Sunday, April 01, 2007

Dear US embassy: This is just a draft. I haven't sent it to my editors yet. If there is anything in it that violates the press ground rules, PLEASE let me know!

Message from the Green Zone: Humpty Dumpty was here

I’m tired of being in Iraq. I’m tired of facing tragedy here day after day. This country is in trouble. This country is screwed.

I’ve been in Iraq for a week now and already I’m ready to go home. Everywhere I look, there is tragedy – tragedy for the Americans, tragedy for the Iraqis. This country is like Humpty Dumpty. It’s a freaking broken egg. And nothing the Americans or the insurgents or the thugs or the Iraqi government can do will put it back together again and make it back into an egg.

So. If you can’t put the egg back in its shell, what CAN you do? Make an omelet? Sure. But even if you make it into the best omelet in the world, Iraq is still gonna get all eaten up.

“There you go again, Jane," said that voice in back of my brain, "playing Little Ms. Smarty-Pants. If you are such a know-it-all, then what would YOU do?” That’s simple. That’s easy. That’s a no-brainer. I’d stop trying to put the freaking egg back together. I’d even stop trying to make deviled egg sandwiches. I’d go back to the freaking CHICKEN that laid the freaking egg and start all over. That’s what I’d do.

Yesterday we visited an Iraqi bakery that makes fabulous bread. As we poked our heads over the counter in curiosity to see how the bread was made, we saw stacks of flour stamped with the UN logo, a huge mixer for the dough and six or eight young men kneading the dough and shaping it into loaves. Then the dough was laid out on long wooden boards and shoved into a kiln. The air smelled like hot fresh-baked bread. Heavenly.

And in the back of the bakery was an open door where I could sort of make out a very small room stuffed with three-tiered bunk beds. It had holes in the ceiling and it looked like the last time it had been painted was back in the days of Adam and Eve. “Who lives there?” I asked my guide.

“The men who are making the bread. They live there.” You’re kidding me! Let’s talk about this. Here we are in a country that has the second largest oil supply in the world lying under its feet and its citizens are living like THAT? Huh?

If I was in charge of the Iraqi chicken, here’s what I’d do: I’d get Exxon or Bush or whoever owns Iraq's oil money now to give every man, woman and child in Iraq $15,000 and a passport and tell them to get the hell out. I’d send them off to the country of their choice. Tahiti, Iceland, Venezuela, wherever -- even America! And I’d make sure they also got $15,000 a year for the rest of their lives. Let them open bakeries in Cleveland! Everyone would be happy. The Iraqis would be happy. The American troops would be happy. Even Exxon would be pleased. And then we could start all over again in Iraq with all new people.

PS: The only person who would be unhappy about this arrangement would be George W. Bush. The man thrives on chaos. My plan would have no margin for chaos. This would make George Bush sad.

PPS: Whenever a country is run by a dictator or there is a war or children are spanked when they are tykes – or there are too many re-runs of CSI – then you will always find violence. After decades of British subjugation and years of being bullied by that idiot Saddam, the last thing that Iraqis needed was more violence and more war. This is why the egg cracked. And this is why, in my estimation, there is so much violence there now. One can NEVER stop violence by the use of more violence. Ever.

Sorry, guys.