by Austin Bay
April 1, 2003 imagine (I repeat, imagine) the discovery of a
handwritten letter, in a pile of Baghdad bunker rubble ... a letter that
To the Supreme Council:
I have written the letter you ordered. The wily Tariq assures me
it will be delivered to our historic leader. Praise to Saddam, grand Saddam,
glorious Saddam, wherever he is, wherever he rests and his doubles sleep.
My letter informed the great, historic Saddam that the strategic
situation is precisely as the great, historic reporter Peter Arnett observed
on our TV. Our Republican Guard is defeating -- or at least interrupting --
America's 3rd Infantry Division and 1st Marine Division. Our fedayeen --
culled from the best of Baghdad's underworld gangs -- have so vexed supply
lines that for two days the arrogant Marines ate a single meal, and that
meal was one of those foul-tasting Meals Ready to Eat like the one we found
in the Humanitarian Aid package we shared at our last council meeting. (I
did not mention, however, that the Marines appeared to have plenty of
An army fights on its stomach, I told Saddam. For two days, we
denied the Marines the minimum calorie requirements prescribed by the U.S.
Department of Agriculture. They griped with the belly growls of jackals. BBC
reported this culinary victory as a dietician from San Francisco emphasized
how deleterious skipping dinner is to the karma of young Marines.
In my letter, I told our leader the world is turning against
Amerika and her British poodles. (When I worked for the chemical company in
France, a woman I knew had a poodle -- an obnoxious, effete animal.) We have
Britain's soldiers exactly where we want them, I wrote. We've cornered them
on the Fao Peninsula, in Basra, in Umm Qasr, along the roads heading north,
in dirty nowhere villages distributing food to civilians. Note, I told
Saddam, there has been no mention of grog rations. We must be denying the
Brits their grog.
Then I told him that the Bush administration, already despised
by The New York Times (which I read via Internet, before an air attack
destroyed my computer), is now openly criticized by American people. Can you
imagine, a government openly criticized? Moreover, the world's intellectuals
are with Saddam. Those who know -- people with degrees from great
universities, like Oxford and the Saddam Hussein Academy for Advanced
Martyrdom -- have concluded Amerika's war plans are awry. Each bitter
morning the generals at CENTCOM blink before banks of TV cameras, like
confused gazelles snared by hunters, like hares beneath the shadow of the
desert falcon, as those who know, the press corps, confront them with their
I added a summary of how we used the sandstorm (a Divine Wind, I
called it) to move our Republican Guard Nebuchadnezzar Division from north
of Baghdad to the south. I concluded with a comment that time and world
opinion are on our side. Balanced analysts like Ramsey Clark, Noam Chomsky,
the Dixie Chicks and Kim Jong Il support us.
I did as ordered. As always, I gave Saddam what he wants to
But among us ... I know so little. Remember Khafji, Saudi
Arabia? In February 1991, we sent brigades into Khafji, a desperate
reconnaissance in force. We could not see the battlefield. Our men died in
We are blind again. Oh, we see the 3rd Division, pinning our
Republican Guards. We can move toward it but not away from it, at least not
with our equipment. That's the Americans' trick. American smart bombs then
turn our tanks to flame and slag.
Though our fedayeen still terrorize our Shias -- we let them
know our cruelty has no limits -- we know the Shias' vengeance awaits us. We
say we rely on the Arab street, but the Arab street is a pitiful alley where
shouts die quickly and the strong man's banners tatter and burn once his
bayonet is gone.
U.S. forces have lost fewer than 60 men in combat. As we scream
"Vietnam," they reply with a curt "9/11." Gentlemen, the angry American
street has arrived at the gates of Baghdad. They are not here to negotiate.
Alas. I have tried to phone my Swiss banker. Unfortunately, I
can't get a dial tone.