Jailhouse talk clears up why Iraq is a menace
Driving through the Midwest a few weeks ago I became involved in a minor disagreement with law enforcement officials. That night, I didn’t have to worry about getting a hotel room, thanks to the taxpayers of (town name and prisoners names withheld due to pending gag order litigation).
I was sitting in the cell with three tough-looking guys and a wimp, watching TV and talking the usual jailhouse talk.
We talked about why each of us was in the pokey, what we were going to do when we got out, our girls and our past crimes the cops didn’t know about.
Significantly, none of us had done anything wrong. We had all been in the wrong place at the wrong time. A few hours into my visit, the guards opened the door and escorted a new visitor into the cell. The new guy was a young man – late teens or early twenties. He took his seat in the room, and it wasn’t long before the conversation turned his way.
“So what are you in for?” asked the toughest looking guy, who was in because the cops said he beat up his wife. He insisted she accidentally fell down the stairs. He was sure that soon she would corroborate his story.
The kid stared at the floor between his legs. He seemed scared and upset. He looked up and said, “That damn George Bush put me here!”
“Oh yeah,” smiled the tough guy. “Hey everybody, we got a guest of the president. Now why’d he put a nice lookin’ boy like you in here?”
“I was protesting the war. I don’t believe we should spill blood for oil. We’re going to kill thousands of Iraqi people just to get their oil.”
It was hard to believe my ears. It was just my luck to end up in the joint, the big house, the slammer – with a peace protester.
I thought, maybe I can make bail.
“You know, I’m concerned about this war too,” I said. “But can you name me a time in recent history when we invaded a sovereign country, with the exception of our own, to confiscate their resources?”
“There’s a first time,” the peacenik replied. “George Bush is all about the oil, and he’s willing to kill for it.”
The peace protester was rewriting history. Probably not worth it, but, a good argument is a good argument. “So you think we’re going to kill thousands of innocent Iraqis?”
“Our bombs can take out the city of Baghdad in an hour.”
“That’s true,” I said. “But we didn’t do that in the last war. I think we’re looking to help the people of Iraq.”
“George Bush is a death machine,” the protester replied. “He’s a cowboy willing to kill Iraqi citizens for no reason at all.” The boy did a fine job of mimicking the liberal rant.
“What about Saddam?”
“What’s he got to do with this?”
That didn’t surprise me.
“In 1990, Saddam invaded Kuwait for their oil. One-and-a-half million people have died at the hands of Hussein – most Iraqi citizens. Every day in Iraq, the regime rapes women in front of their husbands, they kill children in front of their parents, they cut the tongues out of their citizens who protest against the government like you did today.”
“The guy’s an ass,” Wife Beater No. 1 said.
“We need to let the inspections work,” Peacenik said.
“According to chief inspector Hans Blix, Saddam’s evading and lying to inspectors. Only now that we’ve built up our forces in the Gulf and presented him with an imminent threat is he giving in to inspectors’ demands. Seems to me you should direct your peace message to Saddam, not George Bush.”
“George Bush is making us imperialist bullies. We’re going at this without the support of the world.”
Again, I had him on the facts.
“Actually, more than 30 countries are with us, including the United Arab Emirates. Only three are not, and those three – France, Germany and Russia – do business with Iraq. They send millions of dollars to Hussein. Does he share it with his people? No, he just builds another palace for himself. Is that right?”
I didn’t remind him that the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1441. It didn’t ask Iraq to submit to inspections but required Iraq to disarm.
“My grandpa died helping to save France’s lily white asses in World War II,” said the Armed Robber.
“Your grandpa was a great man,” I said. “It’s important we never forget his sacrifice and the sacrifice of our forces today.”
“George Bush is just doing this because Hussein tried to assassinate his father,” the Peacenik blurted out.
I shook feverishly, hands on head, hardly believing what I heard. “Do you really believe one man, George Bush, is that powerful in this country? Do you really believe George Bush is doing all this by himself? What government history lesson did you hear?”
“He’s got everyone around him brainwashed. They’re all tied to oil corporations and profits, and pretty soon, women won’t have the right to choose.”
I looked at the scared kid sitting in the corner, spewing the rant. I wondered about his true motivation. I wanted to remind him that Republicans won the House, Senate and majority of governorships last election – so the majority of Americans made their choice pretty plain. I thought, what’s the use? I pulled my hat down, closed my eyes and waited for the judge.
Jeff Shibley lives in Dillon. Of late, he has become the “conservative” panel member on the RSN show Summit Speak Out.
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