This time we really, really mean it |

This time we really, really mean it

This indicates that there exists a Final Fantasy 1 through 9, therefore leaving the word “final” in the dubious position of becoming a two-syllable idiom.

When asked last Thursday in Washington, D.C., about the “risk of an action versus the risk of inaction” towards Iraq, President Bush responded:

“This would be the 17th time that we expect Saddam to disarm. This time we mean it. See, that’s the difference – I guess. This time it’s for real. And I say it must not have been for real the last 16 times because nothing happened when he didn’t. This time something happens. He knows – he’s got to understand that. The members of the U.N. Security Council understand that. Saddam has got to understand it so he, so in the name of peace for a peaceful resolution of this, we hope he disarms.”

Ignoring the fact that “W” would greatly benefit by having a speechwriter for everyday conversation, we need to concentrate on the “This time we mean it” and “This time it’s for real” portions.

Like using the word “final” for 10 versions of the same product. Why should Saddam Hussein even bother being concerned with our continued threats that go nowhere?

As a skinny 10 year-old kid living down in Dallas in 1970, I was threatened by Billy Joe Anz on a daily basis during the fifth grade.

“I’m gonna bust your behind, Carnes, if you don’t S” he would say each day before gym class, changing his demands as often as I changed underwear.

Being 5-something and if I remember correctly, already sporting a mustache worthy of shaving envy, Billy Joe was not the type to negotiate when it came to lunch money or simple staying-alive-the-rest-of-the-day requests.

Yet, he never once carried through on his threats.

At first I was afraid, even crying to my Mom about it, and then suffering the wrath of my big brother to “kick my tail” if I didn’t stand up for myself.

But in the end, standing up for myself required little more than just going about my daily routine, acting scared and shaking in my boots on cue, and then turning around and rolling my eyes at the silliness of it all.

Billy Joe, down deep in his lily-livered Texas soul, did not actually have the courage, guts, or maybe it was desire, to follow through with any of his threats, preferring to live in a fantasy world of “big talk makes big men.”

I believe he ended up becoming a Democrat and living in Minnesota.

Anyway, as many strategist point out, Hussein is homicidal, not suicidal, and has nothing whatsoever to gain upon being attacked by the United States of America and its allies.

He has, however, been able to accomplish a great deal by playing the “cheat and retreat” game while America attempts to fight terrorism by constantly redefining the enemy.

First, the Taliban was THE ENEMY, then Osama, then all of Muslimdom, then an Axis of Evil and – now that one leg of the axis (the wrong one, by the way) has ponied up to possessing the “bomb,” we have narrowed our vengeance down to a ruthless dictator who we once helped fight neighboring Iran.

I might add the totalitarian also sticks his tongue out at the president’s daddy saying, “Na-na-na-na-na.”

We have dragged our collective feet for so long that there are now well-worn trenches in the sand just south of Baghdad’s no-fly zone filled with the soles of previous administrations and well-intentioned but held back foot soldiers.

Not since FDR during WWII has an American president received such a mandate to govern as President Bush did last week. Within 24 hours, he grabbed that mandate by its democratic horns and lassoed the U.N. Security Council with a new, improved resolution on Iraq.

Two days later, he even had France, those world champs at retreating, and Russia, the modern world’s most accomplished cheaters, agreeing to put a stop to Hussein’s world-threatening shenanigans. Even those wild and crazy commies in China agreed that the man needs to be dealt with.

Are we finally going to do it this time? Are we finally serious after dozens of wasted threats? Or are we simply performing a perverted reversal of “the wolf who cried boy”?

Argus Hamilton said it best about our latest defensive strike, in which senior al Qaeda leader Qaed Senyan al-Harthi was blown back to sandy bits by a CIA operated, unmanned drone. “It was a reminder to our enemies. The U.S. may not be any good at hide-and-seek but our Nintendo skills are outstanding.”

Iraq has until this Friday to comply. We will find out if our ultimate threats are for real this time, or if once again, they are nothing more than video game “final” fantasies.

Richard Carnes of Edwards can be reached at

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