The "coalition of the willing" expands

Can lions and tigers and bears help defeat the insurgents?

Published March 30, 2006 10:57PM (EST)

The best news headline of recent memory came over the transom on March 1. The Armed Forces Information Service, the official agitprop wire feed of the U.S. military, had posted this story: "Pentagon Officials Not Panicked Over Recent Iraq Strife."

Not panicked. That said it all.

Today the same news service released some more good news from the front lines. The circus has joined the war effort -- the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, in fact. The clowns, the acrobats, the elephants, the zebras, they are all onboard.

According to the story, Gen. Richard B. Myers, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently attended a big-top event in Washington. He was given "a scroll and specially designed ringmaster top hat." Then he was encouraged to look at "an elephant wearing a specially designed extra-large dog tag."

To be clear, I think all Americans, and all American companies, should be supporting our troops in Iraq, in Afghanistan and elsewhere. I certainly do. I'm just not sure elephants and clowns are the best ambassadors for the war effort.

But maybe I am wrong. They certainly do help stave off that feeling of panic.

By Michael Scherer

Michael Scherer is Salon's Washington correspondent. Read his other articles here.

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