December 11, 2006 WASHINGTON, AP – President Bush on Monday opened three days of intensive consultations on Iraq, saying the United States and countries across the Middle East have a vital stake in helping the fragile government in Baghdad succeed. …Bush is under intense pressure to come up with a new approach in Iraq, particularly after the Republicans’ loss of Congress was blamed on the president’s handling of the war.
State Department Conference Room, Wednesday, December 13th. President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice are seated around the table as former President Jimmy Carter makes his exit.
Jimmy Carter: Y’all take care now and give my proposal some serious thought. Ah’m certain it’ll put you on the right track with the Sunnis and the Shiites and of equal importance, generate some much needed good will for the United States with the rest of the Middle East.
Rice: Thank you very, very much Mr. President. Your advice is greatly appreciated. As always.
(Carter leaves, closing the door behind him.)
Bush: Am I delirious or did I just see him stuff a sandwich into his pocket on the way out?
Cheney: That’s what happens when you exchange dinner at the Palm for bag lunches at Habitat for Humanity. Who’s next?
(Condoleeza Rice picks up a phone.)
Rice: Dr. Kissinger’s outside.
(Bush and Cheney groan.)
Cheney: Been in the United States 70 years and still talks like he’s the head waiter at a Liepzig beer garden.
Bush: And such a know it all.
(Rice gets up to open the door.)
Bush: Condi, hold up. I heard Henry was the inspiration for Dr. Strangelove in that Peter Sellers picture. That true?
Rice: I never heard that.
Bush: Call Langley for me will ‘ya? Have them check it out. I’d get a hell of laugh with that at the White House correspondents’ dinner.
(Rice opens the door and Bush rises to meet Henry Kissinger as he enters.)
Bush: Henry! Thanks for coming. You look terrific. Doesn’t he look great, Dick?
Cheney: Henry has to look terrific – it’s part of the consultant’s bill of rights.
Bush: Henry, remember when we last sought your advice on Iraq and you told Dick and I, ‘Victory over the insurgency is the only meaningful exit strategy’ and we all agreed wholeheartedly with your assessment and decided then and there to plow forward?
Kissinger: Yes, of course.
Bush: Do you remember what you told us to do after that? Dick and I can’t seem to recall and while I know for a fact that Powell was taking notes that day, he won’t return my calls.
Kissinger: Perhaps if I state my recommended course of action another way for you, it will help to clarify things a bit. The only meaningful exit strategy is victory over the insurgency.
Bush: Now it’s coming back to me! Dick, toss me that pen.
Rice: Hold on. It’s the same thing.
Bush: What’s the same thing?
Rice: It’s the same line he gave us three years ago when we asked for advice. He just transposed it.
Bush: What does that mean, transposed?
Kissinger:(Rises to leave.) I think I’ve said it all. Really. Follow my advice, remember to stay positive and things will be fine in no time at all.
Cheney: Henry! Wait. Just slow down a second.
(Kissinger stops, eyes darting nervously around the room.)
Cheney: What’s got into you? Didn’t you offer to help us?
Kissinger: Nothing is in me! Of course I offered to help. What are you talking about?
Cheney:(Almost a whisper.) Bob Woodward.
Kissinger: Where? Where is he hiding? (Playing to the rafters.) Mr. President, at the risk of repeating myself, I haven’t a clue as to what to do about Iraq! I thought this meeting was to plan a surprise party for Donny Rumsfeld. As we discussed, the balloons are in my car. I will get them now, if you please.
Cheney: Happy holidays, Henry.
Kissinger My sincerest apologies. This Woodward hack is killing me.
Cheney: Forget it. Who’s next?
(Kissinger rushes out of the room, pausing briefly to pull his coat over his head.. Rice picks up the phone again)
Rice: Alright, send him in. Do we know a Duane Chapman?
(The door opens and a man with a shoulder length mullet and tattoos down both arms wearing a black leather vest with no shirt and wraparound sunglasses enter the room.)
Cheney: Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about.
Bush:(Jumping up to shake hands.) Dog, the Bounty Hunter!
Dog: Hello Mr. President, Mr. Vice President. Ms. Condoleeza.
Dog: Thank you, no, I ate on the plane. Well, wait. What are you serving with it?
Rice: Serving with what?
Dog: The rice.
Rice: My last name is Rice, Mr. Chapman.
Dog: You know, I knew that.
Bush: What do you have for us, Dog?
Dog: Mr. President, the key to solving your problem in Iraq is bringing this Muqtada al-Sadr to justice. You get the head, the body will follow.
Cheney: You nailed it, Dog. And not to steal your thunder but I’m betting you want to volunteer to fly with your posse to Sadr City to hunt down, capture and drag that low down, murdering thief all the way to prison by his scruffy little beard, am I right?
(Bush and Cheney exchange high fives.)
Dog: Nooooo.. Quite frankly, the notion of being in Iraq scares us to death. I’m just telling you that it would be wise to send some people in to arrest that guy.
Rice: We’ve been trying to just that, Mr. Chapman, for more than a year.
Dog: Key is to get somebody to drop a dime on him. Give me the guy that lost his girl to Muqtada al Sadr and I’ll give you an address and a cell phone number for Mr. Muqtada al Sadr. That’s how it goes down in Oahu and I’ve been doing this a long time, gentlemen. And you too, Ms. Rice.
Cheney: Terrific, thanks for the tip, Duane. If we hear of any jilted Iraqi males moving to Hawaii, your country may call upon you.
Dog: I’d be honored, Mr. Vice President.
Cheney: Good to know. Now if you could excuse us please, we have another meeting scheduled to begin in a minute or so.
Bush: Dog, you think your wife Beth’d be interested in shooting down there for us? From what I’ve seen on your show she doesn’t take any shi…
Cheney: Drop it, will you?
(Dog swaggers out.) The guy’s wearing lifts for God sakes.
Bush:(Bush walks over to get a cup of coffee, singing softly to himself.) Who let the dogs out? Who, who, who, who?
Cheney: Knock it off, will you?
Bush: Who, who, who’s left in the bullpen, Condi?
(Rice picks up a list from the table.)
Rice: Kofi Annan, Jacques Chirac, Vladimir Putin, Tony Blair, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Hamid Karzai, Norman Lear…
Bush: Is he wearing that hat?
Rice: Don’t know. …John McCain, Hillary Clinton, Oliver North, King Abdullah and Jennifer Wilbanks.
Bush: Who’s Jennifer Wilbanks?
Rice: Remember the Runaway Bride, the woman that felt so overwhelmed with everything that she left her husband- to- be at the altar, ran away to New Mexico and faked her own kidnapping?.
Cheney: So when things got tough, she just ran away in the dead of night. Is that it?
Rice: That’s it.
Cheney: Finally! Something we can use. Bring her in, Condi.
Bush: I’ve always liked New Mexico. Lots of dead trees and bushes. What do you think, Dick? ‘Bush and Cheney’s Brush Clearing Service. No job too small.’
Cheney: Unless it’s in the Middle East.
Bush: That’s not funny! Although it might work for the correspondents’ dinner…
© 2006 The Monkey Bellhop and John Hartnett