A Modest Proposal for Winning the Iraq War

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It is apparent
that our country is tied in a knot. Bogged down in two foreign wars,
we now find ourselves with an economic crisis at home. I have some
modest proposals that I believe will solve many of our problems.

Like many people,
I’m baffled at the reluctance of the Iraqis to embrace the democratic
system we are seeking to impose on them. Admittedly, a western-style
liberal democracy is entirely foreign to their culture and religion.
But this is no reason to reject our assistance, especially when
we accompany our blessings with high explosives. What can you do
with unreasonable people? History provides the answer.

The person
who really knew how to deal with the Middle East was Alexander the
Great. Alexander had the funny idea that when you make war, you
should defeat your enemy, not yourself. He also expected to turn
a profit, and would accept nothing less than complete victory. When
the cities of Tyre and Gaza declined to be conquered, Alexander
besieged them, killed all who resisted, and sold the survivors into
slavery. Selling defeated enemies to the slave merchant was not
only profitable, but a humane alternative to their execution. Since
the Iraqis are being obstinate, I suggest we sell the entire population
of twenty-eight million – men, women, and children – into slavery.
Once Iraq has been emptied of its troublesome native population,
we can lease it to Exxon-Mobile with the understanding that they
are to provide the US with oil in return for a fair profit. Energy
crisis solved!

A minor impediment
to this plan is the regrettable fact there is currently no market
for slaves because no nation in the world today officially permits
slavery. However, I believe many third-world countries could be
intimidated into changing their policies by threat of nuclear bombardment.
The proper way to begin would probably be to make an example of
an especially obnoxious regime. I suggest detonating a small atomic
bomb on the site of the presidential palace in Zimbabwe. This would
have the desirable side effect of rewarding us with the undying
gratitude of the Zimbabwean people. Some people might express horror
at the prospect of using atomic weapons. But a little nuclear chastisement
never hurt anyone. Look at what it did for Japan. The angry militaristic
nation that bombed Pearl Harbor was turned into a productive and
peaceful country that supplies us with marvelous cameras.

When Iraqi
oil has been utterly depleted, the real estate could be sold to
Israel. The sale of slaves, oil, and land would thus turn an unprofitable
and ill-advised venture into a lucrative and happy enterprise.

Other opportunities
suggest themselves. When Ronald Reagan invaded Grenada in 1983,
the war was won handily in fifteen minutes. The hostile Grenadans
were successfully subdued, and have not bothered us since. By picking
a war he could win, Reagan proved himself smarter than George Bush.
But I think we could do better still by invading a country that
was not only pathetically weak, but rich.

Canada would be a piece of cake. Technically, they have a military,
but realistically the only opposition will come from the Mounted
Police. There will be no problem with the population, because the
Canadians have disarmed themselves with gun-control policies. Certainly,
the element of surprise would be on our side. By the time the Canadians
woke to the tanks in their streets, it would be all over. The invasion
could be morally justified by the fact that in some places in Canada
there are people who (gasp) speak French.

Having quickly
subdued Canada, we could then turn it into a satrapy, letting the
Canadians do whatsoever they pleased, so long as they paid us a
stiff tax. The income from Canada could be used to provide all US
citizens with free medical services. Health care crisis solved!

I’m aware that
my modest proposals may rouse the indignation of the world, especially
that of our friends, the Europeans. But in fact I am only proposing
that we fulfill the expectations of our continental colleagues,
as they already consider Americans to be both barbarous and ignorant.
Europeans, in contrast, are the most moral and enlightened people
on earth. It is true that in past centuries they burned people alive
for having the wrong religion, or for the dastardly crime of thinking
the wrong thoughts. But our dear friends have made considerable
progress. In the last century, they set the standard by blessing
humanity with World War I, World War II, and the Holocaust. Can
we do any less?

14, 2008

Deming [send him mail]
is an associate professor of Arts and Sciences at the University
of Oklahoma, but his opinions do not necessarily represent those
of the University.

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