Tony Blair, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld - You're My Prize Guys
by Terry Jones
Well the end of the year is as good a time as any to distribute prizes. And first is the Gary Glitter Cup for Self-Restraint, to Tony Blair. It can't have been an easy couple of years for him, and yet he has somehow managed to keep that smile on his lips and that cheerful sparkle in his eye with a degree of self-restraint that impressed the judges.
Over the past two years, Tony has seen all his Iraq policies turn into unmitigated disasters. Instead of his stated aim of bringing peace and happiness to the people of Iraq, he has brought them chaos, bloodshed, violence and misery. Instead of making Britain safer, his policies have made this country a target for terrorism for the foreseeable future.
And now there is open talk in the Senate of impeaching George Bush; the New York Times accuses him of "recklessness" and claims he "may also have violated the law". Tony must be finding it difficult to sleep. Yet he is able to get up in the morning unassisted! He is able to look at himself in the mirror, shave without damaging his throat, and go to work with every appearance of a man who imagines he's doing a good job.
This achievement richly deserves the Gary Glitter Cup. Well done, Tony!
And now we come to the Dick Cheney "Goblet of Fire" Award for Courage in the Face of Action. And for the sixth successive year, the award goes to ... the vice-president of the US ... Dick Cheney!
This year the judge (who is, once again, Dick Cheney) cites in particular Mr Cheney's fearlessness in speaking with authority on military matters despite the fact that he has never served in the military. In fact Mr Cheney received no less than five deferments rather than serve his country in uniform. Nor has he lost his nerve, despite seeing the death rate of American servicemen and women climb above the 2,000 mark. Those who have already died will be heartened by his courageous determination to risk yet more people's lives.
Well done, Dick. The "Goblet of Fire" is yours once again.
The Kellogg Brown and Root Shield for Corporate Services also goes to Dick Cheney, along with the purse of between $180,000 and $1m (payable annually as "deferred compensation"). KBR is the engineering and construction arm of Halliburton, of which Dick Cheney was CEO from 1995 to 2000 - in which time the value of Halliburton's US government contracts almost doubled from $1.2bn to $2.3bn.
He then became vice-president, and things have got even better for KBR, even though Mr Cheney resigned his company position. As of March 1 2004, KBR has been awarded reconstruction work in Iraq and Afghanistan worth at least $3.9bn.
So step up, Dick Cheney!
We now come to the Abu Ghraib Trophy for Human Rights, and ... yes, it's another triumph for the VP! Dick Cheney has stood firm against a wicked cabal of Republican senators - John Warner of Virginia, John McCain of Arizona, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina - who tried to sneak a clause into the 2005 military spending bill that would outlaw "cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment" to military prisoners. How can the US champion human rights unless it is allowed unrestrained access to any torture techniques it considers fit, to use against enemies that are both sub-human and have forfeited any rights to be treated as our fellow creatures?
Well done, Dick! I hope the Abu Ghraib Trophy will sit proudly alongside all those others.
We now move on to the Narnia Prize for the Closest Impersonation of Donald Rumsfeld, which this year goes to ... yes, Donald Rumsfeld! Donald has consistently played himself, throughout the unfolding military and public relations disaster in Iraq and the exposure of torture in US military prisons. Eschewing all imitations, he has brought his philosophical double-think and understated, homespun comedy to all affairs of state, no matter how grave. Chaos and lawlessness in Iraq? "Freedom's untidy," says the defence secretary, November 2005. Hunger strike at Guantánamo Bay? "There are a number of people who do go on a diet," says Rummy. Great stuff.
Finally we come to the Apocalypse Now! Award for Redefining the World, which this year goes to the president of the United States, George Bush.
The judges were unanimous. The president claimed that in the second world war, the forces of freedom defeated the ideology of fascism. In the cold war, those same forces defeated communism. "Today, in the Middle East, freedom is contending with ... terrorists affiliated with or inspired by al-Qaida," whose ultimate aim is to "establish a totalitarian Islamic empire that reaches from Indonesia to Spain".
With a simple piece of unnoticed elision, George Bush has recreated the crusades. Rumsfeld and Cheney can rest assured that the arms industry will flourish for years to come. The west has a new enemy: Islam.
Poor Islam. Poor Christianity. Poor us.
George Bush, the Apocalypse Now! award is yours.