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February 24, 2003


Two by Bill Costley

ANOTHER Quiet American

"I was a civilian advisor to the military. We
went & saw Saddam. We were impressed."
Another quiet American confessing to stealth.
Time: just before closing. Place: a bookstore
in an upscale suburb, in late Summer. We
talked quietly until closing. Regretfully, we
exchanged names. I closed up, went home
& wrote about him in my weekly column
in the regional Harte-Hanks daily. Quietly,
another quiet American came back, stood,
staring grimly at me, another quiet American
caught doing what quiet Americans do: War
via intermediaries, dictators who invariably
betray, haunt, defy, discredit, disgrace us
in the world's unblinking eyes.

(22 FEB 03)


2 ANXIOUS American Ambassadors

I dined 3 months ago with 2 American ambassadors
w/Middle East service (one's a lifelong Republican);
both of'm just abhorred Bush's middle-east policies:
"Bush is the worst president in my lifetime." Both're
scared by what might happen in a 2nd Gulf War;
neither's a political appointee, both're deeply qualified
in their subject, both're fluent in the regional languages;
career diplomats w/service in multiple Arabic countries;
highly educated; authors of works on the region. Both
give real reason to fear. If this 2nd Gulf War worries'm
so much shouldn't it scare our armchair quarterbacks?
Or do you still think they're just 2 cheese-monkies,
whining: SomeBody in the White House is moving
our cheese between bureaus in Foggy Bottom!

(23 FEB 03)