To: Saddam Hussein
From: Donald Rumsfeld
I'm sure you can guess what this is about. Frankly, I'm embarrassed to have to write this letter. Alas, these are stressful times, and the climate is ripe for rumors and misunderstanding.
Let me set things straight once and for all. First, our new Office of Strategic Influence that everybody's yapping about. Is this amazing or what? We're trying to win a war, and I've got to deal with these overeducated brats complaining that we might occasionally tell a little white lie in order to accomplish our goals. Hey, Saddam, what would you do?
Never mind. You didn't get the title of "evildoer" by holding democratic referendums. Oh, by the way, I'm sure you understand why we had to include you in the "axis of evil." I mean, really. You gas your own people; you invade neighboring countries; you don't cooperate with the United Nations, by which you sentence your people to starvation. Who's clueless here? No one plays evildoer as well as you, Saddam. Hats off.
It's not easy being the good guy, either, I can tell you. I'm watching C-Span's National Journal the other morning. You know, it's this show where they let people call in and express an opinion. (Honestly, I hope you never see it. Our people, for all their good qualities, are doing no damage to the political science curve.) Anyway, I was flabbergasted to hear Americans labeling as "dishonest" our intent to strategically plant a little disinformation as a war tactic.
I can hear you chuckling from over here. What am I supposed to do, send an engraved invitation to our enemies? "Please join us for a post-sundown invasion, April 1, 2002, seven o'clock. Target: Baghdad. No civilians please. RSVP." Idiots.
Anyway, here's the deal. Because our European allies are having a snit-fit over our aggressive position in the war against terrorism - as though, who wouldn't? - and given public reaction to our plans for strategic influence, we're offering an alternative plan to our enemies. This isn't personal, you understand. Never did I or anyone else in this administration mean to hurt your feelings.
But, as I know you understand, the United States has a moral duty to follow through on our promise to humanity. We cannot abide your violations of human rights, your clear intent to attack and destroy us as often and as soon as possible. We cannot tolerate your contempt for the basic tenets of civilization.
I realize this isn't news to you. We've made our position clear, and we've never wavered from it. Unfortunately, I'm forced to clarify by my own people. One of the by-products of a free society - and the principal reason you couldn't hack it - is that people get to say whatever they want. Any moron with a computer can start a bulletin board and criticize our government.
We're able to withstand these assaults, which come just as frequently from journalists who should have a clue about reality, because we have Truth on our side. It goes like this: Human beings have a God-given right to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. We'll defend that right with all our might, even it means some of our people are less than grateful. I'm not cruel enough to allow you to teach them a lesson.
Anyway, Saddam, my apologies for venting. I know you don't need a U.S. civics lesson, even if some of my own people do. But, hey, who better understands my frustrations than you? Talk about irony. The two men who would as soon slit each other's throats at least have the droll satisfaction of knowing we understand each other. Good and evil always have, I suppose.
So, here's the revised plan, and this is not disinformation. We are coming to get you. We are going to kill you if possible. We will cause as little damage to your country and people as possible. And when you and your colleagues in evil are neutralized, we will work to help your people become independent, strong and well-fed. When we come, by the way, don't look for a press release. We'll come from nowhere. And everywhere.
Cheers, old enemy.