(In the background, shouts of "Peron! Peron! Peron! Viva Evita!")
Peron: Ah, the good old days. But Bush, you have been listening to me and have set your country on its course for total bankruptcy and the destruction of all human liberty.
Bush: You can’t know how grateful I am. It takes a whole lot of work to wreck a country, but with your example, it has become easy.
Peron: Yes, before I took over in Argentina, it had a strong economy and was regarded as a prosperous and developed nation. Then, I started printing money and the rest followed. I called it "Justicialism" because it was so just and soon, the money was worth nothing. But everyone kept cheering.
Bush: Well, how did you manage that?
Peron: I made great speeches, and, of course, I had a secret weapon, Evita.
Bush: You mean….?
Peron: Yes, you have Laura. Everyone loves her. When she speaks, everyone forgets what you have been doing and they start to believe again.
Bush: What happened when things got really bad? I mean, they’re really bad here now.
Peron: I got rid of the opposition and shut down the press. I made them close La Prenza and put them in jail. No news is good news.
Bush: Where did I hear that before?
Peron: You must have been talking to someone else. It’s not a new idea.
Bush: I got myself in a helluva mess in Iraq. What do you think I should do?
Peron: For one thing, you are on the wrong side. This entire democracy thing is going nowhere. Give it up. You should sell the real American model, which is state control. It will go down well.
Bush: But that’s what they had under Saddam Hussein.
Peron: Precisely the point. Saddam was my kind of man. And after all, he was your baby once. Your C.I.A. told him to knock off hundreds of people, and he did it. They were the guys the Americans didn’t trust. They were for democracy; you know, professors, lawyers, doctors, journalists and the like. So you got rid of all the best people in Iraq. No wonder Iraq can’t get its act together. You got rid of all the ones who might have pulled it off.
Bush: Got to make sure that’s kept a secret. Lemme phone up Porter Goss to make sure that stuff is under wraps.
Peron: Not to worry. The New York Times will never print it anyway.
Bush: Why not? Hey, they hate me.
Peron: They hate you but they do not hate the system. They hate you because they are convinced you are wrecking the system they feed on. Remember that they suppressed the story about the Bay of Pigs because the C.I.A. told them not to write about it. They are part of the game.
Bush: I can pay some journalists to cock up stories. Gotta do that. Lemme phone up Rove.
Peron: The GAO said that was illegal. You should get rid of them.
Bush: Right! I’ll get my own accountants.
Peron: That is essential. Never let anyone else check out your books. That’s a big mistake.
Bush: So, Iraq?
Peron: You can’t put Saddam back, but there are surely others who can take his place. It’s the only solution.
Bush: But once they found out there were no WMDs, democracy became the reason for the war. Transform the Middle East. Make the world safe for democracy.
Peron: That’s the one Freud’s nephew gave to Wilson as an excuse for getting into World War I, after he promised not to do it. And you know where that led. Not to democracy, but to Adolph Hitler. So maybe it’s wasn’t such a hot idea to use Sauce Bernays.
Bush: Don’t know what you’re talkin’ about.
Peron: Forget it.
Bush: So, if you were so smart, how come you got thrown out?
Peron: I wasn’t defeated in an election. My own military turned on me.
Bush: I can’t believe it. What a bunch of ingrates.
Peron: Tell me about it. I started having problems paying them because the money wasn’t worth anything.
Bush: I’m sort of having the same problem. Not enough money to reimburse the soldiers who had to buy their own armor and other equipment. I mean, it’s not as though I didn’t want to do it. I just didn’t have the cash.
Peron: I would watch my back if I were you.
Bush: You mean…?
Peron: Yes. Hire a food taster. It’s an imperative. And make sure you’re bags are packed.
Bush: But where would I go?
Peron: I understand Chalabi has villas for rent.
Bush: You mean….?
Peron: Exactly. Convert.
Bush: Shi’ite or Sunni?
Peron: At this point, I stop giving advice.
Richard Cummings [send him mail] taught international law at the Haile Selassie I University and before that, was Attorney-Advisor with the Office of General Counsel of the Near East South Asia region of U.S.A.I.D, where he was responsible for the legal work pertaining to the aid program in Israel, Jordan, Pakistan and Afghanistan. He is the author of a new novel, The Immortalists, as well as The Pied Piper — Allard K. Lowenstein and the Liberal Dream, and the comedy, Soccer Moms From Hell. He holds a Ph.D. in Social and Political Sciences from Cambridge University and is a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers. He is writing a new book, The Road To Baghdad — The Money Trail Behind The War In Iraq. He is a contribution editor for The American Conservative.