05/17/2007 04:25 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Rove's Complaint

During an interview with Christopher Hitchens in New York magazine, Boris Kachka asked, "Has anyone in the Bush administration confided in you about being an atheist?"

"Well," he replied, "I don't talk that much to them --maybe people think I do. I know something which is known to few but is not a secret. Karl Rove is not a believer, and he doesn't shout it from the rooftops, but when asked, he answers quite honestly. I think the way he puts it is, 'I'm not fortunate enough to be a person of faith.'"

But there's an even greater secret about Karl Rove --that he derived his spin on the invasion of Iraq, the torture of captured suspects and the no-exit strategy, from Philip Roth's novella, Our Gang, a spoof of the Nixon administration. Although written in 1971 at the peak of the Vietnam war, it was startlingly prophetic about the gang currently occupying the White House. To quote from a speech by his character, Tricky Dixon:

"I will not for a moment hesitate to send our brave American fighting men over the border and into Denmark tonight, if that is what is necessary to prevent our children from having to fight the descendants of Eric the Red in the streets of (pointing with his pointer) Portland, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Norfolk, Wilmington, Charleston, Savanna, Jacksonville, Miami, Key Biscayne and, of course, points west....

"Now, quickly, let me make one thing very clear: this will not constitute an invasion, either. Once we have overrun the country, bombarded the major cities, devastated the countryside, destroyed the military, disarmed the citizenry, jailed the leaders of the Pro-Pornography government, and established in Copenhagen the government currently in exile so that, as Abraham Lincoln said, it shall not perish from this earth, we shall immediately withdraw our troops....[A] thorough interrogation is currently under way in the famous dungeons of the castle, in accordance with the rules laid down at the Geneva Convention, to which this country is a proud signatory."

Later on, journalists question the Secretary of Defense when he emerges from Walter Reed Hospital:

"Unconfirmed reports from various sources say [the president] was found dead at seven a.m. this morning."

"No comment."

"Can you tell us then why you were visiting him?"

"To find out his secret timetable for ending the war."

"Is there anybody other than the President who knows the secret timetable?"

"Of course not..."

"Not even his wife?"

"Well, actually, she thought she had it, when we called her this morning. But it was just an old train schedule between Washington and New York. She found it in one of his suits."