Commentary: Congressman Billybob sez

March 28, 2003 at 7:58 PM
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HIGHLANDS, N.C., March 28 (UPI) -- This here's the 343rd Report ta the Folks Back Home from the (More er Less) Honorable Billybob, cyberCongressman from Western Carolina.

I's watched two thangs this week. One wazza war what is now mos'ly won with blindin speed n minimum loss ov life. T'other waz an incredibly obnoxious infomercial fer a kitchen tool.

Since ma able assistant, J. Armor, Esq., izza student ov TV programmin, I'll turn this over ta him.

"The A-MAA-zing War Wizard!!!"

(Author's note: Hundreds of thousands of American, British, and Australian men and women have gone in harm's way in Iraq. Because they are brave -- and well-trained, well-equipped, and well-led -- they are prevailing in incredible fashion. Some have given their "last full measure of devotion." The task is not yet complete, but the end is near and obvious. All of that is honorable, extraordinary and compelling. But this column just screamed to be written).

Hi! I'm Colonel Bat Guano, U.S. Army, retired, and I'm here to tell you about the Amazing War Wizard.

It slices, it dices, it makes beautiful julienne fries .... Oops, wrong commercial. It does do all those things, though.

Yes, friends, the Amazing War Wizard will make women faint at your feet. It will make grown men cry and wave white flags. It's the ultimate way to win friends and influence people. It'll really put your name on the map -- and take other people's names off!

It shocks, confuses and discombobulates whole nations. It causes psychotic dictators to get shot, with or without the help of their disgruntled citizens. It cuts through whole armies like a hot knife through butter!

Look at all these tools it replaces -- carpet bombing, massed infantry charges, submarine warfare, toothless international organizations, loony demonstrators (who only show up in places where they won't get horsewhipped for stupidity). Yes! The Amazing War Wizard replaces ALL of these!

Be the first nation on your continent to own one of these all-purpose geopolitical tools. Be the envy of the escargot-and-schnitzel crowd.

See how the War Wizard conforms to the shape of the country you're flattening like a pancake. And look how it handles national ambitions. Have you ever dropped a national ambition through the grill and had it burn to a crisp in the U.N. Security Council? I know I have!

But not any more, because the War Wizard carries your national ambition safely over to a unanimous vote in Congress. And it's perfect for putting those sour-faced senators in their place.

Why, the War Wizard can even pick up one thin terrorist!

And it's perfect for getting the last hidden weapon of mass destruction out of the jar. How easy is that?!

The War Wizard is great for dressing up your superpower status. No more national guilt on your fingers, and you'll never have to handle raw nations again.

Accept no substitutes -- this is the genuine article. Thousands (well, actually, only a few) have been sold before, at prices up to 99.99.

Now you can have your own Amazing War Wizard for just 49.95. You heard that right -- just 49 billion, 950 million dollars. Hard to believe isn't it? But it's TRUE!

Plus, if you act now, I'll send you an EXTRA War Wizard at no additional cost. Yes, that's right. You get TWO War Wizards for the price of one!

After all, there's more than one psychotic murdering "Glorious Leader" in the world, and you never know when an extra War Wizard will come in handy. (Or maybe you do....)

And if your War Wizard fails or breaks down for any reason, just return it to us and we'll send you a new one, absolutely free.

Here's how to get your own War Wizard. Have your national credit card ready. Just call the number shown below, or visit our website. Operators are standing by.

(Profound thanks to the writers of the movie Dr. Strangelove for the use of their perfect name for the Army officer played by Keenan Wynn, Colonel Bat Guano. As a mercy to the readers, no mention is made of the name of the product on which this parody is based).

There is a black-letter law in humor: NEVER explain a joke. If it works, it requires no explanation. If it doesn't work, no explanation can save it. With some trepidation I add these comments.

All of the critics of the war for freedom for Iraq have now been proven wrong. There are sufficient grounds under both the U.N. Charter and the U.S. Constitution. The first confirmed casualty in the "decapitation" strike that began the war was a high-ranking Palestinian terrorist, killed in Saddam Hussein's headquarters.

Those who said the war was immoral are wrong -- as proven by the evidence given by victims, or families of victims, of torture and murder. I shared a platform last Saturday on the Capitol grounds in Raleigh, N.C., with one such family member. More -- many more -- atrocities will become known in days to come.

The last criticism of the war was that it might cost too much. First of all, it is a flat-out stupid question from anyone, whether a member of Congress or a reporter at the White House or at the Pentagon, to ask in advance, "How much will the war cost?" Because of the vagaries of war, no nation in history has ever known, or ever could have known, the total cost of any war on the day it began.

According to the American Academy of Actuaries -- people whose very jobs are to assess costs of human lives and property damages -- the cost to the United States from the attacks on 9/11 is about $90 billion. At minimum that amount should be an acceptable cost for this war. As this is written, the administration has put up a price tag of $63 billion for the Defense Department, since it is now clear the war will end relatively soon.

So, to explain the joke if anyone missed it, the United States apparently can get one-and-a-half wars for the price of one. There is enough in money and materials left over from the Iraq war to begin another to bring down the regime of Kim Jong Il in North Korea. I've described that before and will be brief now: Demand that the U.N. enforce its own findings about North Korea's nuclear weapons. (The United Nations will fail, either because nine Security Council members are unwilling to act, or because the votes are there but China casts its veto). Then assemble a new coalition of the willing. Write a different plan, based on the differences in weapons, tactics and geography. Then, get it done.

To those who got the point on the first go-round, I apologize. This comment is for those who think the subject of war is too important to discuss with mere humor.

As John Adams wrote, "I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy." The modern world has thrust upon us the same duty that Adams felt more than two centuries ago. Reluctantly but clearly, we have taken up that duty.


(About the author: Congressman Billybob is fictitious, but prolific, on the Internet -- the invention of John Armor, who writes books and practices law in the U.S. Supreme Court. Comments and criticisms are welcome at

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