Column: A debate to be remembered

Last Monday, Saddam Hussein challenged President Bush to a televised debate. The two world leaders finally met on the fourth floor of Laws Hall with me as the moderator. Here is a partial transcript:

Jason Rosenbaum: Now Saddam, you've been compared to Hitler. How does that make you feel?

Saddam Hussein: It makes me feel bad, you filthy, Zionist scoundrel! Yes, I used gas to kill my own people, but who cares? If gassing people draws parallels to the Nazis, then I don't know what I can say to you.

JR: You've also been accused of ordering soldiers to rape the wives and daughters of political prisoners, beating men for eight hours straight and shocking the testicles of innocent Iraqis ...

SH: Hey! That's part of a new program to increase fertility rates! After all, we need more children to act as human shields (coughs), I mean martyrs against the evil Americans!

JR: President Bush, staying on the Hitler theme for a moment, a Columbia resident said if you looked in the mirror, you would find the "next Hitler." How does that make you feel?

George W. Bush: People in America are entitled to their opinion. I respectfully disagree with them. Under Saddam's regime, you don't find too many people who disagree with him. You didn't find many who disagreed with the Taliban either. But soon, with a coalition led by the United States, the Iraqi people will soon be able to do exactly what that person just did ... criticize their government.

JR: Mr. President, what do you think of Europeans who say you're rushing to war?

GWB: If 12 years is a rush to war, then it must be the slowest rush to war in history. There have been 18 resolutions passed attempting to disarm Saddam peacefully. It has not happened. Some folks want to prolong inspections. But that's the reason we're in this mess in the first place. If we continue this path, Saddam will inevitably give his weapons to terrorists groups while we're trying to contain him.

JR: Saddam?

SH: That's a filthy, scandalous lie! Why would I want to interact with terrorist groups? I'm already spending enough money supporting Hamas and Islamic Jihad. If I spend any more, then I'm not going to have enough to build my weapons of mass destruction ... oops! I mean my spacious palaces of course.

JR: Do you think there's a peaceful solution to this problem, President Bush?

GWB: We're using the threat of war as an instrument to get Saddam to disarm. If he gives up his arsenal of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons the same way South Africa and the former Soviet Republic did, we might be able to avert war.

JR: What do you think, President Hussein?

SH: I'd like to use the words of the great American statesman Sheryl Crow: (shuffles his papers) "I think war is based in greed and there are huge karmic retributions that will follow." If America would just lighten up a little, we wouldn't be in this problem in the first place.

JR: Final thoughts now, Saddam Hussein?

SH: Give peace a chance so I can stay in power! Also, I put anthrax in the mashed potatoes at Dobbs.

JR: President Bush?

GWB: Let's put it this way ' in a few weeks, Saddam Hussein will no longer be a problem to the United States and our friends and allies.

JR: Thank you and good night ... (grabs his bowl of mashed potatoes from the table).

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