Jewish World Review July 8, 2002/ 28 Tamuz, 5762

Wesley Pruden

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Big daddy rides to the rescue | Some of our friends abroad complain that George W. is trying to be Daddy Warbucks, and they don't like it.

But they're blaming the wrong daddy. It's not the filthy-rich captain of capitalism, buckling swashes and always arriving just in time to rescue Little Orphan Annie (and her faithful dog Sandy) in the comic strip of yore, who bugs our friends, but Daddy America.

This irritation is the source of the piteous cry, most often heard in the Arab capitals, Paris and sometimes Berlin, but lately even on the seedy leftist fringes of London, that "it's all America's fault!" (The exclamation point is theirs, not mine.)

We're big, strong, incredibly rich (even in a recession) and bestride the world with nobody to challenge us. When we go after somebody who tries to kill us, we don't have to borrow soldiers and hitch rides on somebody else's airplane. It's not our fault, of course, and that makes it even harder for the weak and envious to abide.

These folk are to the United States as a difficult teen-ager is to his father, John Derbyshire observes in National Review Online. "It's not just our size, our wealth, or our strength that drives them crazy; it's our very existence that can barely be tolerated, and knowing how much they still depend on us. 'I am an autonomous being! I have a will of my own! I have seen the future - I am part of the future - and you dare to stand in my way?!?!'" (This uses up the entire supply of quotation marks in this newspaper's type vaults, but that's how pouting teen-agers sometimes talk.)

It's also how some grown-ups, or people purporting to be grown-ups, talk. The Daily Mirror, a shrill tabloid read by London's lip-readers, soccer hooligans and other mutants, has lately been on a rip against America in general and George W. in particular, whom it regards as the Beast of Revelation.

The other day, the Mirror interviewed George Michael - a British pop star, not the American sportscaster - and reported that but for the lyrics of Mr. Michael's latest album, civilization as we know it would have melted by Thursday noon.

"The frothy love epithets that dominated his earlier albums have been jettisoned for an extraordinary political statement they expose the culture of fear, retribution and often mindless bigotry pervading world affairs right now, particularly in America."

Here's a sample of the killer lyrics:

"Mustapha, Mazeltov, the Gaza Boys, all that holy stuff/ I get the feelin' when it all goes off/ they're gonna shoot the dog, shoot the dog."

If you still have your socks, here's another verse:

"Nine, nine, nine getting' jiggy/ People did you see that fire in the city?/ It's like we're fresh out of democratic/ Gotta get yourself a little semi-automatic."

This falls on ears untutored in British pop as somewhat short of the work of Cole Porter, Johnny Mercer or the Gershwins, but the Mirror is breathless nonetheless: "It's hot stuff and George knows that anything could happen once it's released."

In another dispatch from the front, presumably meant to be taken equally seriously, the distinguished British war correspondent John Pilger describes the Bush administration as a "gang" and says he chose the word carefully: "Gang is not an exaggeration. The word in my dictionary means 'a group of people working together for criminal, disreputable ends.' That accurately describes George W. Bush and those who write his speeches and make his decisions and who, since their rise to power, have undermined the very basis of international law."

Mr. Pilger, who no doubt speaks for a lot of the bad-breath left in Old Blimey, sets out his rage in a new book called "The New Rulers of the World." A world's policeman's lot is not a happy one, and Mr. Pilger is terrified.

"In recent months," he writes, "the American rogue state has torn up the Kyoto treaty, which would decrease global warming and the probability of environmental disaster. It has threatened to use nuclear weapons in 'pre-emptive strikes.' It has tried to sabotage the setting up of an international criminal court, understandably, because its generals and leading politicians might be summoned as defendants.

"It has further undermined the authority of the United Nations by allowing Israel to block a U.N. committee's investigation of the Israeli assault on the Palestinian refugee camp at Jenin; and it has ordered the Palestinians to get rid of their elected leader in favor of an American stooge."

What really bugs these folks is that America, unlike its allies, such as they may be, is neither weak nor confused about who the enemy is and what must be done about that enemy. Some of them understand that they have the luxury of a good whine and the Americans aren't listening. That's what bugs them most of all.

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JWR contributor Wesley Pruden is editor in chief of The Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

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