Oopsy daisy

It’s a very weird thing, I’ll have you know, trying to write a column about this war one week in advance of going to press that still retains some kind of connection to reality. As I begin this week’s Babylon, I do so with a wobbly wooziness, similar to the feeling you get when you first realize that you’ve been nailed by some bad Chinese food. This peaceful queasy feelin’ comes directly from last week’s column, over which I sweated bullets trying to achieve some kind of decent accuracy with observations about the war that would hold up during the week it would be read. That issue just hit the racks today, and it is, naturally, a total bust.

To refresh your memory, last week, I conjured up some voodoo-style reasoning about how Saddam wouldn’t dare use Weapons of Mass Destruction on our troops because he doesn’t want to justify Bush’s blah blah blah. So, of course our troops have now (Thursday the 3rd) entered this “red zone” around Baghdad, and our military experts are half expecting some kind of nerve gas attack at any moment, figuring this pissy madman has nothing to lose, so he’s gonna take as many accursed Yanks with him as he can. Oops.

In that same column, I accused the Bush administration of selling the American people a bill of goods when it came to the scenario of Iraqis hailing our troops as liberators. Well, my crystal ball must be filled with swamp gas or something, because there was a report on the idiot box not five minutes ago about how Iraqis in many towns are feeling secure enough about our troops’ presence that they are now being friendly, informative and helpful in getting Saddam’s bad ass thugs rooted out. More oops.

I’m tellin’ ya, it’s rough trying to guess what the hell is gonna be goin’ down with this war seven days before my stuff hits your eyeballs. If war is hell, then war writing is a stone-cold, blankety-blank sumbitch.

But just because my previous column may have deserved a red, hot rocket-propelled grenade to the shorts, that doesn’t mean it’s time to bail. (At this juncture, I should point out that if Saddam still hasn’t gassed anybody, and if Iraqi locals have unexpectedly turned hostile to our troops, feel free to write a letter to the editor that gushingly praises my intuitive feel for the ebb and flow of this conflict.) This war is too big, too dominant of a story to simply avoid. It’s one of those rare times in modern history (like the weeks after 9/11) when a columnist turns his back at his peril. I’m just hoping we wrap this thing up pronto, so I can get back to writing low stress columns about Mormon crickets on herbal ecstasy invading the Space Place.

In the end, it’s obvious that the only thing last week’s column did was give me something to write about this week.