Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Dougie Feith: What was he like as a kid?

Dougie Feith (left) and Gary Greenberg - 1966

Have you heard? Dougie Feith now has his own website for the purpose of clearing his good name and resurecting it back into the pantheon of heroes. This may be harder than he thinks. In the meantime, let's explore what he was like as a kid.

Fortunately, Gary Greenberg, a talented writer and very funny guy in Florida has already done the job. I went to college with Gary's brother - but that's another story.

And Dubya always does what Dubya’s told. In fact, that’s how my old pal Dougie Feith helped lead our country on a crusade to conquer the Middle East.

Dougie and I were best friends in the latter stages of elementary school and went to the same overnight camp for years. Even as a kid, Dougie was elitist and egotistical, one reason he fits in so well with the current administration. I recall him often saying, “It’s not bragging if you can back it up.”

And Dougie could back it up. He was brighter than most of our teachers and a champion tennis player who even intimidated adults with his precocious arrogance. Other kids thought he was a jerk for being so bossy, but as the youngest child of my family, I was used to being ordered around. And Dougie was cool. He was smart, rich and had a control over things that I lacked.

I also felt indebted to him because he got me out of class an hour every day for weeks to help him type up an abridged version of A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream for our sixth grade play. He was the only one in the class who could type, including the teacher, and needed someone to dictate the play to him because one of his few failings at that point in life was he couldn’t touch type. And that someone was lucky me, even though reading A Midsummer’s Dream aloud for an hour straight was a lot more work than sitting in class daydreaming about sports and/or Linda Goldfine.

Eventually, Dougie and I parted ways in junior high. He went to private school, presumably because he was too smart for public school, then Harvard and Georgetown Law, no doubt to prove it. Now Dougie has become the honorable Douglas J. Feith, the Defense Department’s undersecretary of policy and self-appointed protector of the state of Israel.

When it comes to Israel, Dougie is so far right he’s wrong. And he helped influence our very easily influenced president on our country’s current Middle Eastern crusade to democratize (read conquer) this oil rich region under the guise of...well, I’m not sure they even bother with a guise since the weapons of mass destruction didn’t pan out. Dougie, of course, would do anything to stabilize the Middle East for Israel’s security and must have figured a war with Iraq was a good start.

Surely there is something funny here. A rabid Jew telling a fanatical Christian how to deal with Muslim extremists? We’re talking sitcom material. Yet I still can’t find a punch line.

The rest, as they say, is history. And now there is a punchline. But it is tragic and not one bit funny.

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