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The Obama Interview

For quite some time now, I’ve been dreaming that President Obama would grant me an exclusive interview. But the White House gatekeepers stood in the way and prevented it from happening. And then suddenly, out of the dark summer skies, he appeared to pay me an unexpected visit. Startled, I said, “Mr. President, thanks for stopping by.” “My pleasure,” he replied, “what’s up?” “May I ask you a few questions,” I quietly, humbly said. “Shoot,” he said, “I’m all yours.” So I did (not shoot him, of course), and here’s how it went:

Me: Mr. President…
He: Drop the Mr. President, Hillel, this is unofficial.
Me: Sure (I swallowed hard, before continuing). You hardly unpacked in the White House, as I recall, when you visited the Middle East and made a grand speech in Cairo. It was a speech full of hope and the wish for change and peace. Where did it all go?
He: Well, this speech ushered the Arab Spring, as you know. The winds of hope and change I brought with me spread like wild fire throughout the region, where we now have democracy in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and soon Syria. This speech ignited that fire.
Me: Excuse me, but I thought this Tunisian man who set himself on fire in the marketplace was the one who ignited that fire. And maybe the war in Iraq helped a bit, too.
He: As for the Tunisian vendor, of course, his contribution was immense. However, that horrific and heroic act could not by itself have brought about such major changes. There was a strong force pushing it from behind. And as for the war in Iraq, which my objection to it helped propelled me into the Presidency, I will say only this: We pulled our troops out, as I promised we would do, but not before insuring that the infant democracy there has some legs to stand, and maybe walk on. We can now direct our attention and resources to advance peace and prosperity elsewhere.
Me: Like Afghanistan, which is really your war now, is it not? Why don’t you own up to it, sir?
He: I do, my friend, I do. But you see, I had to finish the job there and killed that master terrorist Osama bin Laden. Which we did! And now we’re in the process, slow as it is, of pulling our troops out from there too. I just need some more time, maybe four more years, to complete the job.
Me: But here at home, the economy sunk meanwhile, don’t you…
He: Yes, I should’ve paid more attention to the home front, I agree, jobs and all.
Me: But you fell in love with being the “Commander in Chief,” wouldn’t you say so?
He: It gets to you, man, what can I tell you, especially that I never wore army uniform myself. But my grandfather did, you know?
Me: I heard you saying that a number of times before. But allow me, even though you received the Noble Peace Prize before you even finished your first year in office, you became a war president, drones and all, instead of a peace maker?
He: Not accurate, my friend, not accurate. Look at Burma, for instance, where due in large part to our persistent efforts and foreign policy stand of supporting the opposition, we now have a democracy blooming. Again, look at Iraq, too. It’s a tough world out there, you see. And the absence of war in many parts, even without full fledge peace, is sometimes all we can get, and maybe a second best.
Me: Like in Israel, with the Palestinians?
He: You got that right, no war there, while I’m in office.
Me: No peace, either. What happened to all the grand plans, all the elaborate peace initiatives and ceremonial peace conferences? You and your administration gave up on it, so it seems?
He: Not exactly. We’re working on it, still, though behind the scenes mostly. And I tell you what, the Palestinians themselves seem to get on with their lives, working and going about their daily businesses. The Israelis are prospering, and from all I hear, are just having fun in the sun there in Tel Aviv.
Me: But in the west bank, settlement activity continues full speed. You’ve failed miserably in your efforts to stop Mr. Netanyahu, that’s very clear. Why?
He: Don’t be so harsh, my friend. Mr. Netanyahu is a tough nut to crack, I admit. And yet he’s the legitimate leader of Israel, democratically elected. I cannot enforce on him and his people resolutions they are not willing to take. It’s up to them to decide whether they want to live in a constant state of peace or war.
Me: But now he has almost unlimited power with this new coalition. And he always seems to get the upper hand on you in every fight, why is that? Even here in Washington he might be more popular than you.
He: Right, King Bibi. I hear that how Time magazine has labeled him.
Me: Yes, but without your unyielding support: money, fighter planes, bunker-buster bombs, you name it, and everything else in between, he won’t be so powerful, would he?
He: Well, he needs me, and I need him. Now more than ever. It takes two to tango, as they say here in Washington. I have a big fight on my hand in this coming election. I even invited all those ultra-orthodox Jews to visit me in the White House. Just give me four more years, guys, and I’ll bring peace there too.
Me: But what about Iran? Before peace in the Middle East can be established, you need…
He: We are working on it, my friend, working on it real hard. You may have heard about our coordination with the Israelis on these cyber war attacks against their nuclear facilities and computer systems. That’s just an example of what we can do together.
Me: Not the real deal, though. And some actually call it cyber terrorism?
He: Let them call it what they want. We’ll do whatever needs to be done to stop Iran from having the capability of producing a nuclear bomb. Let me be very clear about that, for you and your readers.
Me: So no aerial attack any time soon?
He: One never knows. After the election, that’s a possibility, too.
Me: Even a visit to Israel, at last.
He: Affirmative. A visit to Israel is in the planning, too, you heard it here first. Just give me four more years!

I woke up in terror, sweat streaming down from my forehead. I stayed still in bed for a while, staring blankly at the ceiling, questioning whether I should trust him again.

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