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May 2005   jim Moore
Bush And Rumsfeld Tangle Over The Rocks By Jim Moore


By: Jim Moore

A dispute over a string of barely habitable rocks in the middle of the sea has northeastern Asia on edge, with South Korea angrily denouncing Japan on Thursday over a regional governmentís vote asserting Japanese claims to the Korean-held islets.

--- Burt Herman The Associated Press

Somebody on the "floor" was heard to say it would be a cold day in hell when President Bush and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld disagreed on anything.

Hell just froze over.

According to a source who wishes to remain anonymous, Bush put in an urgent call to Rumsfeld, asking him to come to his office immediately, that something had come up which needed an urgent discussion on the highest level.

The Secretary gathered up his workbook and hurried to the Oval Office, where President Bush motioned for him to sit down, and then ordered them some coffee.

BUSH: I guess you know, Don, why I called you in.

RUM: Only sketchy, Mr. President. Whatís up?

BUSH: Trouble in the Orient again

RUM: Christ, not another murder on a train.

BUSH: Worse. It's another dispute between two of our friends in Asia.

RUM: I didnít know we had any friends in Asia.

BUSH: Don't be a wise acre. Iím talking about Japan and South Korea.

RUM: Oh, for Pete sake, are they haggling over those stupid rocks again?

BUSH: Yes, and this time itís serious. Japan claims those little uninhabited islands between them belong to them, and South Korea claims theyíre theirs. And America is stuck in the middle.

RUM: Why are we in the middle, Mr. President? Thatís an Oriental problem.

BUSH: Every problem in the worlds is ours, Don. You should know that by this time. I'vd said it often enough.

RUM: Then I have a suggestion, sir. Letís blow the damn rocks out of the water. That will solve the problem.

BUSH: Hmm, Yes, I guess we could do that. But Iíve got a better idea. Letís make those little, uninhabited islands democracies. Then Japan and South Korea will have nothing to quarrel about.

RUM: Democratize a bunch of rocks? Can we do that?

BUSH: Of course. We can democratize anything we put our minds to.

RUM: But, sir, wonít that set a precedent?

BUSH: In what way?

RUM: Well, if we make democracies out of little, uninhabited rocks in the ocean, wonít other countries with little islands between them want to make them democracies, too?

BUSH: Probably. And if they do weíll also make democracies out of those.

RUM: With all due respect, sir, I still think that blowing those rocks out of the water is a better answer. Besides...

BUSH: Besides what?

RUM: Weíve got a tough enough job turning Iraq into a democracy.

BUSH: So, whatís your point?

RUM: My point, sir, is that I donít think the American public will buy the idea of democratizing rocks. Anything else in the world, maybe, but not rocks.

BUSH: Iíll pretend I didnít hear you say that, Rummy.

RUM: Say what, Mister President?

Jim Moore is a free-lance political writer and is a regular columnist for Ether Zone.

Jim Moore can be reached at:

Published in the May 4, 2005 issue of Ether Zone. Copyright © 1997 - 2005 Ether Zone.

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