Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Speaking of Countries The Size of Urinal Stickers...

This is how Belgium fights the war on terror.

Belgium, as John Gibson writes in Hating America: The New World Sport, "is a nation of 10 million people...a motorist would have to drive no more than two hundred and fifty miles to cover the distance between its most distant points. It is a dark and dreary place. Of the nearly nine thousand hours in a year, Belgium gets only about 16 percent - just under fourteen hundred hours - in sunshine. Belgians live through a lot of rain. As a nation, it is gloomy, pessimistic, introspective, highly traumatized by war, and deeply suspicious of everyone, including its own people."

And I might add:

Belgium's chief exports are pralines and bitty little chocolates. Its main ethnic groups are the Flemish, the Walloons, and the Anklebiters. Its 'army' consists largely of easily-winded 40 year-old reservists, who, with luck, occasionally prove able to storm a flight of stairs. NATO headquarters is located in Belgium: hopefully it's on the first floor.

In the past, Belgium was periodically invaded when the Germans were in the mood for pralines or when France needed yet another smack upside the croissant. To its credit, Belgium fought; it doesn't fight anymore. Now, mostly, it tries to drag other, much larger countries into court over "war crimes." Or it used to, anyway, until someone yelled at it.

Belgium is what Tolkien's Shire might be like if the Hobbits had Kyoto fever. Belgium is condensed Canada. Just add moose and medicinal marijuana. Or urinal stickers. Because as long as they're pissing the future of their country and that of Europe away in a post 9/11 world, the Belgians might as well have some fun.