I’ve lived in a handful of apartments, and the one thing I always let go is the oven. Out of sight, out of mind. It’s always dark in there, so you can never see how much crap has built up from month after month of french fries and chicken and pork chops, and the occasional pizza that escaped your attention when you had too many beers one Friday night and fell asleep waiting for it to be done. Then as moving day approaches, you make a mental checklist of the things that you have to have cleaned before you leave and at some point during that process it dawns on you: Damn, I have to clean the fucking oven.
George W. Bush seemed throughout like he owned the place, but he has only been a tenant these last seven and a half y
ears, and come next January, the lease is up, and he has to have his shit packed and be ready to point that U-Haul down Pennsylvania Avenue and head back to Crawford.
It’s no surprise, then, that Bush has started his checklist on what he needs to do before he throws on his threadbare “I Ate The Worm!” tee-shirt on moving day and tosses the futon and the last box of Sports Illustrateds into the truck and hits the road. Cancelled the cable–check. Turned the garage door opener back in–check . Sent the change-of-address to the Post Office–check. Caught bin Laden…..shit! I didn’t catch bin Laden.
It just dawned on the President this weekend that he’s probably going to lose the cleaning deposit if he doesn’t roll up his sleeves and catch the man he once pledged to capture “dead or alive.” Toward that end, he spent the last leg of his European tour this week enlisting the committment of British special forces to nab Bin Laden before he heads back to Texas to work on his library and wait for the post-Presidential redemption that eventually found Harry Truman.
I understand the sincerity behind the motivation, but he hasn’t been a very diligent tenant in his time, and the still-missing Public Enemy #1 is probably the last thing the landlords are going to notice when they have to hand over the keys to the new residents next January. Even if he cleans the oven and finds Osama, he can almost certainly isn’t going to see that deposit.
For a diabetic on the run, Mr. bin Laden has continued to have a great degree of fun at the U.S. expense. In January 2003, he released another videotape that elicited this response from Jay Leno, “Let me guess: He’s standing in front of a pile of rocks threatening us. Am I close?”
In short order, “dead or alive” gave way to Bush’s famous, “I don’t really think about him all that much.”
That said, I applaud his resolve. Better late than never. Osama bin Laden has been an Executive Branch blind spot since we dropped the ball at Tora Bora in December 2001, and then decided to move onto the next war. I’m no fan of loose ends, and it would be nice to tie this one up–given that he did kill on the short side of 3,000 Americans. That’s one of those things worth getting angry over, and it would be nice to see some resolution.
According to an article today in the UK’s TimesOnline.com, a U.S. intelligence source said of Bush’s 11th-hour resolve, “If he [Bush] can say he has killed Saddam Hussein and captured Bin Laden, he can claim to have left the world a safer place.” Okay, as long as you’re not an American in your twenties or thirties and wearing fatigue in Iraq, but alright.
Anyway, to the soon-to-be-former resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, we’re not going to be sticklers on the oven. We’ll take care of it if we have to. If you want to move early, just leave your keys in an envelope under the door, and we’ll take care of the cleanup.