By Tony Russell

"Are you coming to the rally on Sunday?" asked my co-worker, Mort Toall.

"I didn't know anything about a rally, Mort," I said. "What's it about?"

"It's a pro-war rally," he said. "We're tired of the administration's pussyfooting around. Let's get in there, grab 'em by the gonads, and squeeze 'til the oil runs out."

"I don't know, Mort," I said. "The inspectors keep looking, and they can't find any evidence of weapons of mass destruction. It seems kind of hard to justify invading another country just because we want their oil."

"What kind of wimp are you?" he scoffed. "Have you looked at the price on the pump in the last few weeks? It's $1.55 per gallon and still climbing."

"Mort," I said hesitantly, "there are other things to consider. International law, for example. The immorality of an invasion. The deaths of thousands of people."

"Oh sure," he said. "Talk abstractions. You don't have to pump gas into my SUV every evening. Then you'd know what real pain is."

"Mort," I said, "I share your pain. But it just seems cynical and wrong to pretend we're trying to make the world a safer place when we're willing to bribe, buy, bomb, or betray anything that keeps big oil companies from writing their own ticket."

He looked at me angrily. "Ace," he said, "I'm beginning to wonder about your loyalty."

"What do you mean?" I said, taken aback.

"You know what I mean," he said accusingly. "United we stand. The colors in this flag don't run."

He was starting to tick me off. "Will you stop talking like a bumper sticker," I said. "According to the most recent polls, only 29% of the American people support a unilateral American invasion, while 63% favor a diplomatic solution. So if there's anybody standing united, it's the majority of the American people, and they're united against the administration's determination to start a war."

"Bury your head in the sand," he said. "Those people are a real threat to the U.S., and they need to be taken care of before it's too late."

"Mort," I said, "answer me this. Why is it that North Korea gets the kid-gloves treatment, when they make no bones about their intentions to develop weapons of mass destruction, but 160,000 troops are on the way to bomb, invade, and militarily occupy Iraq, when there's no evidence at all that they have such weapons?"

"Ace," he said, "there's not enough oil in Korea to wet my dipstick."

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