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Guided Missive

Crank Call


Published April 19, 2006 at 4:00 p.m.

I am a victim of terrorism! I have intelligence information for the president!"

- Brian Lee Patterson, 40, after scaling the White House fence on April 9, "looking distraught" and "screaming incoherently".

"Patterson apparently has made a habit of crashing the president's house. According to the Secret Service, this is the fourth time the Albuquerque native has been arrested for unlawfully entering the White House grounds."

-- Elites-TV News Service

TO: George W. Bush

FROM: Peter Kurth

SUBJECT: "Your" House

Dear George:

I'm writing you directly because nothing else seems to work. I mean, we can't all take Mr. Patterson's approach by jumping the gates of the White House in an effort to get your attention. I'm not a Republican, not in the military, and not a fundamentalist Christian, so I don't stand a chance of being invited to one of your pre-screened question-and-answer sessions and talking to you that way. And we know that Cindy Sheehan's tactic also failed -- that is, camping out in Crawford and demanding an audience with the Great Panjandrum. All it did was make Ms. Sheehan famous and give her a platform -- a much larger platform than she'd have had, George, if you'd only taken a few minutes off from bike-riding, brush-clearing and barbecues and pretended to listen to what she said.

So, a letter it is. I tried this a month ago with your Homeland Security director, Michael Chertoff, but I never had a reply. Probably Mr. Chertoff is too busy figuring out how to keep Mr. Patterson off your lawn, but I know you have more time on your hands than Chertoff does, what with the bike-riding, brush-clearing, etc., so I'm hoping that you or someone you know (at the NSA, maybe?) actually reads your mail.

Of course, this is an "open" letter, George, which means a lot of people will read it even if you don't. But, as you said so smartly while refusing to provide Congress with documentation of the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, "That's just the way it works."

Anyway, George, you'll have to forgive me for not addressing you as "Mr. President." I'd like to honor your office, at least, but in your case I'm not allowed. I mean that literally: My mother won't let me, and there'd be hell to pay if I went against her wishes.

You know how mothers are, George -- you've got one of your own. Yours is the one who wears pearls and once called you "a dirty dog" on the "Today" show. Mine is the one who lets out a little shriek -- OK, a big shriek -- whenever she sees you on TV, and especially when anyone refers to you as "the president," "this president" or "Mr. President." My mother's lived under 14 presidents, George, and I'm afraid she thinks you're a punk. No amount of arguing is going to change her mind.

"It's that wave," she says. "You know -- whenever he gets off a plane and struts around, he waves as if he were a 5-year-old boy going off to his first day in kindergarten. He waves as if he's saying, 'Wook, Mommy! I'm de Commandew-in-Cheef!' Somebody needs to give that man waving lessons."

My mother was especially upset, George -- well, we all were -- about your response last week to mounting calls from ex-military men that you fire your Secretary of War, Donald Rumsfeld. (Please don't insult us by calling him your Secretary of "Defense.") You said that Rumsfeld has your "full support and deepest appreciation," despite the slaughter and devastation that he, and you, have wrought in your illegal, immoral and fruitless war in Iraq, and despite the fact that Rumsfeld has now been connected directly to your policy of torture, abuse and degradation of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay and other "extraordinary rendition spots" around the globe.

"Secretary Rumsfeld's energetic and steady leadership is exactly what is needed at this critical period," you declared on Friday. Then you, or someone, threw a lot of still-serving military honchos onto the Sunday talk shows to say that calls for Rumsfeld's resignation are "inappropriate in time of war."

"Inappropriate?" my mother cried. "Inappropriate? Tens of thousands of innocent people dead, no end in sight to this phony war, the Pentagon now planning nuclear strikes on Iran - and we're told that even talking about tossing these bums out on their ears is 'inappropriate'! Point of order!"

I won't tell you what my mother said after that, George, because it isn't pretty. But I dare you -- I dare you -- to haul your sorry ass to Iraq for more than a photo-op and ask any mother there, any one at all, exactly how "inappropriate" it would be to put an end to your incompetent, criminal regime. And, for that matter, to you. I mean your presidency, of course, George, not "you" as a person. But that's only because, unlike you, I'm not a murderer, and I don't want to end up at Guantánamo myself.

Meantime, George, I think you need more than just lessons in waving. I think you need lessons in politics, diplomacy, statecraft and human decency. I think you need a crash course in history. I think you need remedial reading and a whole new set of friends. I think your own mother ought to give you a good hiding, Texas-style, and I hope to hell we'll see the last of you, Rumsfeld, Rice, Cheney and the rest of your lying cabal before the world goes up in flames. Capisce?

My best to Laura and the twins.

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