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Sunday, March 14, 2004

"What do you mean by that?"

My close friends and family may recognize the title of this entry as my stock sarcastic reply to anyone who has made the mistake of saying something painfully obvious.

If someone is really dense (or doesn’t know me well), they may endeavor to rephrase their original statement…to which I will reply something like, “Yeah, but what are you trying to say?”

By the second or third time around, even the dullest bulb will have figured out that I’m having a little fun at their expense…and the truly room temperature I.Q.s just give up and leave me alone.

For the longest time, I have been assuming that GWB and his merry band of world leaders were carrying on with a diplomatic version of my sarcastic game. I mean, even Neville Chamberlain can be forgiven for not catching on to Hitler’s true intentions because he was desperately trying to believe the lies coming out of Hitler' mouth. The fact is, Hitler declared WWII sometime in the early 30’s...he just didn’t come out and tell the rest of the world in so many words. However, world leaders today can’t fall back on this excuse because the bad guys are actually telling us ‘what they mean!’

Pakistan shares nuclear technology with North Korea and Iran (and then grants clemency to the scientist who did the sharing). Quothe the Pakistani Premier, “Oops, my bad.”

The world’s response, “OK, but make sure you close that barn door before any more of those pesky ‘nuclear horses' get out.” Hmmm…what are they trying to say?

Iran has frozen inspections of its nuclear facilities (this after playing the diplomatic community like a violin). They are basically saying, “OK, we don’t like the way you worded your condemnation of our intransigence, so we will now lock out your inspectors and do exactly what you suspected we were doing all along!”

The response of our esteemed world leaders: “Ok, but what are you saying?”

North Korea is holding the world hostage, stating, “If you don’t feed and clothe our citizens (something we can’t manage to do ourselves…you see we’re a little short on cash this month due to military spending and a failed economic system), we will develop a nuclear and chemical arsenal that’ll make you long for these giddy days of simple blackmail and coercion! Oh the heck with it…who’s kidding who…we’re gonna develop all that stuff anyway. Just fork over the money!”

In response, the world community sits down and agonizes over how strongly worded a statement will properly express the sentiment, “What do you mean by that?”

Al-Qaida comes out and claims credit for the Spanish train bombing saying, “We declare our responsibility for what happened in Madrid…it is our response for your collaboration with the criminals Bush and his allies”. And just in case somebody might still hold out hope of finding some common ground, they end it with, “You love life and we love death”. Oh, and for those people who insist on fair warning before an attack...In a previous video, Bin Laden - in Babe Ruth style - actually came out and called his shot, when he mentioned, "The tragedy of Andalusia". For those of you who snoozed through 10th grade history, this is a reference to the conquering in 1492 of the Muslim Kingdom of Granada (Spain) by the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella. So to review the situation in Spain...anyone who thinks the Muslim extremists don't follow through on threats would say, well, exactly what the the Spanish Prime Minister said this week: “Authorities can’t verify the veracity of the video claim.” In essence, he is saying, “What did they mean by that?”

Maybe the senior staffers who are responsible for briefing Dubya and the various other world leaders need to add more pictures and diagrams to the briefing packages. Clearly a lot of information is not being absorbed.

One doesn't exactly need a doctorate in history to detect a growing trend. I think it’s time we finally admit that we may have slept through the opening bell of WWIII. Sure the bad guys don’t have nifty uniforms and catchy theme songs…but you can’t accuse them of being vague about their intentions. Unfortunately, the response of the world leaders (when there has been any response at all) has been alarmingly similar to that Robin Williams parody of an unarmed British policeman: "Stop...or I'll say 'stop' again!"

The only possible upside to all these world leaders being asleep at the switch is that I may have finally identified a few people with attention spans shorter than mine!

By the way, if you want to read a really prescient article...I'm talking Nostradamus-quality foresight...check out this thoughtful peice from 2001 called, "What's Osama Talking About?" by Chris Suellentrop

Posted by David Bogner on March 14, 2004 | Permalink

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My title would have read, "What's your point?!"

Posted by: Avremi G | Mar 16, 2004 2:49:07 AM

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