Top 10 People to Grill for Memorial Day

What with this being Memorial Day weekend and all the talk turning to grilling…and what with the fact that when talk in DC turns to grilling we mean “enhanced interrogation techniques”…I thought it might be entertaining to put together a list of the 10 people we would most like to see this weekend (or sometime ...

585594_090522_rothb2.jpg
585594_090522_rothb2.jpg

What with this being Memorial Day weekend and all the talk turning to grilling...and what with the fact that when talk in DC turns to grilling we mean "enhanced interrogation techniques"...I thought it might be entertaining to put together a list of the 10 people we would most like to see this weekend (or sometime soon) on the grill, the waterboard, under the hot lights answering the questions we need answers to. And by answering, I don't mean the kind of answers you get on "Meet the Press." I mean the truth.

So here they are, 10 people who I'd like to leave alone in a room with Dick Cheney, a car battery, and jumper cables:

What with this being Memorial Day weekend and all the talk turning to grilling…and what with the fact that when talk in DC turns to grilling we mean “enhanced interrogation techniques”…I thought it might be entertaining to put together a list of the 10 people we would most like to see this weekend (or sometime soon) on the grill, the waterboard, under the hot lights answering the questions we need answers to. And by answering, I don’t mean the kind of answers you get on “Meet the Press.” I mean the truth.

So here they are, 10 people who I’d like to leave alone in a room with Dick Cheney, a car battery, and jumper cables:

10. Alvaro Colom…

My question for the president of Guatemala would be “How did you feel the first time you saw the video-taped murder accusation leveled at you by (now deceased) attorney Rodrigo Rosenberg Marzano?” Of course, given the web of accusations, counter-accusations, and dubious assertions surrounding this murder, another question that comes to mind is: “Did you do it?” And another is: “How much longer do you think you have in office if Guatemala descends into the kind of civil discord that has marked much of its modern history?”

9. Robert Mugabe…

Frankly, I don’t really feel the need to have a good question, here. This is a guy who seriously could use a date with a Delco just because he’s one of the vilest, most corrupt leaders on the planet. That said, because we like our enhanced interrogations to be productive around here, how about, just as an appetizer: “How could you possibly continue to support the appointment of Gideon Gono as Reserve Bank Governor given that he has single handedly achieved the impossible and made the Zimbabwean currency famous worldwide…as a laughingstock…while making hyperinflation a national tragedy for your country?”

8. Nancy Pelosi…

Ah sweet irony. The questions are easy here: “The truth now, what did you know, when did you know it…and most importantly, why didn’t you do anything about it once you knew?”  But just to add to the fun, maybe we could let Pelosi nemesis, erstwhile CIA Director-candidate Jane Harman, oversee the questioning.

7. Joe Biden…

This entry was suggested by an anonymous email from the address barryo@whitehouse.gov. The reason it was picked was that in an inventive twist, it was suggested by this mysterious Mr. O that Biden only feel the heat from the alligator clips attached to his nipples if he actually attempted to answer the questions posed to him. Or speak. Or pretty much make any sound at all. 

6. Brad Grey…

Mr. Grey is the CEO of Paramount Pictures. And my question for him is perhaps the simplest of all those posed here. Why, why, why would you ever greenlight a picture featuring the Wayans Brothers like this weekend’s Dance Flick?” As amusing as a slideshow from Abu Ghraib, the last time these guys were funny…any of them…was in utero.

5. Carla Bruni, Kate Hudson

The list goes on here at number 5. This is a category where the question is the same and you can use it with any of a large number of people who need to provide us with an answer to that age old query: “What do you see in him?” The question can be modified, of course. So it can be, “Carla, what do you see in that little megalomaniac?” Or it can be, “Kate, what do you see in that preening steroidal late-season-choke-machine? Are you actually trying to kill Owen Wilson by dating this lug?” (And please be wary, Kate. When October comes, those big strong arms of A-Rod’s turn to spaghetti. But who knows, the steroids may have produced the same effect elsewhere long before then.)

4. Hank Paulson…

What I want to ask is, “Hank, I know you are a sensitive, self-aware guy. You’re even a bird-watcher for goodness, sake. So tell me, in your heart of hearts, what were you really thinking when you decided to pull the plug on Lehman? Did it make you feel good even a teensy-weensy bit? No, really, not even a little bit?

3. Bibi Netanyahu…

The question is “when?” You don’t have to tell Barack, no matter what he says. But I want to know. Just in case things backfire. You know, so I can buy up what might become a few choice oceanfront lots in say, Amman, Jordan. 

2. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad…

You didn’t think I would make Bibi sweat under the hot  lights and not you, did you? But here’s the question: “How stupid do you think we are?” No, I know how stupid you think the officials of the international community are and frankly, I hardly blame you. If I were you and I could keep stalling for more time to advance my nuclear programs, all the while making belligerent noises and testing missiles, I’d do it too. But the question is: “Do you really think everyone is stupid enough to trust you with nukes? Everyone?”

1. Dick Cheney…

It wouldn’t be Memorial Day without an All-American Hero at number one.  And what a hero you are, Dick. You didn’t flinch expending American blood to advance your far-fetched fantasies. And for that reason and hundreds of thousands of others, no one is a more appropriate main entrée on our grilling menu. Of course, you can’t fry yourself…so we’ll have to find volunteers. (That shouldn’t be too hard.) The bad news is that the questions we’d like to ask may be a little uncomfortable. Like: “Did you or the president specifically ok individual instances of torture?” and “Did you knowingly lie to Congress or the American people to justify the invasion of Iraq?” But there’s good news too, because as we understand it, you’ve never met a defibrillator you didn’t like.

So that’s 10. Eleven actually. And I resisted throwing in the American Idol judges because I realized I didn’t want to interrogate them. I just wanted to torture them…just as they have tortured us with that show’s bland caterwauling for the past eight years. But feel free to nominate your own victims…er, honorees…or to pose additional questions for the wonderful folks above. And have a great Memorial Day.

Evan Agostini/Getty Images

David Rothkopf is visiting professor at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His latest book is The Great Questions of Tomorrow. He has been a longtime contributor to Foreign Policy and was CEO and editor of the FP Group from 2012 to May 2017. Twitter: @djrothkopf

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