Monday, September 05, 2005

Searching for the ‘Noble Cause’


Washington, Sept. 6 –

White House Spokesman Scott McClellan, in this morning’s press conference, admitted “with a great deal of embarrassment,” that the White House has been unable to locate the “noble cause” for which over 1,900 U.S. troops and perhaps 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died.

In response to a question from a reporter with the Hur Herald, McClellan said that White House officials, after a “thorough, extensive, and painstaking search” of administration offices, have found no trace of the missing cause. President Bush has repeatedly cited the “noble cause” as justification for the invasion and continued occupation of Iraq. When asked if the absence of a noble cause would affect the U.S.’s willingness to continue with the bloody, horrendously expensive conflict, McClellan replied that the President saw no reason to stop prosecuting the war while the search for the missing cause goes on.

The missing “noble cause” was last seen, McClellan said, in the office of Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, but Wolfowitz has disavowed any responsibility for the cause’s disappearance. “It was in Dick Cheney’s office, it was in Don Rumsfeld’s office, it was in Condi Rice’s office,” complained Wolfowitz. “Everybody in the administration had their hands on it at one time or another.”

“We are determined to get to the bottom of this,” declared McClellan, “and the search will continue until the cause is located.” Hopes have been raised on numerous occasions, but as each false sighting is ruled out, prospects for finding the cause—now missing for over three years—have grown increasingly slim.

McClellan read a brief statement from the President in which Mr. Bush said, “If any member of my administration acted wrongly or was involved in the disappearance of the noble cause, I will fire that person immediately, and he or she will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.” In the afternoon, the President issued a clarification, saying, “What I meant was that I would fire anyone who was convicted for the disappearance of the noble cause.”

Reacting to the announcement, media commentators immediately began comparing the vanished “noble cause” to the missing eighteen minutes on White House tapes during the Watergate investigations. When asked if the President had at any point had the “noble cause” in his possession, McClellan angrily responded, “This President is a manager and delegater. At no time did he personally touch the noble cause, and we deny categorically that he has any knowledge of or responsibility for its disappearance.”

First reactions to the disclosure have been mixed. Some officials have speculated that a White House cleaning lady may have inadvertently disposed of the “noble cause” while the President was at his Texas ranch for his most recent month-long vacation.

Congressional Republican staffers have announced a prayer breakfast tomorrow morning to pray for the speedy return of the missing cause. Other party loyalists have taken the position that the administration has been so busy trying to dismantle the remnants of the Great Society, shred the United Nations, promote state religion, and manage wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that the “noble cause” has simply been misplaced in the swirl of activity, and will—as one supporter put it—“turn up in somebody’s drawer, and then you’ll wonder what all the fuss was about.”

© Tony Russell, 2005

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