(A hat tip to Monty Python’s legendary Spanish Inquisition sketch.)
[The White House Oval Office]
Vice President Joe Biden [anxiously pacing the room]: Mr President. Mullah Omar, you know, the one-eyed Taliban leader, he just said we have to get the hell out of Afghanistan as soon as possible. And he said the Taliban were winning the war.
United States President Barack Obama [contemplating a basketball]: No wonder I cannot run a business here. Why can’t these COINistas bring me Omar’s head on a plate? Even I know he lives in Quetta [in Pakistan]. And why can’t they track Osama bin Laden? What are these Special Forces doing, watching Mad Men on cable?
Biden: Mr President, believe me, it’s we who are winning, not them.
Obama: Oh no, no, no, Joe. Get a grip on this AfPak business. The COINistas want nation-building and war against the Taliban, which for them is the same as al-Qaeda. You want only counter-terrorism against al-Qaeda on both sides of AfPak. Whatever we do, we will get clobbered in the November polls. I need a narrative arc of victory here, Joe!
Biden: Mr President, you did finish the Iraq War last week …
Obama: I was not awesome enough, Joe. Besides, [George W] Bush did it before me, and it didn’t work.
Biden: I’m afraid there’s more trouble ahead, Mr President. The Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth were in congress and at the National Press Club telling everybody that the Twin Towers collapsed in near free-fall because of pre-set demolition explosives. It says here, Mr President, and I quote, “An international team of scientists found nanothermitic composite material in World Trade Center dust, providing the first hard evidence of the presence of advanced pyrotechnics or explosives in the disaster debris.” They want a Grand Jury investigation of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Mr President.
Obama: For Heaven’s sake Joe, can you imagine if I decided to reopen 9/11? Did you see that poll last week where a majority of Republicans said, let me see if I remember correctly, that I “definitely sympathize with the goals of Islamic fundamentalists who want to impose Islamic law around the world”? Who are these people? Whatever I do I’m a racist, a communist, a radical Islam-hugger … I didn’t expect a kind of American Inquisition.
[The Oval Office door flies open and messianic Fox News host and self-appointed God’s spokesperson to the United States Glenn Beck enters, flanked by former vice-presidential candidate and Tea Party icon Sarah Palin, former speaker of the house (and aspiring presidential candidate) Newt Gingrich, former US ambassador to the United Nations (and aspiring presidential candidate) John Bolton, the Texas energy conglomerate billionaires the Koch brothers, and Glenville, Florida fringe extremist Christian pastor Terry Jones, a mini-Koran burning in his hands in homage to his proposed, then aborted, International Burn-a-Koran Day on 9/11.]
Beck [bombastic]: Nobody expects the American Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise … surprise and fear … fear and surprise … Our two weapons are fear and surprise … and catchy sound bites … Our three weapons are fear, surprise, and catchy sound bites … and an almost fanatical devotion to God … Our four … no … Amongst our weapons … Amongst our weaponry … are such elements as fear, surprise … I’ll come in again.
[The Inquisition exits]
Obama: I didn’t expect a kind of American Inquisition.
[The group burst in, minus Terry Jones, who had his hands burned by his burning Koran.]
Palin [squeakily]: Nobody expects the American Inquisition! We love weapons! Oh you betcha! We have so many of them, fear, surprise, catchy sound bites, an almost fanatical devotion to shooting wolves from my helicopter, these nice red leather pumps … And I can see Russia from my house! Oh darn!?[To Bolton]: I can’t say it – you’ll have to say it.
Palin: You’ll have to say the bit about “Our chief weapons are …”
Bolton: [rather impatient]: Nah, let’s get on with it, we gotta rush to the part where we frame all Muslims as neo-nazis.
[The group bundles outside again]
Obama: I didn’t expect a kind of American Inquisition.
[Jarring chord] [The group enters]
Bolton: Er … Nobody … um … expects … Nobody expects the … um .. the American … um …
Bolton: I know, I know! Nobody expects the American Inquisition. In fact, those who do expect know that we can’t be at the mercy of terrorists, we have to reclaim the date of September 11 from these deceptive Islamic supremacists, and that’s why I’ll be running for President in 2012.
Gingrich: OK! OK! OK! Stop! Stop. Ah! … our chief weapons are surprise … blah blah blah. Alright. Glenn, read the charges.
Beck: You are hereby charged that you did on diverse dates commit heresy against the American flag. You are a racist … a guy who has a deep-seated hatred for white people, the white culture, I don’t know what it is. You are a Muslim. You were not even born in the United States. You are a servant of Islam …
Gingrich: That’s enough. [To Obama] Now, how do you plead?
Obama: This is ridiculous. Of course I’m innocent.
Gingrich: Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! [diabolical laughter]
The Koch brothers [surreptitiously]: We’ll soon change your mind about that!
Bolton: Fear, surprise, and while we’re at it, at war with all servants of Islam, which is taking over the world and it is now America’s turn to fall. Hush, Glenn, grab the prayer rug!
[Beck produces a stinky prayer rug he got from a Special Forces officer who bought it on Chicken Street in Kabul for $10. Gingrich looks at it and clenches his teeth in an effort not to lose control. He hums heavily to cover his anger]
Gingrich: You … Right! Make him hug the rug.
[The Koch brothers make a pathetic attempt to rub the rug against President Obama’s lap]
Gingrich: Right! How do you plead?
Obama [imperturbable]: Innocent.
Beck: Ha! Right! Newt, don’t you think he should kneel down and pray?
[Gingrich stands awkwardly, shrugs his shoulders]
Gingrich: I …
Beck: [gritting his teeth] I know, I know you can’t.
Gingrich: I …
Beck: Just pretend for God’s sake. Ha! Ha! Ha!
[Gingrich dreamily grabs the rug and lays it on the floor. Fuzzy focus, dreamy soundtrack…] [Cut abruptly to the group torturing US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton]
Beck: Now, old woman – you are accused of heresy on three counts – heresy by thought, heresy by word, heresy by deed, and heresy by action – four counts. Do you confess?
Clinton: I haven’t the faintest idea what I’m accused of. Don’t you ever watch my press conferences?
Bolton: Ha! Then we’ll make you understand! Glenn! Fetch … the Islamic cushions!
[Jarring chord] [Beck holds out two Islamic-green, made in China cushions]
Beck: There you are. Can you believe they sell these in Manhattan only a few yards away from Ground Zero?
Gingrich: Now, old lady – you have one last chance. Confess the heinous sin of heresy, reject the works of the ungodly – two last chances. And you shall be free – three last chances. You have three last chances, the nature of which I have divulged in my previous utterance.
Clinton: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Gingrich: Right! If that’s the way you want it – Bolton! Poke her with the Islamic cushions!
[Bolton carries out his pathetic torture] Gingrich:Confess! Confess! Confess!
Bolton: It doesn’t seem to be hurting her. I always thought this woman was evil.
Gingrich [angrily hurling away the cushions]: Hmm! She is made of harder stuff! Glenn! Fetch … the comfy mosque!
[Jarring chord] [Beck pushes in a miniature comfy mosque – a model of the Islamic Center projected for Ground Zero]
Gingrich: So you think you are strong because you can survive the Islamic cushions. Well, we shall see! Give her the comfy mosque!
[They roughly push the comfy mosque into Clinton’s lap]
Gingrich [with a cruel leer]: Now – you will be prostrated in front of the comfy mosque until dinner, with only a cup of green tea at sunset. Time to pray, lady! [aside, to Beck]: Is that really all there is?
Beck: That should be enough.
Gingrich: I see. I suppose we make it worse by shouting a lot, do we? Confess, woman. Confess! Confess! Confess! Confess!
Palin [squeakily]: I confess!
Gingrich: Not you!