BY DON MONKERUD
The Bush administration has admitted that it has found the chemical weapons it went to war in Iraq over. Unfortunately, those weapons reside in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Oregon and Utah.
"I don't know why we couldn't find them", said US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. "We believed Saddam Hussein had chemical weapons because we gave them to him. He's a devious dictator who could have sold them back to us or turned them into Rice Crispies."
US military forces have been combing Iraq to locate stockpiles of chemical weapons for months. Marines examined eggbeaters, whisks, salad spinners and Magic Mixers in Iraqi households for chemical contamination. Last month, the CIA was embarrassed when what they thought was nerve gas turned out to be hot sauce for huevos rancheros, a type of Mexican breakfast.
The disclosure of chemical weapons became known when the Defense Department discovered the Army spent US$1 billion to build a chemical incinerator in Anniston, Alabama. Angered at having to subtract these funds from their $67 billion budget for nine months of warfare and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, Defense Department officials called for an immediate investigation of themselves.
"We need to get every penny we can get out of this war", said Joe Wetears, head of Halliburton's "Occupation on the Cheap" program, which replaces military personnel with corporate contractors. "Soldiers need special dehydration diets, MRE beanie weenies and no showers or clean underwear so we can increase our shareholders' paychecks."
Administration officials could not explain their failure to locate some 700,000 munitions weighing almost 5 million pounds that have been in Alabama for over 40 years. The chemical weapons are "more or less" safely stored in concrete bunkers, like that used to hide Vice-president Dick Cheney, although, like Cheney, many of them are leaking.
"We couldn't find them due to this faith-based thing", said the vice-president. "The president's close reading of Deuteronomy, didn't reveal the weapons, but he knows in his heart that the weapons exist."
Officials in Alabama immediately became nervous about a possible invasion and promised to ask the Army to destroy the weapons. Weapons include "GB", a nerve agent so deadly that a drop on the skin can kill; "VX", another nerve toxin that Bush can't pronounce, and mustard gas, similar to that produced when you eat too many hot dogs.
Reports indicate that workers from Westinghouse and Disney World began cutting up weapons with steak knives early last week, and burning them in backyard barbecues. Although some residents feared for their safety, Bush officials assured them that the destruction of 5 million pounds of deadly chemical weapons would only last 70 years. Toxic side effects could provide an unexpected benefit by reducing obesity and boosting the local economy when residents play extras in the remake of Pirates of the Caribbean.
"I wear a Martha Stewart apron, pink fuzzy slippers and my Elvis T-shirt to protect myself from nerve gas", said Less Blowhard, a Westinghouse employee whose training consisted of listening to 12 hours of the Rush Limbaugh show. "Toxic chemicals are less deadly than the hot air coming out of Washington."
The army increased safety standards by raising workers' reading requirements from fifth- to seventh-grade level. Judge Ptomaine Panfry of the US District Court declared that safety plans were adequate because no-one could prove they weren't. Other safety programs include airtight classrooms for children and equipping all civilians with special gas masks, which come with instruction cards in Chinese and involve placing a black plastic bag over your head and wrapping duct tape tightly around your neck.
"The masks contain enough oxygen to last an average person two minutes, but their real value is in getting us high", said Colonel Bobby Bent III, overseer of the Pentagon's abstinence-only program.
Halliburton and Bechtel will oversee distribution of the ash from the destroyed weapons. Plans call for a variety of solutions including mixing ash with peanut butter, to achieve an even distribution in the world's waterways, and axle grease, which will bond forever with the ash.
ExxonMobil and Enron are working on an innovative technology to add the chemical nerve gas directly to gasoline to give an added boost to fuel efficiency.
[Don Monkerud is an Aptos, California-based columnist and author who follows politics.]
From Green Left Weekly, September 3, 2003.
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