Mirror, mirror, on the world’s wall

Who is the fairest of them all? Well, it used to be us.

Adri Mehra

I heard a phrase recently that’s been bandied about the water cooler and the radio dial alike this past week.

Is it another terse Trump aping of “You’re fired”? Perhaps the under-due renaissance of MTV’s self-styled “wardrobe malfunction”?

I can only wish this one was generated by the usual suspect, reality television.

Nope. The folks of Lake Wobegons everywhere have been talking about “World War III,” and it ain’t pretty.

Of course, there are a number of reasons for intoning a set of words better reserved for a Philip K. Dick or Frank Herbert novel (hell, I’d even give Tom Clancy naming rights in exchange for peace on Earth).

For one, we see an endgame version of our beloved Bush administration clutching at whatever hawkish straws are left in the burning barn of its failed crotch-grabbing, hyper-ambitious “cowboy diplomacy” tack.

While 2,986 people died in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the British Medical Journal estimates 100,000 innocent Iraqi men, women and children killed by the three-year-old American occupation of their country.

More than 2,500 Americans have lost their lives in Operation Iraqi Freedom – a number that is added to nearly every day – and between 20,000 and 50,000 soldiers have been injured, many of them permanently disfigured, to say nothing of the lifelong psychological damage of combat.

And now what? The United States is readying the rest of the Middle East for a proxy war with Israel in its place.

For all of the purported “saber-rattling” on the parts of Hezbollah and North Korea (which, according to the United States, is out to build the next nuclear bomb), this is really the sound of one hand clapping, and it’s ours.

Now in its second week, Israel has pounded the Lebanese capital Beirut, with relentless shelling and airstrikes that already have killed nearly 200 people.

Israel’s prolonged and merciless action, which included the bombing of a Beirut power station that left millions of families without power and access to fresh water for days, is supposedly in response to Hezbollah’s capture of two Israeli soldiers earlier this month.

But everyone knows this is just the tripwire set in place by an increasingly isolated Judeo-American dynasty in its last throes.

Flanked by rising oceans separating it from an extremely prosperous South Asia and an unsympathetic but largely unified Western Europe, the U.S. is in the home stretch of what may be its swansong power play as the world’s biggest bully – with Israel as its only friend.

While our schools, libraries and young minds are disintegrating from seven years of neglect, our leaders find themselves running out of cash, oil and that most precious and nonrenewable of commodities: time.

Just like the previous two incarnations of its namesake, World War III soon could be on our doorstep – and we’ll have no choice but to sacrifice our livelihoods, and eventually our lives, for the wars of our government.

So every time you hear about Hezbollah or Hamas or Kim Jong-il, remember this: These people have no beef with you. They’re just stooges in conflicts that have been co-opted by Uncle Sam in your name.

Because when your government’s bottom line is synonymous with the military-industrial complex, you need a lot of enemies to make those arms contracts pay off.

World War III. The final installment in a series that may be our last renewable resource.