A Modest Proposal for Winning the Iraq War


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.

Conquering 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?

October 14, 2008