Sunday, March 23, 2003
In the Observer today,12239,920286,00.html we learn that...

US intelligence officials said there was now a high volume of back-channel communications with officials inside Iraq. American military officers were trying, often by telephone, to coax their Iraqi counterparts into surrendering.

"Often by telephone" is sort of puzzling in itself. Are they also using homing pigeons? e-mails? long personal letters? And how do you telephonically "coax" your Iraqui counterpart to surrender?

�Hi. Mahmoud? That you? This is Al.�

�Ah. Yes. Hi, Al.�

�So, you thought any more about what I said yesterday?�

�Not really. I�ve been kind of busy. We�re fighting a war, you know.�

�Heheh. Tell me about it. So whaddayasay, Mahmoud � ready to surrender?�

�Not, uh...�

�C'mon, man. You know you want to. Didn�t you get the flowers?�


�Yeah. I sent flowers. I dictated the card myself � to a Noble Opponent.�

�That was you? They�re very nice.�

�And the photos? You got the photos of the house okay?�

�The house? It looks lovely.�

�It�s a time share in Puerto Vallerta. We�ve got it for a whole month in September but you�re a general, who has time to go to Mexico and knock back the Coronas by the pool? I guess you know how it goes.�

�Saddam, he�s not big on giving us vacation time either.�

�Well, listen, Mahmoud, you surrender, and I can tell you where you�ll be in September.�

�I have to go.�

�Hey. I hope I didn�t say anything wrong.�

�Not at all. But I�ve got an air force colonel on the other line. He�s been sending me pizza and boxes of candy. He says if I surrender his family are taking me to Disneyworld.�

It's probably not like that at all.