“I think it’s fair to say our commission believes that there are alternatives between the stated alternatives, the ones that are out there in the political debate, of stay-the-course and cut-and-run.”
— James A. Baker III, co-chair of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, on ABC’s This Week
OPTION A: CUT TO THE CHASE
• All forces under Allied command in Iraq and Afghanistan are redeployed to the search for Osama bin Laden.
• Bin Laden is apprehended.
• The United States declares victory.
• Bin Laden is tried, convicted and sentenced to serve as administrator of both nations, while United States withdraws.
OPTION B: STAY IN CORSICA
• Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld are reassigned to an island in the Mediterranean or South Atlantic.
• A naval blockade is imposed.
• They retain their titles, salaries and perquisites of office and are free to exercise their geopolitical ambitions within the confines of the selected land mass.
• Islands under consideration include Corsica (FR), Elba (IT) and St. Helena (UK).
OPTION C: STAYS AND CORSETS
• For reasons of national security, the entire nation of Iraq is classified.
• Individual Iraqis are authorized to be aware of their own activities and experiences on a strictly “need to know” basis.
• Casualty figures, expenditures and other data are selectively released after being subjected to the Playtex-Gödel compression algorithm, which reduces them by two orders of magnitude, plus or minus three inches.
OPTION D: CUT THE MAIN COURSE BUT STAY FOR DESSERT
• As it has proven unfeasible to provide Iraq with such basic elements of a democracy as stability, self-determination and the rule of law, the reconstruction effort instead proceeds directly to late-stage democracy (LSD).
• Emphasis is placed on such indices of LSD as per capita fuel consumption, obesity and online sex.
• Expected benefits to Iraqi population, and indirectly to the United States, include increased goodwill, increased sales of prescription drugs, and decreased interest in politics.
OPTION E: NIP AND TUCK
• ”Cosmetic surgery” is performed on the body politic of Iraq, removing “ugly” regions and declaring them independent.
• At the end of the process, Iraq is coextensive with premises and grounds of the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad.
• Resources that are currently expended on quelling the insurgency are redirected to redecorating, improving recreational facilities and offering free wireless access, turn-down services, pillow mints and other amenities.
• To establish the Iraqi character of the new state, complimentary suites are provided for three Iraqi families, one each of Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish extraction, who then become subjects of a reality TV program.
• Revenue from US and foreign syndication guarantees economic independence of the new Iraq.
OPTION F: TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN
• Contractors and other US corporations active in Iraq are asked to estimate the revenues expected to accrue to them from operations in that country over the next twenty years.
• The Iraqi Constitution is amended to provide that the specified amounts be deducted, pro rata and on a quarterly basis, from Iraqi oil revenues and remitted to the corporations concerned.
• Corporations and their support staff (US troops, officials, etc.) are now free to leave Iraq, since income stream is guaranteed regardless.
OPTION G: CUT THE CRAP
• The Bush Administration concedes that the entire Iraq adventure has been an utter fraud and an unqualified disaster.
• President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary Rumsfeld and Secretary Rice resign in disgrace.
• Hell freezes over.