickory tree to shake a possum out on a limb where his pals could see to shoot it. But something went awry. Soon man and beast were locked in unseen combat in the tree top. The earth shook, the limbs trembled, leaves and twigs flew furiously to the sky. The racket was fearsome.

"Shoot! Shoot!" the man cried.

"We can't shoot," his friend answered. "We might hit you."

"Go ahead and shoot. One of us has got to have some relief."

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JWR contributor Wesley Pruden is editor in chief of The Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

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