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Sherman Yellen Headshot

Regifting Iraq

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Nancy Reagan does it. Jackie Kennedy did it, and it's likely that your mother or your wife, and any number of your friends, male and female, do it too. It happens quite often this time of year during the holiday season. It's known as re-gifting. It means taking that gift that you don't want, and can't use, rewrapping it, and passing it on to another with your loving card enclosed. The only hard rule is to first check the package out so that the original gift giver's card is not enclosed, make sure that all telltale signs of age are dusted off, and some new ribbon and a sticky backed silver bow is stuck on the package to salve the conscience of the giver. I know it because I've done it too. What would Christmas be without someone's re-gifted fruit-cake, ugly, ornate picture frame, never to be tasted apricot cordial or untouched, okay slightly nibbled Belgian chocolates? And now our President has been trying to re-gift the Iraq war.

Bush has been rushing about the world hoping to find some Eastern European, Mid-East country or international organization foolish enough to take on his gift of this war. They won't accept it and we are stuck with it, and if he can't pass it along he won't just toss it away and get our troops home anytime soon. Trouble is he can't fool anyone with this gift, he can't rewrap it well enough to deceive any taker; his clumsy fingers can't tie the ribbon. Where is the good Laura now that he needs her? But she's off planning elaborate holiday menus for the White House while Iraq burns and our soldiers die. She is no doubt trying to keep an eye on those would be Hilton sisters, her giddy, gadabout twins. The gift our President is trying so desperately to re-package is a hard one to stick a name on, first he called it the little WMD war, then the "war to bring democracy to the Middle East" and now "A War that dares not speak it's name" - psst!!! A Civil war but don't let anyone know." This is a war in the shape of Pandora's Box. Our President probably doesn't know his Greek mythology since they didn't teach it in Frat-Boy 101 - and it's not on his current reading list, but he has lots in common with this Pandora character and he should get to know her better.

Pandora - for those of you too young to remember her - was the first woman created by the Greek God Zeus. Zeus was angry that mankind had been given the gift of fire, something he wanted to keep for the Gods alone, and to punish the human world, he created the first girl Pandora (meaning all gifted). All the other gods gave her their specialty shop gifts; beauty, wealth, health, and of course, that infamous box or jar, telling her that she was never to open it. So what did the foolish girl do? You got it, she opened that box and out flew all the misfortunes that would evermore plague mankind; disease, poverty, pain, you name it, out they came. All except hope. Finally, Pandora took a second look and out flew hope, allowing mankind some respite from a life of constant anguish and grief.

Bush is our very own Pandora. He has been given all the gifts of the gods; wealth, health, fine schools, a powerful family, every opportunity known to man, and he still stupidly opened Pandora's Box and released into the world much of the evil contained within it. But where's the hope? Not in the pathetically named Iraqi Study Group which promises to offer fuddy-duddy solutions to extreme problems; weak tea when what is needed is very strong medicine. Still, hope is there if you look for it. You can see it in a Democratic run congress that might (and I mean might) find its spine and stand up to our modern day Pandora by investigating the evils he has let loose - starting with his lies that led to a war, and focusing on the corruption of his government with its war profiteers and its indifference to the welfare of the average citizen. And there's hope in an electorate that is growing up and deciding that this amiable fellow they once wanted to have that beer with is truly bad for their health and that of their kids, and their country. You can't put the lid back on Pandora's box, but you can hold our Pandora accountable at last, and that's a new beginning.