Thu Nov 20,
5:33 PM ET
that the pre-Saddam-execution shopping frenzy has started, as bargain-hunters
camp out before Toys’R'Us to beat the last minute-rush. Bon vivants
have been stockpiling delectables for the parties which will mark
the event, and grocers report that “Butcher-of-Baghdad Farms” turkeys
have been selling like hotcakes.
Yet in all
this consumer-fervor, one figure steps forward, reminding us gently
of the real reason for the season: Neoconservative theologian Michael
being a boy, I remember when we celebrated the execution of our
enemies by going to church rather than to the mall,” Novak
told a group of Notre Dame religion students this week, in an
intimate gathering at the university coffee-shop.
“An event like
this calls for people of faith to express gratitude for the wonderful
achievements in Iraq.
It makes me envious, really, of all the Guardsmen and Reservists
who have been sent over there, while I’m stuck in a bleak old D.C.
think-tank,” he sighed.
“In any case…
anyone who needs proof of flourishing democracy in Iraq need only
consider Saddam’s trial — a civilized, proper trial in which only
three of the defense lawyers have been assassinated, ” Novak went
“Um, thus far,”
he added, glancing furtively at a CNN-attuned TV monitor in the
back corner of the room.
will mark the end of an era,” he continued, “the end of a grim era
which began when the United St — er, somebody — gave Hussein a boost
up on his ascent to tyrannical power in 1979.
That same nefarious
unknown party — clandestine Islamocommunists, I wouldn’t doubt,
the very gang that equipped & trained bin Laden in Afghanistan
— armed Hussein with weapons technology, both conventional and biological.
And they sponsored him financially and militarily throughout the
to the students that by finally stepping onto the scene and breaking
that terrible Ba’athist Era — replacing it with a democratic Sh’ia
Era — the U.S. has earned some much deserved self-kudos, and has
yet again proven its uniquely moral election by Providence.
Time,” he said, looking back on all the hard work that has gone
into plowing up the Crescent formerly known as “Fertile."
future’s so bright, they have got to wear shades. Congratulations,
Iraq! And congratulations to all our brave men and women of the
the witch is dead. Now it is time for the Munchkins to frolic and
dance in their quaint, ethnic manner.”
“But what does
executing Saddam have to do with the reasons you gave for going
to war?” asked one senior. “I thought back in 2003 you said we had
to invade Iraq because Hussein was a threat to the United States?
That he had a deadly arsenal of weapons-of-mass destruction? An
arsenal he was going to share with his bosom-buddies in Al Q’aida?
I don’t remember
any columns back then about ‘the incarnational significance of Judge
at the boos this comment elicited from her fellow-students.
With a gesture
Novak calmed the angry waters, and smiled benevolently upon her.
men build no bombs,” he quipped. “OK, so what I’m celebrating today
as ‘mission-accomplished’ is something I never even hinted
at 3 years ago as a causis belli.
But now, what
are you trying to hint at, young lady?” he chuckled.
“That I’m not
one of those gloomy people who dwell on details — such as the actual
reason employed over and over again by our neoconservative movement,
to rally the public behind the war?
Or are you
hinting that I’m an optimist?
Well — guilty,
and double-guilty as charged.
Python, I believe that we should always look on the bright side
began humming enthusiastically to himself while tapping out a beat
on his “College Republicans” coat-pin.
“OK. So there
were no nukes, true.
government in the Middle East amounts to ‘one shot, one kill,’ rather
than ‘one man, one vote’, and occasionally empowers people who would
like to see America’s chestnuts roasting on an open fire,” Novak
“But all that
means is that we should focus on this execution as something straightforward,
something tangible, something real — we’ve finally found a morale-boosting
rallying-sign of vindicating-victory so simple that it can't
be screwed up,” he said.
to glance once again at the flickering news-feed at the back of
“No, it can’t
be screwed up,” he repeated, more firmly.
his central theme, Novak did express reservations about the commercialization
of Saddam’s Execution-Day. He also criticized liberals’ efforts
to change the traditional greeting-card messages — such as “May
All Unholy Enemies of Jacobin Liberty Die Miserably” — into the
secularized, more-generic “Happy Kill-idays!”
you know, used to be common melodies during this time of year,”
Novak reminisced. “Now they are drowned out by advertising and political-correctness.
But even now there’s no school like the old school, and you don’t
need to run up your credit-card in order to make merry this Death-Row
He leaned forward
toward his youthful listeners.
“I don’t know
about you all, but personally, I intend to spend Saddam’s execution
with my family and some dear friends. And I recommend each one of
you do the same.
When you hear
the countdown, you should be gathered with your loved ones around
a piano, warming up the vocal chords for a rousing chorus of ‘Old
With a slight
puckering of his lips, he mused aloud: “I myself intend to be standing
next to my fellow-NRO columnist Andrew Sullivan, at the moment Saddam
asked Novak, who is Catholic, to talk about the disagreements he
has had with Benedict XVI regarding the Iraq War.
“Ah, that little
quibble,” lamented Novak.
From the very
beginning the Pope has adamantly opposed “Operation: Iraqi Freedom”,
making the controversial assertion that pre-emptive invasions based
on flawed evidence are forbidden by “Just War” philosophy. In spite
of this peacemongering stance, the Roman pontiff has stuck by his
claim that he does indeed love both Iraqis and freedom.
the Pope has every right to disagree with me on non-dogmatic matters,”
Novak replied. “Still, I wish he had considered my arguments a little
more carefully before making wild, ethically-dubious statements.
the day that America forswears pre-emptive strikes will be a day
that lives in infamy.”
became somewhat melancholy for a moment: “It’s understandable, though
— Benedict’s belief about what pre-emptive policies lead to. His
perspective is tainted by experience.”
Novak was optimistic,
however, that he would eventually bring the Vatican’s outlook in
line with first-strike military strategy — American foreign policy,
he explained, should take its cues from “that marvelous PreCrime
Unit depicted in the film Minority Report.”
As for Just
substantive will change with the coming of ‘Neojust War’. There
was Justice back then, and there’s Just-us now,” Novak reflected.
“I mean, what
if we had twiddled our thumbs during the Cold War — waiting until
the Soviet Union launched their ICBMs at us, before launching our
own at them?” he pointed out. “Think about it.”
nodded. Here at Notre Dame, it would seem that the bright future
leaders of America possess a keen respect for history.
trust but verify. And if the UN inspectors you send in to verify
come up with the wrong answers — well, nothing says ‘verification’
like 2,800 American lives placed upon the altar of regime-change.
We must do unto others before they can do unto us.”
The room fell
silent for a moment. One could have heard a pin drop.
what Saddam’s execution is all about, Charlie Brown,” concluded
Novak softly, and walked out.
“Bringing the glorious light of progress to your pathetically-backward
little corner of the Hegemony."
Former US Navy officer Jerry Salyer [send
him mail] has been deployed to the Persian Gulf, Mediterranean
Sea, and Pacific & Indian Oceans. He is currently at work on a comic
novel, tentatively-titled Patriotic Chore.”