Thursday, February 22, 2007

Apart from that, my lady, everything's fine

One of France's best-known satirical songs starts with a noblewoman talking on the phone with her butler James, at the end of a two-week holiday, making sure that everything's fine at the country castle.

James: Everything's fine, my lady...except for a minor incident: the death of your gray mare. Apart from that, my lady, everything's fine.

Lady: My gray mare is dead? How did that happen, James?

James: She was burnt to death in the fire that destroyed your stables. But, apart from that, my lady, everything's fine.

Lady: A fire in my stables? How did that happen, James?

James: Well, your castle was burnt to the ground, and the fire spread to your stables. But, apart from that, my lady, everything's fine.

Lady: The castle burnt down? How did that happen, James?

James: Well, you see, when his lordship learned that he was financially ruined, he committed suicide. And, in so doing, he knocked over a candle that set the castle on fire. And the fire spread to your stables. And that's how your gray mare got burnt to death. But, apart from that, my lady, everything's fine.


I couldn't help thinking of this song when I read the amazing words of vice-president Dick Cheney, when asked to comment upon Blair's decision to withdraw many British troops from Iraq: "I look at it and see it is actually an affirmation that there are parts of Iraq where things are going pretty well."

Sure, there have been over three thousand American deaths, countless thousands of Iraqi deaths, the destruction of a nation, and the creation of a state of civil war and a breeding ground for terrorists. But, apart from that, everything's fine.

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