I’m writing a romance novel about the neo-conservative takeover of the White House. Bubbling underneath all the exchanged glances over tables of power, the handshakes and smiles, there is raw emotion raging like a volcano about to erupt.
Here’s the pitch: We open at a press conference, where Bush is addressing the successes of the Iraqi war. He’s doing the usual, joking about and looking confident, when abruptly something catches his eye. In an instant, he’s making up words, spouting sentences that make no logical or grammatical sense, and generally looking flustered. The spectators give each other knowing looks, like this is a familiar joke, but we know the truth: Paul Wolfowitz has entered the room.
This is where I introduce Wolfowitz, since most of America has no idea who the man is. During the 1990s, Wolfowitz was an influential member of the Project for the New American Century, a group of intellectuals who urged such things as an invasion of Iraq throughout the Clinton years, an unswerving support of Israeli aggression and an issuing of threats toward Syria and Iran. This is basically the gist of neo-conservative foreign policy: pre-emptive aggression to supposedly ensure America’s safety.
So, as secretary of defense, Wolfie, a nickname Bush affectionately gave him, determines who our army attacks. Some think Rumsfeld holds the cards, but we’ll explain that Wolfie controls him through sordid blackmail material, involving leather chaps, a satchel of kittens, voodoo rituals and Fidel Castro. Besides, Rumsfeld has the image of being a lovable old psycho, while Wolfie closely resembles a gremlin. Here’s a little teaser to show you what I’m talking about:
“Dubya nervously stepped into the war room, Wolfie’s hand on his shoulder, guiding and comforting him. Generals were poring over a map of Iraq, setting up model tanks along its borders, when Dubya pointed to a spot.
“Let’s bomb here,” said Dubya. “I think this is a good target.”
“That’s uninhabited desert, you boob,” snapped Rumsfeld. “Who the hell are we supposed to kill there?”
Wolfie glared at Rumsfeld and slid a finger across his throat, imitating a knife. “OK, good idea,” Rumsfeld sighed. “We’ll bomb that sand dune.” Dubya beamed back at Wolfie proudly, who shot him a wink.
Feel the passion? My model for Bush is the hooker with a heart of gold, a character popularized in the ’80s hit “Pretty Woman.” Bush spends most of his life confused, getting addicted to drugs, failing at business, and becoming born again during a midlife crisis. He turns tricks for big businessmen and makes good money, but something’s missing. That’s where Wolfie comes in, like a lighthouse in the foggy darkness.
I’m still contemplating how to handle the love scenes, as they must be simultaneously tasteful and steamy. I have also pondered whether I should interject my opinion of neo-cons, which is that they fake altruism in order to feed the military establishment, ignoring domestic problems, but that would risk turning off audiences that don’t want thinking to interfere with their junk food literature.
The question has been posed: How did neo-cons, a miniscule group at odds with the majority of the foreign policy elite, gain control of the Bush administration? There’s been many responses to that query, but the answer I will present in my book is perhaps the most eloquent of them all: love, sweet love.
Nexus staff writer Drew Atkins’ personal entanglement with a satchel of kittens deserves a book of its own.