There are those who say that you cannot set a date certain for a withdrawal in the face of opposition. All those who learned their American History via the History channel knows this. Those of us who had to learn the hard way, with books, may remember that the United States granted the Philippines her independence in 1946 despite the presence of pro-communist Huk Guerrillas waging an insurgency there. The last time I looked the Huks were all dead and the Philippines is still a reasonably friendly country.
I can think of another leader who washed his hands of Iraq. The Emperor Hadrian decided that what is now Iraq wasn't worth his effort. He understood that holding on to Mesopotamia meant (and means) endlessly fighting both Persians and Arabs. He chose to shortened the Roman Imperial lines there and elsewhere, thus helping to preserve the empire for another two centuries.
This week's obituaries for Jesse Helms would have been more fitting for the late Hermann Goering than a former US Senator. It's worth observing that the Liberal champions of democracy see nothing wrong in attacking a man for actually representing his constituents. Helms was after all, elected time and again by the voters of North Carolina to represent them in the Senate. So why don't they blame all those Tar Heels for inflicting Helms on the rest of us? They can't. They know that egalitarian democracy cannot be relied on to produce the kind of politicians they find acceptable. And they can't admit to having any other system in mind. So they pretend that politicians like Jesse Helms win only by dirty tricks or pandering to the people's worst instincts.
I am in receipt of a most impressive piece of mail from none other than that great thespian, Leonardo DiCaprio. I must confess to have made a lot of fun of Mr. DiCaprio over the years. So I was surprised that he would take time out of his busy schedule to correspond with me, a poor, retired, bumpkin. Naturally, I opened this correspondence with great care, using only my finest, most ornate letter opener. The letter bore a likeness of Mr. DiCaprio himself, tie less, with what can only be described as a come hither look. At first I was alarmed. Then I noticed the reference to Polar Bears "Sending us a desperate S.O.S." about global warming.
It seems that Mr. DiCaprio is enlisting my help in his quest to prevent the polar icecaps from melting, thus depriving the Polar Bears of their chilly white homes. The only way to stop this he says, is for me to give "What I can" to The Natural Resources Defense Council.
How I wonder, did bears of any description operate radio equipment with sufficient acumen to send that S.O.S.? They say that a million Chimps pounding away at typewriters for a million years would inevitably produce all of Shakespeare's sonnets. Given this, one wonders how a few Polar Bears managed to send an S.O.S. in just a few years. I shudder to think just how the bears came into possession of said radios, and what became of their original owners. I've heard that on occasion polar bears swim out to offshore barges and eat the crewman. Perhaps they were really after those radios all along.
I will write Mr. DiCaprio with the following offer. I pledge a thousand dollars, which is a considerable amount for me, if Mr. DiCaprio will stand perfectly still in the Polar Bear enclosure of the San Diego Zoo for one hour. I will make it two thousand if he will agree to fill his pockets with raw liver while doing so. And he can bring a radio along in case anyone wants to send an S.O.S.