But let's cast aside the hand wringing for a moment and remind ourselves how much of an upgrade Barack Obama is over his predecessor. We know, you've already had a few months to bid a not so fond farewell to the Bush Administration, but with these rumblings of discontent emerging from the left, now seems like a good time for a bit of a reality check. A little something to remind us of how far we've come. To this extent, Rickey's dad, Papa Henderson, writes in with a mammoth five act satirical play about the Bush Presidency, modeled loosely on "Macbeth." There being no objections, and this not being a democracy, we're running it because goddamnit, Shakespearean references are good for you.
No it's not Rickey's material, but if it's any consolation, just paginating the freaking thing took three times as long as any normal blog post would. There's four acts after this one, and they're equally lengthy, so let Rickey know if you enjoy this first installatment and he'll toss up the others. Enjoy:
Scene 1: In which Prince George and Sir Cheney encounter three Witches of the Sixties, who greet them with prophecies of future greatness.
Scene 2: In which The King and his court celebrate another Elephant victory over the Donkeycrats. The King and Lord Cheney confer with the Dukes of Frist and Hastert on bold action to reform the Social Nest-Egg Plan.
Scene 3: In which The Donkeycrats lament their defeat but rise in renewed vigor with news of the King’s plan to scuttle the Social Nest-Egg Plan.
Scene 4: In which The King, the Queen, and Lord Rove urge Parson Perkins to exercise restraint in his plans to rid the Kingdom of buggery and other anti-family evils.
Scene 5: In which Lord Cheney, Lord Rummy, and Don Gonzalez report to the King on their successes in bending the law in the War on Terror.
George Bush, (Prince and) King of America
Lord Cheney, Viceroy of America and Privy Counselor to the King
Lord Rove, Counselor on Domestic and Campaign Affairs
Lord Rummy, Minister of Offense
Don Gonzalez, Minister of Injustice
Lady Rice, Ministress of State
Lord Snow, Minster of the Exchequer
Lord Chertoff, Minister of Homeland Security
Lordling McClellan, Mouthpiece to the King
Parson Perkins, Minister of the Church of Family Values
Duke of Hastert
Duke of Frist
Duke of Lieberman
Duke of McCain Leaders of the King’s Two Houses
Duke of Kerry
Duke of Reid
Duchess of Pelosi
Duke of Biden
Gadfly Howard of Dean
Sir Scooter Libby
Sir Harry Wittington
Laura Bush, Queen of America
Barbara Bush, Queen Mother of America
George H.W. Bush, Paterfamilias of America
General Casey, Leader of the King’s Iraqi Forces
Palace press reporters, attendants to the King, secret service agent, messengers of bad news
Scene 1: A heath near Arlington, Texas. Three Witches of the Sixties, Prince George, Sir Cheney.
[Prince George and Sir Cheney in an auto, Prince George driving]
Prince: I could have sworn the road back into town
led off that way.
Cheney: Indeed, my Lord, though my
directional parameters are keen,
I too am at a loss as to our
whereabouts. This dreary landscape and these
ruffling winds, portentous monitors of
atmospheric tumult, quite disorient
my otherwise well-ordered bearings.
Prince: It’s sure weird how the weather’s shifted. Hey!
Who’s that there? Three dressed-down critters – dudes or
ladies I’m not sure –perched out along the road.
Cheney: Three strangely sorted derelicts they seem,
in unisex-type outfits that bring back
dark memories of the Sixties and their vile,
degenerate excess. I like them not.
Let’s hasten back and call a constable.
Why do you slow down and roll down the window?
Prince: They ’re signaling us to approach.
Maybe we can get directions from them.
Cheney: To where? Some carnival or freak show they’re
appearing in? They make my skin itch.. Let’s get
our carcasses away, or else, who knows,
we’ll find ourselves stuffed into some old laundry
bags and fed to barracudas.
Prince: Hell, they
look harmless. I’ll step out and see what’s up.
Say, what’s the nearest place to get a
First Witch: All Hail Prince George, the owner of the Texas Rangers!
Second Witch: All Hail Prince George, the Duke and Governor of Texas!
Third Witch: All hail Prince George! That shall be
King of America hereafter!
Cheney: Predictions of encouragement and worth!
Can you strange objects of conjecture now
unfold more riches from your potent bag
of prophesies and let me know what might
lie down the road for me in the as yet
First Witch: All hail Sir Cheney!
Less mighty than Prince George, yet mightier!
Second Witch: All hail Sir Cheney!
Less well-connected than Prince George, but with
Prince [aside]: What’s “gravitas”? Astronomy
has never been my strong suit.
Cheney [aside]: I‘ll tell you later
Third Witch: All hail Sir Cheney!
Though not quite King yourself,
yet shall you lead one!
Cheney: Strange presences, when may we reconnoiter
and confer with you again?
First Witch: When future
circumstances call you forth, unto this
heath convey yourselves and here invoke and
summon us, and we’ll appear at your command.
Prince: [to Witches] Can you back up on what you told me here
and fill me in on it some more? I know
I’m the Rangers’ owner – a big improvement,
on those dry oil wells Pater Bush unloaded
on me some years back. And it’s funny how
you mention how I might be the Duke
of Texas – something that’s crossed my mind. It’s
almost like you’re ferreting around inside
my head. But King of all America –
whoa, now, that’s quite a mouthful! Whoever
got out that idea, and how did you get
wind of it?
Goddammit! Where’d they go?
They cut and ran!
Cheney: Vanished like some distasteful,
drug-induced hallucination that deludes
the mind. Best to dismiss all this and go
Prince: Maybe so, but what’s with all those
“more than this”s and those “less than that”s” they
threw at you? Why can’t they just come out and
say things plain? You take the wheel, Sir Cheney.
I’m too ticked off to steer right now.
Act I, Scene 2. Eleven years later. Ballroom in the King’s Palace. King, Queen, Royal Family, King’s counselors and ministers. Dukes of the Houses, attendants to the Court.
Duchess Rice [gesturing to a campaign poster of the King]
Behold the face that launched a thousand bombs,
deposed the tyrant King of Babylon,
hauled him ensconced from out a spider hole,
and opened up an incremental path
(forward two steps, then back a step or two),
to sow the seedlings of democracy
throughout that suffering kingdom’s desert sands
and spread before its long-starved denizens
the fruits and blessings of free enterprise!
[Cheers and applause]
King: Thanks, gentle, yet still tough, State Ministress.
We’ll need your grittiness and expertise
as we pursue the Evil Axis and
all other foes of freedom round the globe.
But what say you, Lord Rove, our Architect
of campaign strategy, about this new
election triumph, both for us and all
Rove: Our message of confidence
and optimism has again prevailed.
Our spirited campaign, well-prepped,
well organized, and well supplied
with dedicated staff and gushing funds,
has brought us victory. You, Sire, can sail
into the quiet harbor of your reign,
unvexed by re-election worries or concerns.
All Elephants can look to tighten more
their firm grip on the instruments of State
that drive our Kingdom’s engines. I foresee
a future filled with joy and glad success
to challenge good King Ronald’s palmiest times,
when Elephants maintained unrivaled sway
and all things smiled on us.
Cheney: And they again
shine forth with beaming and propitious ray.
Lord Rove and Lady Rice, we hail you both.
In spite of lurking dangers, you have raised
our Party to hopes of even happier days –
leading the Kingdom in the War on Terror
as the armies of our Elephants advance
in battles foreign and domestic.
King: I celebrate with all you gathered here
this triumph o’er the limping Donkeycrats,
who sought to shake with oddball, ill-conceived
suspicions the firm pillars of our reign –
patriotism, profit, and piety.
These triple policies by which our Party
lives and breathes and moves, sound forth their clarions,
and spread their banners through our juiced-up ranks.
I’m not surprised that Donkeycrats now sink,
their butts hard pounded by the stormy blast
of national defeat. And now’s the time
to spend the capital we’ve earned and cash
our blue chips in on legislation bold
and suitable to our designs. Look soon,
after close consultation with our Party’s chiefs
to learn of enterprises we’ll pursue
to serve us in the years ahead.
Rove: Let’s shout it now unto the vaulted roof:
hail victory, low taxes, and King George!
All: Hail victory, low taxes, and King George!
Rove: We call on Parson Perkins now to grace
us with his benediction.
Perkins: Protect us, Lord, in this long war with Terror,
from spiritual sloth and Liberal error.
Be with King George as he leads forth our legions
at home and in the broad globe’s troubled regions.
Confound our foes and all whom they abet,
and may the FCC clean up the internet.
King: Until our evening revels, let’s recess
Then we’ll feast and trip our heels while we exchange
happy congratulations with ourselves.
Dukes Frist and Hastert, Lord Cheney and myself
would seek some words with you. [Exit all]
[King, Cheney, Frist, Hastert]
King: As leaders of our Houses, gentlemen,
the sharers of our triumphs and success,
what bold new legislation might we craft
to print the Elephant and its grand deeds
in history’s golden ledger?
Frist: Why any new legislation, Sire? While
terror stalks and profit margins rise,
why stir the settled state of things with change
and giddy innovation? Such tactics smack
of Donkeycratic social schemes, best shunned
by our staid, sober Party.
Hastert: Honored Sire,
will not our noble tax cuts, set to last
into the unconfined future, sound
your legacy? On those, commingled with
your steadfast prosecution of the War
on Terror, lies your glory and the sure
recompense that history will bestow.
Strange and unnatural, it seems, suited
to neither our Party’s needs or membership,
is the project of concocting of new reforms.
Hold fast to what we have is my advice.
Cheney: Gentlemen both, your principles are sound.
Far be it from us to propose a law
that plunges us heedlessly into some
future that unsettles our estate.
King: Rest assured,
we’re looking firmly backward in our plans
to happier times that came before the ills
and the entitlements that plague us now.
Frist: My Lords, we listen to your greater wisdoms
with eager and attentive ears.
Cheney: Think back to old King Franklin Roosevelt
and the evils he imposed to manacle
our liberties with hateful regulations
Hastert: King Roosevelt! When I was but a lad,
tender in years and with a waist as small
as is the circle of an eagle’s talon,
my granddad took me on his knee
and told me tales of Roosevelt’s dark reign,
I sucked his words in as a hummingbird
imbibes the nectar of the sweet musk-rose.
To him I pledged eternal war against
all social programs, all taxation schemes
that skew the workings of Free Enterprise.
Cheney: The time has come, the very instant calls
us to fulfill that pledge -- while power
is firmly in our grasp -- to resurrect
our ancient liberty and bring to heel
the plan the Donkeycrats designed and passed
under King Roosevelt – the Social Nest –Egg Plan.
King: Reasons abound for scuttling it. It’s payback’s
small. Its costs are rising as our people age.
Our exchequer’s over-pressed. We can’t afford
to fund it any more.
Cheney: We’ll privatize the Social Nest-Egg Fund
and educate our citizens to join
the Ownership Society.
Frist: The Donkeycrats will bray and bellow at
King: Let them. With Lord Snow’s help, we’ll take
the Royal Stage and bring it to town meetings
through the Kingdom. I’ll massage the ears of
citizens hand-picked and screened with care for
Frist: What happens to
those counting on their social nest egg plans
to line their nests during their sunset years?
Hastert: Maybe we can borrow something more
and pay it back when private funds roll in
from all the profits of free enterprise
and prudent, wise investment practices.
King: Now that’s good thinking, and I’m sure that we
can tinker somehow along lines like these.
Cheney: We’ll work on the details as we go on
and do our best. The world’s hard state enjoins
some souls less fortunate to gird their loins.
You can’t make omelets and save the yolk.
Some eggs in nest egg plans will just get broke.
[Exit Frist and Hastert]
Cheney: My Lord, what’s this about Lord Snow?
Since whendo we make fiscal policy with thoughts
of what a Minister of the Exchequer
might say about them?
King: The name popped up, that’s all.
Cheney: We’ll bring Lord Snow into our planonce we’ve devised its execution.
King: Okay. But Snow signs all the Kingdom’s checks.
He’ll have to know just what we’re up to with this whole privatization plan
before we move much farther.
Someone I’m sure will up and
pop a question to him on it.
Cheney: In good time
Lord Snow will know just what he needs to know.
King: Good thing I’m King and checks I write can’t bounce,
especially these days.
Cheney: Prithee, no more of that. Let’s hasten this
Nest-Egg business on.
Act I, Scene 3. An abandoned union hall in Washington. Duke of Kerry, Duke of Reid, Duchess of Pelosi, Duke of Lieberman, Gadfly of Dean
Reid: Fellow Donkeys, we must resolve what means
best serve us as we face four years to come
of Bad King George and his retainers all,
along with his accomplices in rule,
in office and in full control of both
the Kingdom’s Houses, from whence they’ll work their
way to wield the instruments of power
with even further insolence and pride.
Pelosi: Election night, Lord Kerry, how our hopes
rode on the prospect of the exit polls
presaging victory! And then, how turned
to empty air, like some mirage before
the heat-oppressed brain of travel –weary
desert wanderer so cruelly snatched away
from parching tongue!
Reid: Those early evening polling
counts sure let us down.
Dean : It’s strange how every
voting glitch tipped toward King George
and made the swing vote in Ohio go
his way and how in Donkeycratic districts
our faithful had to wait so long to vote.
This smacks of hanky-panky to my mind.
Kerry: Nay, let that go, we haven’t time or means
to prove our case. ‘Tis best we move along
though it sticks harshly in our craws.
Lieberman: Besides, voters don’t cotton to sore losers.
Four years ago, in our loss to King George
and Lord Cheney, I accepted our defeat
with due civility, a course I urge
us now to follow.
Dean: Our thanks to you, good Lord,
and all your due civility and graciousness
for the state our Party and our Kingdom
are mired in today.
Lieberman: Mock as you wish. Excepting
jihadist terrorists, I choose to be
a friend to all and bring my foes to me,
like flies, with honey and not vinegar.
Kerry: We lost because of Terror and the fear
of new attack that Elephants campaigned on.
The jihadists are the best enemies
the King and Elephants could have designed.
Reid: In sooth, Lord Kerry, I must tell you flat,
your campaign bumbles didn’t help our cause,
your vote against the war in Babylon –
“after I voted for it,” you explained –
made you look a fool, as did your zigzag
windsurfing in those Elephant flip-flop
campaign ads that did you in.
Lieberman: And your umpteen-point positions in debates
with King George also turned folks off.
While you droned on, they grabbed an evening lunch
or switched to reruns of “The Brady Bunch.”
Dean: Why can’t’ we Donkeys better sell
our message to the Kingdom? Why must Lord Rove
make us all look like amateurs? Next week
let’s give the pink slip to the Earl of Schram.
and get his carcass and his pimply face
off of the TV screen. It’s time to find
someone more photogenic, like the Earl
of Mehlman, the Elephants’svelte PR man.
Kerry: OK then, Gadfly Dean. I here propose
that you serve as the Donkeycratic Chair
for the next King’s election. Take the reins
of our campaign and lead us forth into ’08.
Pelosi: You have my blessing.
Reid: Add mine thereto as well.
Kerry: At our next
Party meeting, we’ll present your name. Our
joint voices doubtless will hold the day.
Will you accept?
Dean: I might, my Lord, have other plans.
Lieberman: Put them in cold storage for a while.
Your bravura TV roll call list of states
you shouted after your defeat in Iowa
was well managed by the Elephants to
brand you a loose, hyperventilating cannon,
unfit to be a King.
Dean: I’ll think on what you say. How they
turned on that speech and twisted it awry!
Pelosi: ‘Twas a rough night.
Lieberman: Nights most of us have known.
Reid: From all I’ve learned from text or anecdote,
the course of campaigns never did run smooth.
Either they’re stymied by a staff dispute –
Pelosi: Short-sighted team that shoots at its own foot!
Reid: Or else some sound-bite blunder drags them down –
Pelosi: O cursed statement that you can’t disown!
Reid: Or by some breaking scandal they’re derailed –
Pelosi: Hard fate when dirt’s exposed and gets you nailed!
Reid: And like the lightning in the darkened sky
that shows its instant glory to the eye
or meteor that plummets through the night,
to burn itself and vanish from our sight,
so too, campaigners on a victory dash
may snuff themselves out in unseemly crash,
giving their reputations a contusion
and casting their careers into confusion
Kerry: How should we then proceed?
Reid: Much as we wish,
‘tis hard to prove the King has lied us
into war without hard evidence to
back the charge and lay before the Kingdom.
Dean: Even so, this war in Babylon that
Bad King George and High Lord Cheney wage
remains a running sore that we should fight.
Lieberman: Not I, my Lords. I’m foursquare with the King
on Babylon. So long as Zion lies exposed to cruel jihadic rage,
I say we stay the course and battle Terror on its breeding ground.
Dean: It didn’t breed in Babylon until we bombed it and invaded it.
Lieberman: Your arguments
won’t lead our Donkeys on to victory.
And don’t call the King a liar.
Voters cringe at such words as mouthings of the rad-lib fringe.
Dean: What should we do then? Why are we called here?
Pelosi: Oh sorry state! Alack and welaway!
How can we Donkeys ever gain the day?
With Elephants in charge of all House councils,
I’m so despairing, I could stay at home
and wring my hands and just collect my paycheck.
Dean: My friends, I come with hopeful information
from Elephants across the aisle to help
dispel the lethargy of the distracted
musings that I‘ve overheard from you.
Reid: Speak on. We’re at a standstill here.
Dean: While we sit here in doleful disarray,
the Party of Private Profit hatches schemes
to eliminate the Social Nest Egg Fund.
They plan an ad campaign, a Royal tour,
across the Kingdom to select supporters,
stuffed full with crafty arguments
of why and how we should or can or must
junk something that has worked so well.
Lieberman: Abort the Social Nest Fund! Good Lord!
An act of heinousness to be abhorred!
[Aside] Though if Elephants would sit me down and say
why it should go, I might see things their way.
Dean: Of all the Kingdom’s programs that these jerks
are hot to scuttle, they’ll cut one that works!
Pelosi: I hereby throw to earth my fruitless woe.
On this cause we’re united, so let’s go
reeneergized into the fight ahead
until this hateful scheme is left for dead!
Reid: This cause defines us; we’ll fight tooth and nail.
It’s our last stronghold, and we dare not fail![Exit all]
Act I, Scene 4. The King’s palace. King George, Queen Laura, Lord Rove, Parson Perkins, followers of the religious Right
King: Greetings, good Parson, may your churchly ways
bless this great land and brighten all its days.
Our recent re-election gives us cause
to thank our Holy Father up above
for all His blessings. And what brings you today
to ask this special visit? May our Queen,
in honor of her valued wifely gifts,
join with us here and add a helpful thought,
or maybe two, to what we say?
Perkins: That suits me fine.
All things that foster family values win
my praise. When spouses meet and interchange
their minds and hearts in conversations sweet,
my pulses, like a drum, beat in strong sympathy
And that, my King, now brings me here to ask
that you might turn our Kingdom to the task
of making sure that those in wedlock’s bands
be of mixed sexes when they join their hands.
The horses of perversion snort and neigh,
and far too many sodomites abound.
Now that those Donkeycrats just took a bashing,
can’t we give those gay marriages a bashing?
Rove: A worthy goal, and one that we might press
if circumstances on our chances smiled.
But too many Liberals, in laxness schooled,
will cast a vote that can’t be overruled.
We’re with you in our hearts on all the fronts –
abortion, stem-cell research, you just name it --
we’ll do our best to stymie it or blame it.
Queen: And I’ll expound, in talks across the Kingdom
that no child be left behind, in school or womb
and that all marriages keep in the bounds
of normal gender and tradition.
A woman’s sure, deft touch can sometimes help.
Perkins: No more than this? We vowed to you our vote,
exchanging it, we all thought, for your pledge
to wield strong family values as a wedge
fencing off Liberal wolves from Christian sheep.
Rove: Now calm down, Parson, get a grip on things.
These innuendoes rile our Jewish friends.
Why tick them off? Old Joe, the Duke of Lieberman --
best Donkeycrat our Party ever had --
good Richard, Earl of Perle, whose ardent voice
helped us design this Babylonian war,
the Earl of Mehlman, GOP Party Head,
the Duke of Specter, worthy moderate –
all these and many more crowd our large tent
with due civility and scant dissent.
Cheney: Recall too Lordling Fleischer, another
from among the tribes of Abraham whose
loyalty and service has sustained our
cause, at his press interviews, reminding
would-be-critics of our anti-Terror
policies to watch their words –or else!
Rove: And physicians of the Hebrew ilk
combating welfare schemes like Medicare
are strong allies and friends of influence.
We need their hearts and votes, so why embrace
an issue that offends the hook-nosed race?
[Angry murmurings from the Christian conservative gathering]
King: I love you all and do respect your cause,
but understand, good holy folk and true,
as God’s anointed, I do what I must .
Withdraw, friends, take a good, long walk and think
of all I the things I’ve done for you so far.
Consider those posteriors I’ve plunked
in big seats on so many Federal benches.
to argue for our values and traditions.
I couldn’t do better for you than I have
unless I junked and burned the Bill of Rights --
Rove: A course good Parson, not beyond our reach
if you but bend your patience and your service
to our designs. Let’s bide our time until
occasion and God’s grace shine forth for us.
Back off a bit for now, recall your place,
and let your duty still restrain your zeal.
Queen: And let me add my voice to this advice
for both our Kingdom’s and our Party’s weal.
[Exit King, Queen, and, Rove]
Perkins: Good friends in faith, I’m in no mood to halt
our noble efforts to enforce God’s laws
because of promises and declamations,
though spouted at us by a sitting King –
wind-pledges, puffery, the empty spate
of one too customed to impose his will.
Follower 1: We made this King of clay and now he turns
against the very hands that built his throne.
Prayer meeting next, good brethren, let’s contrive
to move our wishes forward.
Follower 2: We will speak further on this.
Perkis: A King who turns his shoulder on his Base
will stumble in his next election race.
[Exit Perkins and Followers]
Act I, Scene 5. Lord Cheney’s castle at an undisclosed location. Lord Cheney and Sir Libby.
Cheney: Thanks for thy needful services, good Sir,
rendered of late in the Plame-Wilson business.
Libby: It cheered me, Lord to undertake the task
that you and Fortune laid upon my door
to execute your wishes.
Cheney: When agent Plame and her vile Left-wing spouse
jointly took arms and raised a sea of quarrels
seeking to undermine our Babylonian war
with insubordinate attacks, we had no choice
but to expose her cover. Sir Libby,
you and good Lord Rove have served the Kingdom
well in this affair.
Libby: You made this rebel
couple learn what their foul deeds have brought
upon their heads.
Cheney: Especially Sir Wilson.
His that villainous Op-Ed piece in the Times,
railing against our motives and our cause
in Babylon still makes my molars grind
Libby: I trust he’s safely been exiled
from any enterprise that touches on
high state affairs so long as good King George
or any minions of our Party still
Cheney: Fear not.
Libby: Why then, my heart rests easy.
Let Wilson seek reward and favor from
the crew of Liberal scribes to whom he leaked
his information. There let him sup his fill
on their seditious buzzings and reports
and dine on all the slop that’s vomited
from their distasteful stew of calumnies!
Cheney: Ho ho! you speak with good hot pepper there!
Libby: One question yet disturbs my rest. A friend
of ours, Sir Novak, did release a tale
whose substance yet perhaps may implicate
us and our Palace staff. But know for sure
I’ll use all wiles and stratagems I can
to keep your hidden hand in this affair
clear of all scrutiny.
Cheney: And might not good
Lord Rove dispense disinformation to
aid our enterprise? He’s full of useful guile.
We know the timely wonders he’s performed
in all the King’s campaigns. He knows the mindset
of our Faith-based Base with more than mortal
cunning and can wind them like a well-set
clock to chime the tune of your commands. I
marvel at hisr gifts! How faithfully he
helped me beat the drum to call forth reasons
for our foundering war. We all are much in
need of him. But now the King speeds towards
these broad gates to confer with ourselves, Don
Gonzalez and Lord Rummy on several
weighty matters of the State. So I must
take your leave.
Libbe: Farewell, and I do pray your
businesses will blossom from your discourse.
Cheney: I doubt it nothing. My attendants, Sir,
will lead you homeward in the usual way.
[Enter King George, Lord Rummy, Don Gonzalez and attendants]
My liege, and nobles all, I bid you welcome.
I trust your journeys hither were attended
with cheer and comfort.
Gonzalez: With comfort yes, but Sir, the inky cloak
of darkness that accompanied my trip
while blindfolded I was conducted here
gave me much cause for wonder.
Cheney: Best safety
lies in caution, honored Lord. So in this vexed
post-9/11 world, where enemies
abound and breed, I find it meet to shroud
my whereabouts and their coordinates,
from outside guests and passing visitors,
even from those like thee of deepest trust.
Rummy: I like your secrecy. It answers to
the weighty needs of prudent policy
and meets with my consent. If, God forbid,
a member of our Court fell in the hands
of some jihadist tormentor, poor soul,
wracked sore with pain, he’d spill the beans on us
and do us all collateral damage.
King: Lord Cheney’s ways are wise. The less that’s breathed
of us and our affairs, the better for us all.
[to Gonzalez and Rummy] Now then, twin ministers, to thee I turn,
Lords of Injustice and Offense, speak each
in due succession. Don Gonzalez,
answer me first --how fares Injustice?
Gonzalez: Across this Land and to the globe’s far reaches
in all its branches, Sir, Injustice thrives.
Those named as enemy combatants stay
ensconced at Guantanamo under close guard.
No need for processes or trial to halt
our use of needed means to punish them.
We’ll glean what information that we can,
and keep them there confined with no set limit.
Cheney: Indeed, shame would it be to waste the fruits
and blessings of democracy on those
who scorn its offerings.
King: And goes this forward
smoothly? Do judges leave us free to prosecute
our foes without encumbering bars?
Cheney: Some cavil at our course and fall back on
murmurings of “civil liberties,” but most
accept our many arguments of State.
The multitude don’t give a fig about
souls whom we captured on the Afghan fields.
The world’s at war. Those days are gone when men
might walk in pre-post 9/11 liberty.
King: And our surveillance of those messages,
domestic and abroad, whose oversight
we hope might trap some would-be terrorists?
Need we submit to FISA for consent?
Gonzalez: No need. Lord Cheney and myself concur in this.
Let’s press ahead with speed and secrecy.
We’ve both let Admiral Hayden understand
the Fourth Amendment’s moldy arguments
must yield before our Kingdom’s pressing need
for strong security. Besides, Lord Rove
and oracles who read the polls confirm
our citizens don’t care for lawyers’ chatter
when Terror threatens.
Cheney: And even if they did,
it matters not. The laws are ours. They
and their execution lie within our grasp.
We’ll do what we think best and not be swayed
by grumblings from the vagrant mob.
Gonzalez: At Gitmo all is lawful. It’s carte blanche in fact,
so long as inner organs stay intact.
I’ve had it checked by our attorney, Yoo –
anything goes, short of the rack and screw.
King: Then all sits well for us. And do
those forced renditions move ahead?
Rummy: They do.
As you commanded, Lady Rice and I
consulted privily with chiefs of state
whose customs, unrestrained by lenient laws,
allow stern punishment to prisoners
To them we sent jihadists formerly
detained by us.
Gonzalez: With speed more rapid than
the cannon’s discharge, or the chaste
thoughts that escape a maiden’s heart, we shipped
them where a fate ‘tis best you know not of
awaits fell execution.
King: Let’s hope our friends,
the Kings of Poland, Hungary, Rumania
and their loyal ministers can twist from these
war-hardened enemies and hell-bent souls
such information as may serve us well
in our crusade against foam-frothing Terror.
Gonalez: So all of us do pray, my Lord.
Cheney: If not, then let them rot.
King: Lord Rummy, now’s
the time for your report. Give me the news
on things in Babylon. What victories
or at the least, what hopes for such might mark
the looked-for sunset of my reign?
Rummy: Like some
elusive bar of soap that slips out of
one’s hand inside an Abu Ghraib shower
stall, firm victory may slip beyond our
reach till as ex-King you wander Crawford’s plains.
But freedom’s on the march. Insurgency,
approaching closer to its final throes,
(as good Lord Cheney’s wisdom has revealed),
will yield if we stand firm.
Cheney: And may I add
this swelling note to the Imperial theme:
Free Enterprise gains ground in Babylon.
Although some blood be shed and monies lost,
and our exchequer shrunken just a tad,
bold mercenary captains, pockets full,
stream home with gold from the war-riven East
to stimulate more economic growth.
Rummy: Defense deals flourish like a humming hive,
and like Injustice, our war profits thrive.
King: Aye, that’s the tune our Party likes to sing.
What profits oil from Babylon would bring!
Cheney: Patience, my Lord, until these things mature
and pipelines and plumbing are made more secure
Gonzalez: Another legal plus that helps our cause
regards our armed defense contractors, who,
unbound by rules of war, can execute
whatever means they must or wish to use.
to fight insurgent suspects in Babylon.
Cheney: And main or kill them, for that matter.
Rummy: Or elsewhere as it suits our need.
King: Gentlemen, this is good news indeed
You’ll, keep me posted on it, won’t you now?
Gonzalez: You bet.
Rummy: Sure thing.
Cheney: We’ll take good care of things.
King: Tonight I’ll snooze more soundly knowing that
I’ll head back to the Palace. Blindfolds, please?
Cheney: Attendants, to your posts. Good evening, all.
[Exit King, Lord Rummy, Don Gonzalez]
Gun up the motors, drive them quickly home.
This settles well with our deep purposes.
Putting all power into private hands
removes all obstacles to our commands.
[Exit Lord Cheney]