Ten thousand Roman eyes sought shade as they squinted against a savage Italian sun. Tall Roman-built concrete steps beckoned early risers who wanted to glimpse the man in uniform on the red carpet, as it rolled him out of the pallet. Nubian guards surrounded Petronius and his precious papers quickly. Before reaching the steps of the senate the crowd lined the Appian Way where they had watched, in awe, the parade of popular politicians each wearing their region's colors.
The political circus circled the forum, where the man they had come to see waved briefly and spoke softly: "Before Bush, the surge god, speaks let me remind every citizen what every good soldier knows, only men on the ground win the war." He raised his hands, but not his voice. "We have defeated pomposity abroad now we must defeat it at home (wild applause). Whom, I ask, denounced the placard-carrying populace in front of the palace? Precious few senators or men of letters I daresay. The Ides of March are nowhere in sight, yet I stand at the ready to fall on my dagger should the surge not succeed. As for those who resist, Petronius will mock you to death."
He turned and disappeared through large purple double doors. He adjusted his toga as he made his way onto the senate floor where insider-assassins were quickly foiled. Seated before a newly built podium he presented his argument: I wrote this article/report all by myself. I had no help. (He pounded the podium with closed fists.) I did not visit Iraq or other countries. I did not talk to the soldiers, nor their families. I did not first talk to Bush, nor confer with the palace guards (shaking his head side to side). From Google earth I was able to see no dead Iraqis. For that matter I did not see any violence in the streets, to be sure, but there was virtual violence directed at my entourage. Imagine, I virtually escaped a chariot bombing. Another soldier took the hit for me in the field, what a loss of a trusted Sheik ally.
We not only lost an ally, but we also lost much money. Booty sent to the field in billion-dollar brick bullions–where has it gone people? I am reticent delivering such a scathing soliloquy about the knot heads who lost that money. But we must expose the money mess. A democracy is a far cry from a dictatorship (cheers). And money greases the squeaky chariot. We have had to spend a mere near-trillion dollars to takeover, defend, defeat, and put back together again a country the size of Spain, with a capital the size of Rome. How’s that for pompous politics? These billions are a drop in the Republic, he expressed, while dispatching his page boy. We will not be outspent by neighboring countries, nay the world. Nothing is too good, no amount of gold too great to line the pockets of our purveyors. We will win, we must win. He was on his feet now. The Republican guard roared, the compliments flowed from the senate, heads bowed in obeisance, then nodded in silent approval.
What would you rather see — a showdown in Iran or a draw-down in Iraq? If you trust in your leadership, you will see both before the summer solstice. Our brothers in Judea don’t want to swim in a bloodbath across Megiddo. There will begin a draw down reluctantly after the festival of Janus, I promise on my dear mother's grave, that about 30,000 men (a full five legions) will return home. But that will leave a mere million men in place until doomsday or the Bush god leaves office, whichever comes first.