A grim joke made the rounds in late 2002 and early 2003, in the lead-up to the US invasion of Iraq. The version I recall went something like this:
President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney go into a Texas bar. Over a couple of beers they plan the invasion of Iraq, taking out Saddam Hussein and taking control of Iraq’s vast oil reserves. The big question, though, is how Americans might react to their starting another war, with victory still elusive in Afghanistan. They decide to do an impromptu sampling of public opinion, and invite an average, all-American looking guy standing at the bar to join them for a friendly drink.
“What would you think of us invading Iraq and taking over their oil fields, if you knew that 30,000 Iraqis and one American bicycle mechanic would be killed if we do it?” Bush asks.
The fellow slowly sips his beer, his brow furrowed. He mulls the question and looks troubled. Finally he asks, “Why should an American bicycle mechanic have to die?”
Cheney slaps the table and grins triumphantly at Bush. “I told you no one would give a damn about the 30,000 Iraqis!”