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Jewish World Review Jan. 4, 2002 / 20 Teves, 5762

Tony Snow

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Musings -- IT'S the time of year when news is scarce so journalists like me reflect on the previous 12 months.

Now we've met a number of heroes in 2001, but we've also gotten a chance to wave good-bye to bums.

Gary Condit, for years an obscure Democrat loved by Republicans, proved that voters don't find infidelity so charming.

Jesse Jackson admitted to fathering a love child, then vanished into irrelevance after September 11th because Americans decided race-baiting wasn't interesting after all.

Bill Clinton had to organize a public-relations campaign to remind people what a swell guy he is.

A coterie of religion haters turned silent as Americans decided to consult the Creator rather than, say, the ACLU.

Kathy Lee Gifford faded away.

Pat Robertson decided to stick with broadcasting instead of politics.

And in the entertainment world, Michael Jackson laid an egg, reality TV fell into a death spiral, and Sex in the City became as interesting as accounting in the city.

Let's hope we get to say goodbye to Osama before the year is over.

I have assembled two dollhouses this week, leading me to conclude that the people who design and build such things are vicious sadists.

One house featured itsy, bitsy little toys --- lotion bottles, toothpaste tubes, pictures, brushes, erasers, pencils all of them required decals so small that I needed tweezers to attach them.

The assembling of the house took more than four hours, and is as close as I ever will come to performing surgery. House number two was larger, but the fiends who made it decided to give it about 7,000 nearly identical parts, none of which was clearly marked as they need to be. Assembly in this instance took an entire day at the end of which a passing dog jarred loose something like 500 of the carefully assembled pieces.

It is hard to imagine the kind of mind that could design toys of such maddening intricacy. I'd love to see what they could do if we set them loose and told them to devise a torture for terrorists.

I figured out that there is a down side to being the world's only superpower. You know what it is? We have to clean up everybody else's messes.

Give you a couple of examples. Right now India and Pakistan are on the verge of war. They have been at the verge of war before but this time is different. they both have nuclear weapons. There they are standing against one another. They have common borders, common history, in many common ancestry and they want us to stop them from annihilating themselves.

Similarly the Israeli/Palestinian conflict continues and the United States stand in the middle both sides looking to us to clean up their messes.

Finally, Osama Bin Laden - the latest tape indicates that the hates us. Why? Because we have been working for peace in the Middle East. Here's the problem - every time something goes wrong in the world other people blame us for their messes.

Why is it that in being the only global superpower people also expect us to the only nation filled with grown ups.

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