Changing Regimes Can Get a Little Tricky

The next episode of that laff-riot, the Arab-Israeli tussle, is entitled Operation Vidkun. A word of explanation: Please recall that in the previous episode, Marcus Aurelius Bush published a Presidential rescript decreeing that regime change be imposed on Yasir Arafat. The Presidential bull further required Mr. Arafat to retire to Hollywood, where he is to act as a consultant on the making of the forthcoming musical comedy, Yes Sir, Yasir .

Regime change, of course, is not complete until a new person has been substituted for the old. Hence Operation Vidkun, so named in honor of Vidkun Abraham Lauritz Jonsson Quisling, born at Fyresdal, Norway, on July 18, 1887, and shot by a firing squad at Akerhus Fortress, Oslo, on Oct. 24, 1945. Immediately prior to his being found guilty of high treason, Vidkun had served with a certain distinction (he sent no fewer than 1,000 Jews to their deaths) as premier of Norway, not so much elected by the Norwegian people as sponsored by Adolf Hitler. For a time in the mid-20th century, the very name Quisling was synonymous for a puppet governor. So, gang, let’s spread out and find an Arabic Vidkun and stick him in there.

This regime-change stuff can be tricky. Apparently Georgie Porgie took a whack at it a couple of months ago in Venezuela and succeeded so well that he maintained in office a president so unpopular that he probably would have been forced out had it not been for the botched attempt at regime change. To make matters worse, a few of your more cheeky Ayrabs are going around talking about a regime change in Washington, D.C. Is there anything more against the peace process than that?

Perhaps George should consider something a little less drastic, something that he could call “regime switch.” Saddam Hussein could be sent to run the Palestine entity or whatever the hell name you want to give that mess. Yasir would be dispatched to rule Iraq or maybe Afghanistan, with Hamid Karzai put in charge of things on the West Bank. The way things are proceeding in Afghanistan, Hamid may be begging for a little regime change, even though Mr. Bush just put him in there in the top job.

One of Mr. Karzai’s vice presidents, Hajji Abdul Qadir, recently got gunned down along with his bodyguards in the streets of Kabul, for reasons which remain a little opaque. He may have been the victim of what our news services describe as “a traditional Afghan wedding celebration, during which the bride and groom and their closest relatives shoot everyone in sight with tracer bullets in a joyous seizure of connubial enthusiasm.” Another possible motive for Qadir’s abrupt departure for a face-to-face with Allah, which has been bruited about on the pages of The New York Times , has to do with payments made or not made for opium and/or heroin. Nevertheless, although we mourn the loss of comrade Qadir, the post-Taliban revival of the heroin trade shows that things are getting back to normal and that the Afghan economy is recovering quite nicely, thank you.

Mr. Karzai, instead of playing the part of a far-seeing leader (as his lines have been scripted), is showing signs of the kind of behavior that makes a man eligible for regime change. He has indicated a certain sympathy for the Kakrak villagers, who are complaining that 40 or 50 members of their community were killed in an air attack. Where is their patriotism? I mean, U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! President Bush has repeatedly told us that we must sacrifice for freedom, but apparently his message hasn’t gotten through to Kakrak. Kakrak has to do its part in the war against terrorism-and if that entails a few losses, we stand ready to supply the coffins, flags, grief consultants and bagpipes appropriate to such occasions. Yet another example of American generosity, offered in spite of the Kakrakians having gone ahead with a wedding without so much as a by-your-leave from the Pentagon. If these people are going to be bullheaded about the ample warnings given them and go ahead with their weddings and things without prior notification to the Pentagon, they shouldn’t complain if the airplanes come and some of them get shot a little bit. Apparently they have no appreciation of the sacrifices the American people have made.

The ingratitude! But we have to take into account that they are Muslims, which used to be O.K. back in the days when the parsons sermonized about the Three People of the Book, but latterly the Muslims have been demoted because it’s been found out that their religion isn’t as good as what the Jews and the Christians have got. Then there are others who maintain that it is as good as what the Jews and the Christians have got, but that the Muslims don’t rightly understand Islam, which would be an O.K. faith if they would allow the Jews and the Christians to explain it to them.

There are a lot of things wrong with the practice of Islam. They pray too many times every day; the boys wear towels on their heads, which is why they go postal in hot weather; they don’t allow the girls to show off their breasts; and, rumor has it, in those mosque schools of theirs, the teachers aren’t allowed to bugger the little boys. And they call that a first-class religion? I don’t think so.

The deep thinkers at the RAND Corporation and the Center for Strategic Studies are circulating memos arguing against the regime-change approach. They favor the faith-change approach. Make the Muslims undergo baptism, give Allah the old heave-ho and get right with Jesus-or make them get right with Jesus. Whatever. The trouble is your ordinary Ayrabs can get sneaky on you. They’ve been known to take a drink and get laid in order to fool the government into thinking they’re not terrorists. So it isn’t enough to have ’em say they accept Jesus as their personal savior. They could be lying. However, there is a way to tell if they’re being sincere and have truly given up Islam. Do what they do in George Bush’s church to test for sincerity: Before they dip ’em, they give ’em, each one, one of those little old coral snakes-you know, the kind that kills in 10 seconds-and your new member has got to hold the little old snake and let it slither around. If the old snake don’t bite, it’s on account of God, which means you’re not faking it.

The other way to go about settling this whole thing is based on a known geological fact, which is why most of the oil is to be found where the Ayrabs are. Science has shown that when Ayrabs die, they don’t go to dust like Christians and Jews. They turn to oil. One dead Ayrab will give you about three-quarters of a barrel of sweet crude, assuming the dead Ayrab in question is a full-grown adult; your yield on a dead Ayrab baby is going to be less. You need to expect that. This scientific geological fact has public-policy implications, as they say, and may explain why President Bush is keeping the United States out of that infernal International Criminal Court.

So we’ll have to see what develops there, but in the meantime this looking for Vidkun isn’t going too well. They’ve posted the job: “Wanted: Palestine honcho position. Housing included, but you’ll have to fix the roof and watch out for the Israeli Defense Force guy with the flamethrower when you sit down to use the toilet-which, by the way, doesn’t flush, because there’s no water. Salary: All you can steal. Equal Opportunity Employer. No Jews need apply.”

Changing Regimes Can Get a Little Tricky