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Acuna Matata

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Message Missy Beattie
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I’m terrified. I mean, I’m scared shitless, because someone has stepped in to replace al-Zarqawi as Iraq’s Most Terrifying after al-Zarqawi replaced Saddam and Saddam’s sons. This is a man with a name that is even scarier than the name Saddam, Uday, or Qusay. This name that now is scaring me is Abu Hamza al-Muhajer. That’s a name scarier than Ann Coulter. One that makes my underarms swoosh. And it almost certainly is an alias. An alias! This Egyptian-born terrorist might really be Abu Ayyub al-Masri. Any person with an alias has to be the worst possible evildoer.

Whatever he’s called, he was an associate of al-Zarqawi who was an associate of Osama bin Laden and all this is horrifying. It doesn’t matter that al-Zarqawi is dead. I’ve seen the photograph of the blood-stained face. This is the stuff of nightmares. It’s Freddy Kruger. It’s “Nightmare in a Safe House” outside the village of Hibbib, 35 miles north of Baghdad, which is eerily ironic (safe house?) and that makes it even worse. Excuse me if I have to say that I’m scared shitless over and over but it’s therapeutic to identify and frame my fear. And speaking of frame—I can’t help but wonder why that picture of al-Zarqawi’s dead face was in a decorative frame as if it will be displayed trophy-like in some lovely room. Perhaps it will hang in our Father George and Mother Laura’s White House bedroom. Or dining room.

I feel calmer when I listen to President Daddy. While being cautiously optimistic, he feels great satisfaction that al-Zarqawi is dead. He said as much. Daddy understood al-Zarqawi, who seemed obsessed with killing. Daddy, himself, only kills bad people though, and his polls have received a bounce now that this frightening presence has been eliminated. So that has to mean I should feel a little more secure except for the fact that an 18-month long study by the Oxford Research Group says “the war on terror is failing…that the risks of future terrorist attacks on the scale of New York, Madrid or London are more likely.”

But why should we believe this group when we can look to President Daddy for the answers? Oxford Research? Do they think we’re stupid? If you were offered Oxford Research or Bush Research, which would you believe? Plus, I’m trying to ignore those people who do the independent gathering of facts because I really want to trust Daddy’s presentation of the world—a world he’s making safer by spreading Democracy. After all, he’s being honest, telling us that while the killing of Zarqawi, a man who didn’t value human life, is significant, we still have hard times ahead. I applaud his forthrighteousness. For example, just hours after he returned from Baghdad, Daddy said troop withdrawal would set back counterterrorism efforts. “The challenges…are serious and they will require more sacrifice and patience.” I thought it was especially cute when he said, “The answer to electricity is, sooner the better. I mean, it’s hot over there.” I’m glad he’s not making good on that decision to use more sophisticated language. And I’m going to allow him to use the word I just created—forthrighteousness.

I’m also pleased that Daddy’s friend, Uncle Karl, has been vindicated and is forcefully sounding off on behalf of his party. He said if the Democrats had had their way and we’d pulled out of Iraq in April, we wouldn’t have gotten this terrible killer al-Zarqawi. I’m not about to mention that “if we hadn’t invaded Iraq in the first place, al-Zarqawi wouldn’t have been there,” because, like Daddy, Uncle Karl is working to keep us safe from evildoers.

Then, I think of al-Zarqawi’s face with all that blood and hear that his successor is pledging allegiance to bin Laden with an ‘all of us are under your banner. With God’s permission, victory is real,” and here we go again. I’m scared shitless.

Quite honestly, though, I think Daddy’s using some psychology. One minute he wants me to feel safe and the next, he’s indicating that I should be scared shitless. It’s as if he likes holding that fear over my head like a guillotine about to drop. But I know he loves me and if he wants me to be afraid, it has to be for my own good. It’s because he cares. He’s compassionate. He looks people in the eye. Remember, he saw Vladimir Putin’s soul. And he’s the “compassionate conservative.” And a “uniter.” I know he’s concerned with my happiness. And he understands the fright/flight response. Or is it the fright/fight response? What does it matter?

Acuna matata.
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Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She's written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she's a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a (more...)
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