“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.