Elliot: About those socks, the NSA says


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Beau, the NSA has noticed you tend to wear non-matching socks. Whassup with that?

The NSA knows how to say “Whassup”? Whassup with that?

We listen. Very carefully.

So I’ve heard. But what’s the big deal with socks, anyway? Don’t you have something important to do? Like Syria, maybe? Does the president know you’re talking to me about socks?

The president knows what’s going on. That’s not to say anything is going on.

That’s a line from Richard Nixon’s press secretary during the secret bombing of Cambodia. Which didn’t turn out to be so secret. Especially not to the Cambodians. What’s his name?

Whose name?

Richard Nixon’s press secretary. Haven’t you been listening?

We listen. Very carefully.

Ron something. “The president is aware of what is going on in Southeast Asia. That is not to say that there is anything going on in Southeast Asia.” That’s what he said. I’ll never forget it; it’s such perfect doublespeak.

Why are you so concerned about something said 40 years ago?

I’m not so concerned about 40 years ago. I’m just trying to remember Ron something’s name. What I am concerned about goes back almost 50 years, because it looks as though President Obama is trying to get a Gulf of Tonkin resolution out of Congress so he can bomb Syria. At least it’s not secret.

Cruise missiles are not bombs.

They explode, don’t they? Who cares about word usage when we’re talking about things that explode?

Word usage is your line of work — that’s what we hear. That and wearing non-matching socks.

Enough with the socks already. We’re talking Syria here, and it’s a real mess.

Yes, it is a real mess. It’s a very delicate situation, and we need Americans to stand together, as Secretary of State John Kerry has stated.

And some cruise missiles are going to help a very delicate situation? And speaking of John Kerry, did you notice how much he sounded like the apologists for the Vietnam War when he argued for a strike against Syria? That was a war he quite publically opposed as a Vietnam Veteran against the War.

John Kerry is a statesman. He measures his words carefully. And we’re not sure what you mean by “apologists for the Vietnam War.”

Oh, you know — it’s just a phrase. Or maybe it’s just a phase.

This is a very delicate situation. Words can be dangerous.

I know it’s a delicate situation. That’s why I’m not so sure bombing Damascus is the answer. What does Iran do if we bomb Syria? Has anyone thought of that?

The president has thought through all the potentialities.

Well, that eases my mind in ways you don’t know.

We know everything.

OK, so what happens if we topple Assad and some kind of combination of rebels take over? And who are these rebels? Aren’t some of them jihadists, to use a term that’s become so popular?

We’re not trying to topple Assad. The president has made that quite clear. But he did gas his own people.

So did Saddam in 1988, and what did the United States do?

The United States took the appropriate action.

The U.S. blamed Iran for the gas attack. That was the appropriate action?

That was the appropriate action. It’s delicate; the center cannot hold.

Now, you’re quoting Irish poets. I can do that, too. Seamus Heaney:

History says, don’t hope …

But then, once in a lifetime

The longed-for tidal wave

Of justice can rise up,

And hope and history rhyme

The president is acquainted with tidal waves. Now, about those socks.

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