From the Ministry of Silly Wars

From the Min­istry of Sil­ly Wars

Let­ter to the Observer
Sun­day Jan­u­ary 26, 2003

Ter­ry Jones

I’m real­ly excit­ed by George Bush’s lat­est rea­son for bomb­ing Iraq: he’s run­ning out of patience. And so am I! For some time now I’ve been real­ly pissed off with Mr John­son, who lives a cou­ple of doors down the street.

Well, him and Mr Patel, who runs the health food shop. They both give me queer looks, and I’m sure Mr John­son is plan­ning some­thing nasty for me, but so far I haven’t been able to dis­cov­er what.

I’ve been round to his place a few times to see what he’s up to, but he’s got every­thing well hid­den. That’s how devi­ous he is. As for Mr Patel, don’t ask me how I know, I just know — from very good sources — that he is, in real­i­ty, a Mass Mur­der­er. I have leaflet­ed the street telling them that if we don’t act first, he’ll pick us off one by one. Some of my neigh­bours say, if I’ve got proof, why don’t I go to the police? But that’s sim­ply ridicu­lous. The police will say that they need evi­dence of a crime with which to charge my neigh­bours. They’ll come up with end­less red tape and quib­bling about the rights and wrongs of a pre-emp­tive strike and all the while Mr John­son will be final­is­ing his plans to do ter­ri­ble things to me, while Mr Patel will be secret­ly mur­der­ing people.

Since I’m the only one in the street with a decent range of auto­mat­ic firearms, I reck­on it’s up to me to keep the peace. But until recent­ly that’s been a lit­tle dif­fi­cult. Now, how­ev­er, George W. Bush has made it clear that all I need to do is run out of patience, and then I can wade in and do what­ev­er I want!

And let’s face it, Mr Bush’s care­ful­ly thought-out pol­i­cy towards Iraq is the only way to bring about inter­na­tion­al peace and secu­ri­ty. The one cer­tain way to stop Mus­lim fun­da­men­tal­ist sui­cide bombers tar­get­ing the US or the UK is to bomb a few Mus­lim coun­tries that have nev­er threat­ened us.

That’s why I want to blow up Mr John­son’s garage and kill his wife and chil­dren. Strike first! That’ll teach him a les­son. Then he’ll leave us in peace and stop peer­ing at me in that total­ly unac­cept­able way.

Mr Bush makes it clear that all he needs to know before bomb­ing Iraq is that Sad­dam is a real­ly nasty man and that he has weapons of mass destruc­tion — even if no one can find them. I’m cer­tain I’ve just as much jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for killing Mr John­son’s wife and chil­dren as Mr Bush has for bomb­ing Iraq. Mr Bush’s long-term aim is to make the world a safer place by elim­i­nat­ing ‘rogue states’ and ‘ter­ror­ism’. It’s such a clever long-term aim because how can you ever know when you’ve achieved it?

How will Mr Bush know when he’s wiped out all ter­ror­ists? When every sin­gle ter­ror­ist is dead? But then a ter­ror­ist is only a ter­ror­ist once he’s com­mit­ted an act of terror.

What about would-be ter­ror­ists? These are the ones you real­ly want to elim­i­nate, since most of the known ter­ror­ists, being sui­cide bombers, have already elim­i­nat­ed themselves.

Per­haps Mr Bush needs to wipe out every­one who could pos­si­bly be a future ter­ror­ist? Maybe he can’t be sure he’s achieved his objec­tive until every Mus­lim fun­da­men­tal­ist is dead? But then some mod­er­ate Mus­lims might con­vert to fun­da­men­tal­ism. Maybe the only real­ly safe thing to do would be for Mr Bush to elim­i­nate all Muslims?

It’s the same in my street. Mr John­son and Mr Patel are just the tip of the ice­berg. There are dozens of oth­er peo­ple in the street who I don’t like and who — quite frankly — look at me in odd ways. No one will be real­ly safe until I’ve wiped them all out. My wife says I might be going too far but I tell her I’m sim­ply using the same log­ic as the Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States. That shuts her up.

Like Mr Bush, I’ve run out of patience, and if that’s a good enough rea­son for the Pres­i­dent, it’s good enough for me. I’m going to give the whole street two weeks — no, 10 days — to come out in the open and hand over all aliens and inter­plan­e­tary hijack­ers, galac­tic out­laws and inter­stel­lar ter­ror­ist mas­ter­minds, and if they don’t hand them over nice­ly and say ‘Thank you’, I’m going to bomb the entire street to king­dom come.

It’s just as sane as what George W. Bush is propos­ing — and, in con­trast to what he’s intend­ing, my pol­i­cy will destroy only one street.

Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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