Larry: We’ve got Al Cibiades here tonight. He’s the author of a new book, "All Roads Lead to Sicily" and, as most of you know, was a big hero in the Peloponnesian war. Great to have you, Al. Can I call you Al?"
Al: Call me Al!
Larry: Call me Al. I love it. Paul Simon. Let’s cut to the chase. Why Sicily?
Al: The whole idea, the grand concept, was if we, the Athenians, invaded and conquered Sicily, it would shut down the Spartans.
Larry: In hindsight, it wasn’t such a great idea, right?
Al: Well, we had a terrific leader, Pericles, who happened to be my uncle. He had great speechwriters, like Bush. I loved that line, "The Axis of Evil." Bush’s guys took their stuff straight from Pericles, particularly the funeral oration. "We guys are great, our enemies stink." Terrific stuff. It works every time. It sure worked in Athens. Everyone got with the war.
Larry: But it didn’t end so good. You lost the war.
Al: Yeah, in the end we lost, but the strategy was perfect.
Larry: So let’s talk about the book. It must have been painful to write.
Al: Hey, I got a big enough advance. I’m like Bush’s guy, Richard Perle, who lives in France. He says now that they made a big mistake in Iraq. There was no follow up plan. I left Athens, myself. Hada get outa there. Switched sides and supported Sparta for a while. Hey, if they pay you, get with the money. I’m told that Perle did deals with the Saudis. Same stuff.
Larry: And Bush is kinda like you, too. His dad was president, Pericles was your uncle.
Al: No question stuff like that helps get you the big jobs.
Larry: So what do you think of the strategy to invade Iraq?
Al: As I see it, they were reading up on my strategy and Pericles’ speeches. They must a concluded that the only problem I had was that I didn’t have their weapons. We had ships, good ones, and let’s not forget that guys made big bucks on the deals to build them. I got something out of that, don’t you worry. It paid for my exile and my place in Deer Hill.
Larry: You ticked off everyone, didn’t you? The Spartans, the Athenians, the Persians and the Thracians.
Al, chuckling: Just like Bush. The Germans, the French, the Mexicans, hey, even the Canadians.
Larry: So what would you tell Bush now?
Al: Go for it. Attack Sicily, definitely.
Larry: Fast, one good reason.
Al: It’s a lot easier than Iraq. Not so big to occupy, and a lot less dangerous.
Larry: But will it help in the war on terrorism?
Al: Why should he care about that? Halliburton can get a lot of contracts restoring the olive oil supply. It’s stock will keep going up.
Larry: But won’t everyone end up as anxious to get rid of Bush as they were to get rid of you? They were out to kill you. Won’t they be out to get Dubya?
Al: Hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained. So, he might lose the election. Do they remember that I lost? No. They remember that I was a hero and a big shot.
Larry: It’s been great having you. I hope you can come back. And good luck with the book.
Al: Great being here, Larry.
Larry: Al Cibiades, you gotta love him.
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.