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Dear ITT Ideologist: McChrystal’s Predicament, and an Insecure Israeli

Pete Karman

Dear ITT Ideologist,

I’m a recently cashiered general, depressed because I can no longer play pro consul in an outpost of empire, but relieved that I have left a losing war behind. I guess my next step is television. Fox News wants me to trash the Obama administration while attired in full battle gear. Home Shopping Network proposes that I comment expertly and favorably on their crystal ware gift sets. The Military Channel has made an attractive offer for me to fire 19th-century machine guns at watermelons. I can’t make up my mind.

S. McChrystal, Washington, D.C.

Dear General, Ret.,

Well, I see that you’ve landed on your claws. An officer of your stature should certainly not be relegated to a Fox hole, so to speak. Imagine if Colonel Oliver North, long settled at Fox, became jealous and obstreperous. Having become a civilian, you could no longer order that he be taken out and shot. Or worse, Glenn Beck might buttonhole you in the hallway and blather you into insensibility. You would do best at Home Shopping. Joan Rivers blazed a trail there for demanding and insufferable autocrats that you would no doubt successfully negotiate.

Dear ITT Ideologist,

I’m an Israeli of feisty temperament typical of my highly politicized and disputatious society. We are at our most contentious in debating our small country’s big role in the world. I have some qualms about a planned tourist visit to the United States. People tell me that in your country, politicians and the media take an opposite tack, anointing Israel with seamless sacrality. I’m worried that my presence as a real Israeli might discombobulate and offend some of the deluded faithful. What say you?

Api Koros, Tel Aviv

Dear Mr. Koros,

My strong recommendation is that you enjoy our tourist attractions (one of my favorites is the Beer Cans Through The Ages Foamatorium in Muncie, Ind.) and otherwise button your lip except when wolfing down one of our typical burgers. You don’t want to run afoul of our Israel Adulation Act. Passed several years ago by Congress with a 2,742-to-one majority (the issue was so popular that they allowed dead politicians to vote on it), it bans all but reverent references to your nation. The penalty for violation is listening to a six-hour recording of Alan Dershowitz alternately praising himself and the State of Israel. Some of those charged have filed for change of venue to Utah so they could face a firing squad instead.

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Pete Karman began working in journalism in 1957 at the awful New York Daily Mirror, where he wrote the first review of Bob Dylan for a New York paper. He lost that job after illegally traveling to Cuba (the rag failed shortly after he got the boot). Karman has reported and edited for various trade and trade union blats and worked as a copywriter. He was happy being a flack for Air France, but not as happy as being an on-and-off In These Times editor and contributor since 1977.
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