“Hm?” Crowley murmured.
“The war,” said Aziraphale. “The United Sta—sorry, the coalition forces—against Ira—Saddam Hussein.”
“Oh, that.” Crowley blinked. “I thought that was your side. Liberation of oppressed peoples, spreading of democracy, removal of nasty dictator, etc.”
“My side doesn’t go in for the killing of innocents,” said Aziraphale coldly. He looked surprised.
Crowley grinned. “Yeah, right. Like all those—”
“Not anymore, not it if can be avoided,” Aziraphale amended hastily. “And do you know how many precious works of art were lost in the looting of museums?”
Crowley nodded. He had been rather upset about that himself. Humans died eventually anyway, but there was no need to lose irreplaceable cultural artifacts.
“People dying is worse, of course,” said Aziraphale, sharply. He was becoming far too skilled at reading the look in Crowley’s shades-shielded eyes. There was a pause. “Your side is definitely responsible for Fox News, though—right?”
“Oh, that, yeah.”
“Funny.” Aziraphale stared into his glass. “You’d have thought they’d send out a memo or something. You’re sure it wasn’t your side?”
“Not really,” said Crowley. “I just assumed it was yours.” He cast about for a different topic. The war made him nervous; all the talk of regime change reminded him of Lucifer. Which reminded him of the Saunter. “I think we need more drinks.”
Six bottles later, they became quite confident in their political philosophies.
“Jusss’ tempt the bugger,” Crowley insisted. “America’sss good at that. Import pop culture and wosssname, Botoxss. Corrupt ’im in a week. He’ll sssit around watching reality sshowss while American oil companiesss take control.”
Aziraphale disagreed incoherently. “Got to . . .” He paused. “Make it good. Show ’im goodness, like. Never had a daddy growin’ up . . . his mum didn’t want him. Poor kid. Poor kiddie. He jus’ wants to be loved . . . reform ’im, that’s the key.” He hiccupped.
“Reform my arssse,” said Crowley. He thought about that for a moment. “If’t wassn’t my side, an’ it wassn’ yoursss . . .”
Aziraphale blinked owlishly at him. “Yeah?”
“Humansss,” said Crowley. “Funny buggerss. Want to take a holiday in Sssyria?”