Monday, May 02, 2005

Open Letter to Zalmay Khalilzad 

Dear Zal, if I may be so familiar:

I know you’re a busy man, what with filling the shoes of Mr. Negroponte. So many clandestine operations, so little time. I’ll therefore be brief.

Knowing of your and the president’s deep and abiding concern for human life and dignity (I believe you call it a “culture of life”), I am writing today to offer a suggestion, modeled after the highly useful and successful color-coded terror alerts used by the DHS here in the U.S. (Although they have of late been less useful, it seems. Well, times change, needs change.)

I have noticed in today’s news that there are new deaths in Iraq. It seems to be a very dangerous place to live, and hardly an example of the “culture of life” so valued by the administration you serve. Surely this can’t go on. What I propose is that you institute a color-coded chance-of-dying alert for Iraqi citizens. It could go like this:

RED=1:10 chance of dying today
CRIMSON=2-5:10 chance of dying today
BRIGHT RED=6-8:10 chance of dying today
DAYGLO NEON RED=you’re fucked

Now, I realize that there are obstacles to making this work. For one, the hospitals are overcrowded and in worse shape now than before the illegal invasion occurred. For another, you aren’t technically in charge of Iraq. Finally, there’s the problem of knowing when to call an alert, and how red it should be. However, these obstacles are easily overcome. For the first, you could simply remind people that getting wounded is as good as getting killed. For the second, come on. You must have some pull. After all, the Army is still running things, and you and Don R. are as tight as ticks. As for the last, it’s easy. Just keep in mind that the idea isn’t really to keep the Iraqis safe, it’s to show the world how democratic and caring the new Iraqi government is. In this case, however, the lower the alert level is, the better, politically speaking. There is a time for everything, of course, and in the future it may be more useful to ramp up the alert level. You might also consider dishing out plastic sheeting and duct tape as a measure to show how we care. Oh, right, never mind. We did that already, at that prison, what was it called? Anyway, that, and asking Iraqi citizens and police (who are always to be on Dayglo Neon Red Alert) to watch for cars that have travel guides and almanacs (or Islamic literature) in them might help too.

None of this will save any Iraqi lives, of course. But remember, again, that’s not the point. Surely you recall that from your time in Afghanistan and your conversations with Mr. Ridge, before he left, and with Mr. Chertoff these days. And of course, for Americans like yourself working in Iraq the alert level must always be Dayglo Neon Red, since that whole “winning hearts and minds” thing didn’t quite pan out and the natives are little riled.

Well, it’s been a pleasure offering you this suggestion, and if I can be of any further assistance, please don’t hesitate to write. Give my regards to Saddam, whose memoirs will, I’m sure, show how this whole Iraq disaster was worth it. I'm sure your boss, Dr. Rice, will approve. But be careful. I wouldn't want you to get one of those pointy boot tips up your patootie. Unless, of course, that's your thing.

Yours in winning hearts and minds,


corrente SBL - New Location
~ Since April 2010 ~

~ Since 2003 ~

The Washington Chestnut
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