"What are you doing out so early?"
"Saving my life," he said. "I decided it's up to me."
"OK, I'll go easy on you."
"Don't expect me to return the favor." He was peeved.
"What do you mean?"
"Face it, man, you've lost your edge. All that blather in your last column about the Democrats and the environment and how they're stopping the war. A butterfly flaps its wings, and 2007 is better already. Give me a break, dude, the world's in trouble."
"I forgot how you love that doom and gloom stuff," I joked as we began jogging.
"That's not it. It's just that you're spreading false hope. Didn't you tell me that, when you're stuck for an idea, you just write down the single truest thing you know?"
"Well, I try. It was good enough for Papa Hemingway. But now that you bring it up, what's the truest thing YOU know?"
"I told you already," he gasped. "Don't count on the Democrats to save us."
"Why not? They're debating the war, the environment, 9/11 security recommendations ."
"That's last year's news, dude. It's like the neocons brag. While we're debating the last thing they did, they'll do something new, and we'll debate that, too. Give the devils their due; they're always a step ahead of us."
"So what's their next move?"
"They're going to bomb Iran. Bush has a big carrier group in the Persian Gulf and two more on the way. Every day his people beat the drums about Iran's new weapons and how they're killing Americans, without offering a shred of verifiable evidence. Big media reports this. Meanwhile, Democrats debate 'the surge' and nonbonding resolutions. They're paper tigers."
"Well, at least they're debating, for a change."
"Listen. Unless they cut off funds for this war AND the next. Unless they're ready to impeach Bush AND Cheney for shooting holes in the Constitution and breaking a dozen treaties and lying us into a war that's making many of their friends and relatives rich, this world's had it. Nukes, World War III, global warming, you name it. We're heading over a cliff, my friend. You used to warn people. I saw it on the Internet."
"Lighten up," I said. "It's like I wrote last week, Bush has lost Congress, and at least the Democrats have taken their foot off the accelerator."
"They ain't the ones drivin'." He started coughing, one hand held aloft, so I stopped running until he could talk again. Finally he gasped, "I wrote something down for you, something that old guy with the funny name said."
"Oh, that narrows it down."
"You know, it was on C-Span. He's written books, helped set the policy that got the Soviets kicked out of Afghanistan, a real heavyweight." He pulled a scrap of paper from his shorts. "Here it is. Zbigniew Brzezinski told this to the, uh, Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Feb. 1. He called the war in Iraq 'a historic, strategic, and moral calamity driven by Manichean impulses and imperial hubris.' Not sure what that means, but it sounds bad to me.
"Then he said the war was 'undermining America's global legitimacy' and that 'the final destination on this downhill track is likely to be a head-on conflict with Iran and with much of the world of Islam. Some provocation in Iraq or a terrorist act in the U.S., blamed on Iran will plunge a lonely America into a spreading and deepening quagmire eventually ranging across Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.'
"That means World War III, if you ask me, and Congress ain't gonna stop this unless we all raise Cain. If Walter Cronkite was still around, you'd know this already. It's like that woman who died of breast cancer said - you know, Molly Ivins. Just before she died, she wrote, 'It's up you and me, Bubba.' Do what you can."
Don Williams is the founding editor of New Millennium Writings. You may write to him at P.O. Box 2463, Knoxville, TN 37901, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone him at 865-428-0389.