WASHINGTON — The Boy Emperor picked up the
morning paper and, stunned, dropped his Juicy Juice box
with the little straw attached.
"Oh, man," he wailed. "North Korea's got
nukes. Sheriff Musharraf was helping them. Al Qaeda's blowing stuff up
The Pentagon's speculating that the sniper might really be Qaeda decoy teams trying to distract the law while they plan a
bio-blitzkrieg or a dirty bomb attack on the capital. Tenet's broken out in hives about the next 9/11. Powell spends all his time
kissing up to the Frenchies. Saddam's ranting about a river of American blood. Jebbie's in a world of hurt. The economy's
cratering. At least Karl says our war strategy will open up a can of Election Day whoop on Congressional Democrats.
"This is not the way my new doctrine was
supposed to work. We are supposed to decide who we pre-empt and when
we pre-empt them. The speechwriters called it an Axis of Evil, but it was really just a Spoke of Evil. Condi and Rummy
said once we finished off Saddam, nobody would mess with America again. But everything's gotten fuzzier than fuzzy math.
Some people are actually talking about my doctrine leading to World War III!!! Karl says that would be bad."
The Boy Emperor was starting to feel bamboozled
by his war tutors. He needed a fresh perspective. There was a guy on
TV with a round face and deep voice running around Provence, London and Berlin, where he suggested Schröder resign.
He was pre-eminent on pre-emption. The Boy summoned him to explain the Bush doctrine.
"Do I know you?" he asked his visitor.
"I am the chairman of your Defense Policy Board,"
an amused Richard Perle replied. "I am an adviser to Rumsfeld,
a friend of Wolfowitz's and a thorn in Powell's medals. Je suis un gourmand, Monsieur le President. I have always
dreamed of opening a chain of fast-food soufflé shops based on a machine that would automatically separate eggs,
beat the yolks and combine them with hot milk and sugar, add the desired flavorings, whip the whites until stiff,
fold them into the mixture and bake in individual pots without human intervention. Then conveyor belts would bring the
glass-enclosed ovens to the table and patrons would get to see their meals rise. I've never found investors smart enough
to realize the dazzling ingenuity of the Perle Soufflé Doctrine. Meanwhile, I'm killing time trying to get your foreign policy
to rise. I'm known as the Prince of Darkness."
"I persuaded Reagan to ignore the weak-kneed,
striped-pants set at the State Department and buy every weapon in sight
until the Evil Empire was scared stiffer than a perfectly executed meringue."
"But why are we going after a lunatic in
Iraq for planning to make a bomb and not a lunatic in North Korea who already
has bombs?" the Boy asked.
"At the end of the day," Perle replied, his voice dripping with patience for his student, "Iraq is an easy kill."
"But if North Korea can deter us by brandishing
a nuclear weapon," the Boy pressed, "why can't we deter Saddam by
brandishing a nuclear weapon?"
"You must puncture the soufflé before it rises," Perle instructed.
"Why are we mad at North Korea for flouting
its international agreements when we flout our international agreements?"
the Boy wondered.
"You cannot make sublime crêpes suzette without a fire," Perle lectured.
"Didn't you insist that Saddam and Al Qaeda were linked?" the Boy persisted.
"We made that up," Perle shrugged. "You
have to be imaginative, as Audrey Hepburn was in `Sabrina' when she offered
to make Bogie a soufflé out of saltines and eggs. As the Baron told Sabrina: `A woman happily in love, she burns the soufflé.
A woman unhappily in love, she forgets to turn on the oven!' "
"Huh?" the Boy said. "Tony and Colin told
me to stop talking about `regime change' and instead say, `War is a last
and stop talking about a `pre-emptive strike' and instead say, `War is not imminent.' "
"They're sissies," Perle said, his lip curling
with an epicene disdain.
"You cannot deliver the sashimi unless you use the blade."
The Boy Emperor was more befuddled than ever.
"Get me Condi!" he yelled. "And a peanut butter and jelly sandwich."
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