My gratitude begins during your coverage of the Winter Olympics
when, during the opening ceremony, you announce sotto voce
that Italy has the third largest number of troops on the ground
in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thank you, Brian Williams,
for this brief lesson in military might. I was so preoccupied
with my admiration of those smart berets worn by every athlete
regardless of nation or creed, so transfixed by Pavarotti's
donut-like comportment under his billowing tent-of-a-cape,
so haunted by Venetian puppets that will linger in my dreams
for weeks to come, that I have forgotten to wonder
about Italy's willing collaboration. Thank you Italy! And dear citizens
of Turin! Such might deserves acknowledgment, even if it's only
a bronze-level effort. Italy, you know your talents—your noodles,
your shroud, your art, your status as charming tourist destination.
Even better, you have the decency to change your government
when your leaders try to throw your country down the crapper,
and several months from now, you will be honest enough
to withdraw your forces from those doomed and bloodied
desert nations. But we Americans have talents too. We are still
number one, we love values, and we have you, Brian Williams.
And your wise and folksy insights do not stop at Turin.
You were right to encourage us to see United 93, a very important,
highly dignified, and supremely patriotic film! It is nothing
if not a tribute to good taste and a badly needed reminder for some
that we are a nation at war because of what happened in New York
and Washington and, in this case, in a field in Pennsylvania.
I'm not sure which war you mean, or who the some are
that need reminding, or who you think brought those planes down,
but no matter. Your rhetoric stirs me; your eyebrows
are at the helm. When I hope for certainty you provide it:
when you ask the president what he read this summer,
I am relieved to know that he read Camus' The Stranger
and three “Shakespeares,” glad that for once during his administration
he might have given pause over the death of one Arab, albeit
a fictional one on a beach, that perhaps, when reading those three
Shakespeares, he thought, if briefly, of the purple testament of bleeding war.