Carry on, Caesar. Death awaits us at every corner, but you, sir - carry on. Don't let us, with our petty lives and deaths, stand in your way. You have a plan. We're sure of it. For that reason, we feel certain that everything we see going on around us is merely a preliminary for something a lot more successful, some brilliant idea that will change the whole picture in one fell swoop.

We only look hopeless, you know. We don't really feel like the walking dead. We believe in your promise of peace, O Caesar. We feel it coming in great, winged strides. You will force our enemies to love us, no matter what we do to them. You will get rid of their leader and install someone else in his place, someone submissive and obedient. And then, in a wink, the hearts of our enemies will fill with love for us. They will forgive us for all our misdeeds, and even justify them and realize that they had a purpose.

Only please, could you hurry up a little? We aren't complaining, God forbid. We don't doubt your ability to reinvent human nature, and we know that you are the man who can mold the enemy, getting them to accept whatever we offer them, even your blank refusal to give them anything at all. Just because no people, no matter how strong, has ever managed to keep up this kind of occupation under such conditions doesn't mean it's a law of nature: We can be the first! Why not? Only we beg of you, get a move on, because soon, how should we put it, you won't have any people left. Soldiers or civilians.

Things are little rough, sir, if you've noticed, which we're sure you have. But you are strong, stronger than we are, no question. We are weak-willed and timid, what can we do? For that we need you, to lead us with your power, and your army - one of the mightiest armies in the world - toward a new future, the "era of retaliatory strikes," you might call it (as we did in the `50s). It will be a future in which every time the fedayeen strike, we will strike back! They'll hit us here, and we'll hit them there. They'll blow themselves up in our streets, and we'll send bombers out to theirs. What a brainstorm! Now that's what you call using our power to the hilt!

True, a speck of doubt creeps in sometimes, an idle thought, about the different definitions of courage and cowardice, faith and defeatism. Sometimes a small unpatriotic devil whispers in our ear that maybe the worst kind of defeatism is our slow, almost hypnotic descent into oblivion and apathy, without even trying to pull ourselves out. Sometimes, a wagging tongue has the nerve to insinuate that even with the terrible cards in our hand right now - the despair, the barbarity of Palestinian terrorism, the settlements, that impossible Arafat - we could, somehow, play a better game. By making better use of opportunities to thaw the ice and reach a compromise. By trying to be smart, not just right. By doing something to change the situation dramatically, with the help of a bold, magnanimous, far-sighted political maneuver.

But, of course, we have an irrefutable argument for that: We've already tried! We offered them everything and all they did was spurn and betray us! Never again. We will not repeat that fatal mistake. We will always face forward, embracing the tactics and strategies that have been so successful, and brought us to where we are today.

And so, O Caesar, continue to fight until our last drop of blood. The main thing, of course, is to make the enemy bleed, too. In unison, we declare: "Let us die with the Philistines." Serves them right.

Sometimes, one has to admit, we get a little confused. Forgive us. When we hear some of your ministers demanding that the army strike back with even greater force, that we reoccupy the territories, that we send four million Palestinians into exile, we start to wonder whether your plan is so clever and sophisticated that it even has answers for the apocalypse that will take place if these ideas are implemented. We start to wonder whether, for the sake of your goals, you have made a strategic decision to move the battlefield not into enemy territory, as is normally done, but into a completely different dimension of reality - into the realm of utter absurdity, into the realm of utter self-obliteration, in which we will get nothing and neither will they. A big fat zero.

But these are only trifling thoughts. Your loyal citizens have no doubts about your wisdom and your vision. Very soon, it will become evident to all and sundry that there was a profound reason for having to live in this senseless way for years, and for agreeing to "suspend our disbelief," like in the theater, until the plot is resolved and the secret comes out. For this same unknown reason, we have permitted the undermining of our democracy, our economy, our security and the possibility of ever having a tolerable future here.

One way or another, when we finally discover what those motives and reasons are, which are currently beyond us, we will understand why we have had to spend decades living in a world parallel to the one we were meant to live in, and why we agreed to live our one and only life in a kind of latent death. Until then, we will continue to support you with all our heart. We, who are about to die - in the dozens, the hundreds and the thousands - salute thee. Hail, Caesar!