Barney speaks out

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I know this space is usually occupied by some guy with a goofy grin, but I asked him if I could have my say on something and he agreed. So I'm your guest columnist for the day.

I'm writing to tell my side of a story. There's a lot of misinformation floating around about who I am and what I believe; it's time for me to clear the air.

First let me introduce myself.

The name's Barney.

Some of you might know me as the 6-year-old black Scottish Terrier who happens to live at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

OK, I'll be clearer. I'm the First Dog. I ride on Air Force One, sleep at the foot of the president's bed and sometimes get overly friendly with the legs of foreign dignitaries.

I just do my thing.

Recently I got quite a shock when I opened Bob Woodward's new book "State of Denial." The book was about my master and the mistakes he's made in Iraq.

My kind of book, I thought.

So there I was reading along, nodding my head when I came across this gem from the chief: "I will not withdraw even if Laura and Barney are the only ones supporting me."

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Back up a minute. I don't ever remember voicing support for the big guy's military policy. I mean I've been here, he could have asked my opinion, but it never happened.

He thinks my areas of expertise are limited to the wrong end of a poodle.

Well I'm here to say he's wrong. In fact, I think if people would have listened to me from the start we could have avoided this war altogether.

You see, I have some insight into the mind of the current leader of the free world. Back when I heard him make the case for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, I was barking to anyone who would listen, "don't believe him."

Because I've been misled and burned by this guy in the past.

It happened five years ago. I was a young happy pup full of energy and loving life. And then one day the boss says we're going for a ride to the park. I hopped into the limo with my tail wagging and green spaces dancing in my head.

Well guess what? We never got there. He took me to the office of some guy with a white coat and a real inferiority complex. I'll spare you the details of what happened. ... Let's just say it was enough to make any Scotty gulp when his kilt sways in the wind.

So I don't quite trust the guy.

But that's not my only reason for questioning Iraq. I've also learned a thing or two about occupying hostile territory.

Ever tried to do your business in the Rose Garden? The Secret Service aren't exactly crazy about it.

You end up with three of 'em yanking on your collar and photographers snapping pictures. But at least I can take a hint. My one squat in the garden was enough to tell me I had wandered into a place where nobody wanted me.

The chief doesn't take hints so easily as our troops can attest.

I generally live and let live, but that changes now. With Bush enlisting me in his "coalition of the willing" my only hope is to appeal to a higher authority to end this war.

Like any dog worth his salt, I can spot an alpha male when I see one. And my master regularly has the scruff of his neck gnawed by a real ornery one. Not sure what his name is but he sure gives me the creeps. Old bald guy who goes hunting a lot.

Maybe he can smack W on the nose with a newspaper and get me and Laura off the hook.

TJ Greaney is a staff reporter for the Southeast Missourian.

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