The following is an excerpt from Embedded, a play written and directed by Tim Robbins that is being performed at the Public Theater in New York.
Office of Special Plans — Washington, D.C.
Six actors in masks enter and greet each other, pictures of Leo Strauss above.
Cove And this ignoramus writer says to me“The father of the neo-cons invented blue jeans?” I was embarrassed for him. “Leo,” I said, “you pecker, not Levi, Leo Strauss.”
Dick Gentlemen, gentlemen, settle down.
They take their seats.
Dick I’d like to call this meeting of the Office of Special Plans to order.
Gondola Here, here.
Dick War in Gomorrah progress report.
Gondola War in Gomorrah progress report.
Dick Rum Rum, how does it look?
Rum Rum We are currently sufficiently deployed, locked and loaded, cocked and ready, chompin’ at the bit, poised for engagement, steady ready Freddy.
Dick Excellent. How’s the coalition building?
Rum Rum Slow, but good news. Luxembourg is in. As to the rest of them — Germany, France, Russia — I say, fuck ‘em.
Pearly White Double fuck France.
Dick Excellent. Cove, how’s the message delivery?
Cove Everything’s coming along smoothly. The message is going out there nightly, hourly. The evil of the butcher of Babylon has been the lead story on local news rotations for twelve weeks straight now. The message of the new Hitler’s evil has been unrelenting and omnipresent.
Cove A tremendously beneficial side effect of this coverage is that the corporate financial scandals — Enron, WorldCom, Global Crossing, Halliburton, Tyco, Adelphi, etc. — have all but disappeared from the media.
Pearly White Excellent.
Rum Rum Excellent.
Dick Dodged that bullet.
Pearly White Me too.
Rum Rum Me too.
Gondola Me too.
Cove Me too.
Woof Me too.
Dick How’s public opinion?
Cove Up three points. But there is a growing protest movement.
Cove Still there is concern.
Woof We have to get the numbers up.
Pearly White What about our own rallies?
Cove Well, Pearly, we had some this past weekend. We advertised on our talk radio outlets, deep rotation on the spots. Major saturation. Still no more than 10,000 showed at any of the pro-war rallies.
Dick We need more focus, more clarity of mission.
Cove How about we decide what the mission is.
Woof I thought we decided that.
Pearly White Weapons of annihilation.
Woof Killed his own.
Dick The day that changed the world.
Gondola But we don’t have the link. Gomorrah and the day that changed the world are not linked.
Dick Doesn’t matter.
Pearly White Doesn’t matter.
Woof Doesn’t matter.
Cove Doesn’t matter.
Rum Rum I thought it was liberate the people from years of oppression.
Gondola Yes, that is what we decided last time.
Dick Not the day that cha…?
Rum Rum No I think we decided it was liberate the people.
Pearly White What about regime change?
Gondola , Woof and Dick We’re saving regime change.
Cove Can we pick two?
Rum Rum I say three; killed his own, the day that changed the world, weapons of annihilation.
Gondola Weapons of annihilation, the day, liberate the people.
Woof The day, weapons of annihilation, madman must be stopped.
Cove Killed his own, sexual degenerate, the day.
Pearly White Kills babies, the day, worships Satan.
Dick It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. They’re all good.
Pearly White Gentlemen, I don’t know about you but I am sick of this meandering path we’re on.
Woof I’m getting bored with the pussyfooting at the State Department. What the hell is wrong with those people?
Cove If we don’t get this war started soon we’re going to be competing with the NBA playoffs.
Dick I say we set a date and live by it.
Everyone checks their schedules.
Gondola How’s the 10th?
Woof I think it should be the 16th.
Cove I’d prefer the 13th.
Dick The 21st.
Rum Rum How’s the 19th?
Pearly White Good for me.
Dick Good for me.
Gondola Good for me.
Woof Good for me.
Cove Good for me.
Dick Done. The 19th it is. Awe and shock commences on the 19th of March. What’s next?
Dick Incantation. Rum Rum have you written your incantation?
Rum Rum I’ve got a little ditty I cooked up. I’m not a writer mind you.
Dick Give it to us Rum Rum.
Picture of Leo Strauss appears.
Rum Rum Leo Leo Leo Strauss You’re the man. Your mind is a wonder. You leave us in awe. Rah Rah Rah. I can’t rhyme good.
They all laugh and make fun of him.
Rum Rum To hell with all of you.
Pearly White We need an incantation to Leo Strauss. An incantation. Not a college beer ditty. Ingrate.
Rum Rum To be honest, Pearly, creative writing wasn’t my “trip” in college, “man.”
Pearly White Certainly our collective brain trust can come up with a more poetic incantation for our intellectual sovereign. Something about the danger of moral relativism.
Woof Yes. Something about the greater truth. Something more central to the Straussian philosophy.
Gondola The noble lie for the greater good.
Dick Amen to that. The greater good.
Woof Our superior knowledge of the complexities of geopolitics, our divine mission to achieve the greater good by coercing benevolent events upon the world.
Dick Now you’re cooking Woof baby man.
Pearly White The triumph of Plato over Socrates.
Dick Speak wisdom Pearly White.
Pearly White Where Socrates’ death is justified.
Dick Socrates. What a fag.
Gondola If there was an intellectual smackdown, Plato would crush Socrates.
Dick No question. You rock Gondola.
Gondola You get my mind hot, Dick.
Pearly White America has the capacity to protect the world from madmen. To not actively, militarily protect the world, to sit on top of a hill and lead by “moral” example is a policy of cowardice and dishonor.
Dick That is put beautifully, Pearly White. But it doesn’t quite work as an incantation. It lacks a rhythm, a meter, a mystery.
Rum Rum Who the hell is the poet laureate?
Gondola I don’t think there is one.
Rum Rum Wasn’t there a congressman that wrote songs?
Gondola He’s embedded at a network now.
Dick Enough. I’m trusting we can come up with an incantation by our next meeting. Woof, why don’t you try your hand at it?
Woof It would be my pleasure to write the incantation. I’ll write one for our next meeting.
Dick I’ve got a good feeling about this one.
Pearly White So do I. I’ll bring the candles.
Dick This meeting is terminated. All hail Leo Strauss.
All All hail Leo Strauss. All hail, Huzzah.
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