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February 25, 2007

“So Muqtada al-Sadr, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and Ahmed Chalabi walk into a bar…”
Posted by Avram Grumer at 08:40 PM *

The Times of London is reporting that as many as five American senior military commanders are prepared to resign if the Bush administration orders an attack on Iran. Good for them, though it won’t keep Israel from making a bombing run. (Yeah, I know that’s a denial. Check out that closing paragraph, where the Israeli Defense Minister says that western authorities “are anxious to spread the idea that we are planning to attack Iran and so be absolved of the need to do the things we have requested of them.”)

The possible resignations reminded me of the military mutinies in Vietnam, which were a major contributor to ending that war. Not that there’s a moral equivalence between fragging your commander and peacefully resigning your commission, but I still couldn’t help but think of the mutinies. I’d vaguely remembered that the Pentagon had recorded some shockingly large number of mutinous incidents, and was googling around for more info, when I found this old Vietnam-era joke (credited to 1,001 Ways to Beat the Draft, by Tuli Kupferburg). A GI is in the hospital, explaining how he got wounded:

I was told that the way to tell a hostile Vietnamese from a friendly Vietnamese was to shout “To hell with Ho Chi Minh!” If he shoots, he’s unfriendly. So I saw this dude and yelled “To hell with Ho Chi Minh!” and he yelled back, “To hell with President Johnson!” We were shaking hands when a truck hit us.

If you were updating this joke for Iraq, you’d swap Bush in for Johnson, but who would you swap in for Ho Chi Minh? Muqtada al-Sadr? Abu Musab al-Zarqawi? Ahmed Chalabi? There are so many factions in Iraq that you need an entirely different base joke, probably the one with people on a falling airplane without enough parachutes.

In fact, there’s a sort of meta-joke going on there. You swap in Osama bin Laden for Ho Chi Minh, and if the guy hearing the joke laughs, he probably gets all his news from Fox and Instapundit, and has no idea of what’s going on in Iraq. If he complains that the situation’s more complicated than that, and there are a bunch of rival factions in Iraq, then you’ve got a basis for rational discussion. And then you get hit by a truck.

Comments on "So Muqtada al-Sadr, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and Ahmed Chalabi walk into a bar...":
#1 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2007, 08:48 PM:

Welcome to our newest front-page poster.

#2 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2007, 08:58 PM:

Welcome, Avram! I saw that item, and sent up a little cheer -- before realizing that given the complete and utter insanity of the current administration, the resignation of 5 senior military commanders not only wouldn't slow them down, they would attempt to spin it as a good thing, because those 5 commanders were not really on board with the War on Terrah, and therefore we were better off without them.

"We" does not mean "you" and "me," of course; it means the world in George Bush's head.

#3 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2007, 09:31 PM:

Thanks for inviting me, Patrick.

#4 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2007, 09:34 PM:

(Lest anyone be confused, I did too.)

#5 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2007, 09:40 PM:

And you too, Teresa.

(Now I feel like I'm artificially inflating my comment count.)

#6 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2007, 09:43 PM:

Note to self: Only tell joke when standing on a sidewalk where I can see oncoming traffic.

* * *

#5: If you exceed a certain comment count, you get your choice of a Proctor-Silex five-speed blender or a set of nesting LappWare, the plastic storage containers for reindeer herders.

#7 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2007, 09:44 PM:

Avram!

#8 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2007, 09:44 PM:

Of

#9 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2007, 09:45 PM:

Course

#10 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2007, 09:45 PM:

You

#11 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2007, 09:46 PM:

Aren't.

#12 ::: George Smiley ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2007, 10:12 PM:

Your citation for the joke is correct. I have a copy of the book.

#13 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2007, 10:18 PM:

US generals ‘will quit’ if Bush orders Iran attack

I'm happy to hear a number of generals are standing up to Caligula's orders, but I am a bit depressed to hear that an attack on Iran is so likely that a bunch of Generals had to decide that they'd resign rather than conform to an order that would surely kill the United States military.

Little Boots.

Little Bush. (i.e. Bush Jr.)

long ago lost his mind.

#14 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2007, 10:27 PM:

Take a look at the comments in the link to the Times in Avram's post. Pretty gruesome.

#15 ::: Avedon ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2007, 10:35 PM:

I have a copy of that book, too (somewhere), but the only one I remember is, "A Ford Sedan up your ass."

#16 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2007, 10:59 PM:

Oh, I forgot to say, "Congrats, Avram"

#17 ::: Rachel Heslin ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2007, 11:07 PM:

Lizzy @2: War on Terrah

I realize that that's probably supposed to be an affectation of "terror," but it's the first time I made the connection that the current Administration is actually waging a War on Terra....

#18 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2007, 11:16 PM:

I just walked out of my favorite two-day-a-week chat because someone believes the repugs are gods and should not be criticized.

He said he'd rather have a president fired because of a blow job than one fired because he's lying and wasting human lives dithering in a place we don't need to be at war with.

Thanks for listening.

#19 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2007, 11:17 PM:

Hi, sweetie!

#17: There's a filk of "God lives on Terra" in this, I'm sure.

#20 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2007, 11:40 PM:

#6 "a set of nesting LappWare, the plastic storage containers for reindeer herders"

...which will store your reindeer silently, very fast, and altogether elsewhere.

Congratulations, Avram, on becoming a front-page poster. Excellent post. Horrible situation.

#21 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2007, 11:47 PM:

According to Juan Cole:

Late Saturday, the US Air Force launched a series of bombing raids on southeast Baghdad. This is absolutely shameful, that the US is bombing from the air a civilian city that it militarily occupies. You can't possibly do that without killing innocent civilians, as at Ramadi the other day. It is a war crime. US citizens should protest and write their congressional representatives. It is also the worst possible counter-insurgency tactic anyone could ever have imagined. You bomb people, they hate you. The bombing appears to have knocked out what little electricity some parts of Baghdad were still getting.

Can't we stop now? Please?

#22 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2007, 11:58 PM:

#21: "Can't we stop now? Please?"

[guy who writes into the paper who I want to smack with the paper]

You want all those soldiers to have died and had their limbs blown off for nothing? That's just what they want.

[/guy who writes into the paper who I want to smack with the paper]

#23 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 12:38 AM:

Lizzy@14... oh, I am so sorry I read those comments.

#24 ::: Matt Stevens ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 01:01 AM:

Grats on yer new digs, Avram!

#25 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 02:08 AM:

...and the barman says, "If you know's of a better 'ole, go to it!"

#26 ::: Tim Keating ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 02:22 AM:

I like Bob Goldthwait's take on it:

There's only one way to tell if that's a U.S. soldier, or an Iraqi soldier:

"Van Halen sucks!"

"Old Van Halen or new Van Halen?"

"It's OK, he's one of ours. He's not down with the Van Hagar."

#27 ::: Chris Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 02:36 AM:
credited to 1,001 Ways to Beat the Draft, by Tuli Kupferburg

Oh, man. I wish I still had my copy. Lost it in one transcontinental move or another.

And welcome, Avram!

#28 ::: Jesper ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 03:16 AM:

#14: Many of the comments to the Times article were awful, but I liked one.

"How can we put faith in an article where the writer's do not even know how to spell defense?"

Only one sentence, yet it says so much.

#29 ::: Andrew Brown ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 05:00 AM:

As a British pedant, might I point out that this was a Sunday Times article? It has an almost entirely different staff to the daily Times. Neither of them are very reliable papers. I do believe this story, sort of, though it mentions no names and no sources, because it fits in with everything else we know.

But it is a very great mistake to suppose that a story is likely to be true just because it has appeared in either of these Murdoch papers.

#30 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 05:17 AM:

Rachel Heslin at #17 wrote:

> I realize that that's probably supposed to be an affectation of "terror," but it's the first time I made the connection that the current Administration is actually waging a War on Terra....

And my brain stuck rigorously to the topic and went for "The war on Tehran"

#31 ::: bad Jim ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 06:47 AM:

I thought that the war on terroir was the whole point of the boycott of French wines.

#32 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 08:02 AM:

Welcome Avram; this place is starting to feel more and more like old rasseff home.

Meanwhile one nitpick: it's The Times (or in this case, as #29 noticed), The Sunday Times): there is no such paper as The Times of London, unlike say the New York Times.

The Times was the first so saw no need to identify itself further, just like British stamps have no country code to identify them as being British.


#33 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 08:04 AM:

I was told that the way to tell an iraqui from a iranian infiltrator was to shout “To hell with George Bush!” If he shoots, he's an iranian infiltrator. So I saw this dude and yelled “To hell with George Bush!” and he yelled back, “You liberal traitor!” and when it turned out to be Jonah Goldberg proudly infiltrating Iraqui society and reporting back all the otherwise unreported good news I suffered a minor stroke.

#34 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 09:00 AM:

#32: "Meanwhile one nitpick: it's The Times (or in this case, as #29 noticed), The Sunday Times): there is no such paper as The Times of London, unlike say the New York Times."

That's why Avram referred to it, entirely correctly, as "the Times". The phrase "of London" wasn't italicized.

Like it or not, in America the phrase "the Times" is liable to be taken to mean the New York Times. When referring to the London paper with the similar name, it makes sense to clarify that. It's kind of amusing that Brits and Europeans are evidently so used to correcting Americans on this point of style that they do so even when Americans do it correctly.

#35 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 10:37 AM:

#29 Andrew Brown: "I do believe this story, sort of, though it mentions no names and no sources, because it fits in with everything else we know."

That's a dangerous path to start down.

#36 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 12:37 PM:

I've been waiting for the shoe to drop for three years, ever since reading 'everyone wants to go to Baghdad, real men want to go to Tehran'. My position is simple. Iraq is a giant tarbaby. Iran would be a giant tarbaby cubed.

If the Shrub does indeed go into Iran, that would be the biggest military blunder in that region since Crassus got his toga handed to him.

And congratulations, Avram.

#37 ::: y ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 12:41 PM:

Damn, the first time I heard that joke, it was "To hell with Hirohito!" and "To hell with Joe DiMaggio!"

#38 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 01:16 PM:

Bush seems to pronounce it more like "War on Turrr." (Yes, three r's -- kind of like "Turrur" but with the second syllable swallowed.) Waged by Turrrists.

Doesn't lend itself to the same kinds of confluences, but sets my teeth on edge more than Terra. I find myself shouting "TERR-OR! TERR-OR! And it's effing TERR-OR-ISM anyway!" (I also usually have to repeat "nuclear" to myself several times after listening to Bush talk about nukular weapons. "NEW-CLEEE-AR!") I don't usually get so persnickety about accents and pronounciation in conversation, but...

And hooray for Avram.

#39 ::: Wendy Bradley ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 01:41 PM:

I caught a moment of Tony Blair on Radio 4 last week sounding terribly rational about the actions in the war between democracy and terrorism, and flashed to Eddie Izzard and the choice between death or cake. Put it like that: "Death, or cake?" who wouldn't choose cake? Democracy and terrorism, and it all looks easy. Is there a word for that kind of oversimplistic binary thinking?

#40 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 01:46 PM:

bifurcation?

#41 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 01:46 PM:

false dichotomy?

#42 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 02:51 PM:

I've seen discussion of plans to invade or attack Iran for a couple of years now, accompanied by increasingly shrill rhetoric from the neocons. But if this story is true (and I have absolutely no idea whether it is), it seems pretty ominous. I don't see a bunch of generals and admirals resigning in protest over a minor disagreement in policy, only over either a major moral disagreement (which this isn't) or a belief that we're making a disasterous blunder.

I just don't see how we could invade Iran, since we're having a hell of a time holding down Iraq. I'm sure we could bomb the hell out of them, even nuke them if necessary. But invade them? With what? And if we bomb them, what will happen to our forces inside Iraq? And will there be some kind of retaliation inside the US? Iran has demonstrated competence in supporting and equipping terrorists in Lebanon and apparently Iraq; can they manage that here, too?

#43 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 03:24 PM:

That joke's older than you know. A fragment of graffiti from the 40's BC contains the following story:

Dictus sum me hostilem a amicum clamore "Ad infernum Pompeius" discernere. Si pugnat, hostilis est. Nam virum aspexi et clamavi "Ad infernum Pompeius". Et "Ad infernum Caesar" reclamavit. Dum manus nos agitabamus, occidit nos currus.

#44 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 03:26 PM:

(One of these days, Professor Griffith is going to find Making Light and smack me upside the head for my word order.)

#45 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 03:35 PM:

abi, that's good, though!

#46 ::: Jacob Davies ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 03:38 PM:

My favourite British-newspaper pedantry is people insisting on calling the Grauniad the Manchester Guardian. Somewhat worse: people insisting on using the Private Eye names for papers at all times, even when no parody is intended.

I think I probably did the former once or twice when I was younger. The latter is probably incurable.

Anyway, on the serious things: you'd think the idea of invading Iran was ridiculous were it not for, um, Iraq. There was some Pentagonresistance to invading Iraq, at least with the plan that we went with, wasn't there? I'm starting to get that late-2002 feeling all over again, although this time it's more faltering. But still, I listen to the BBC news and hear "The US says it has found more Iranian-made weapons in Iraq" in the headlines and think, ah yes, the official news of the day has arrived. It's not even (or only) about the media, but to me just the blatant and persistent attempt to deceive and persuade. I feel like I'm stuck watching people yelling "Remember the Maine!"

#47 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 03:57 PM:

The way to tell a hostile Iraqi from a friendly Iraqi? No problem, wait a few more months and there won't be any friendly Iraqis :-(

#48 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 04:57 PM:

Hey Avram, congrats!

Yesterday's WashPost had an article on how Rumsfeld is not a good manager.

#49 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 06:01 PM:

I have nothing intelligent to contribute to the political discussion today, but congrats to Avram.

#50 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 06:14 PM:

Abi #43: No brakes on those chariots, eh?

#51 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 06:21 PM:

In my aviation days we referred to it as the War on Tourism. So much of it seemed intended to discourage people from ever leaving home...

23. And the LORD spoke to Jephthah, saying: Surely thine enemies the Moabites love Eglon their king; and the children of Israel love him not; 24. therefore when thou meetest strangers cry "Cursed be Eglon!" and if they be of the tribe of the Moabites, they will come against thee, and I will deliver them into thy hands. 25. And Jephthah went forth to the plain of Ash-ut-rehel, and beheld a man armed, and cried unto him "Cursed be Eglon!" 26. And the man replied "Cursed also be Saul, the king of Israel!" 27. And Jephthah fell upon his neck and embraced him. 28. And the LORD sent a fiery chariot, probably left over from the Book of Kings, and smote Jephthah in the plain of Ash-ut-rehel, and the Moabite with him.

#52 ::: Mary Frances Zambreno ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 07:37 PM:

#39, Wendy Bradley: I think maybe the term you (and Greg) are looking for is "false dilemma." It's sometimes called the "either/or fallacy"--basically it means that the speaker or writer has reduced all possible choices in a situation to two, usually two extremes, and offered those as the only possible choices. This, obviously, overlooks all other possible alternatives . . .

Can't remember the Latin term for it, offhand, and don't have time to look it up right now. Maybe someone else can come up with it?

Mary Frances

#53 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 07:55 PM:

The fancy term for the Black/White Fallacy is "Bifurcation." (Also known as the Excluded Middle.)

#54 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 10:15 PM:

There are only two kinds of people: Ones who understand the law of the excluded middle, and ones who don't. (That's stolen from somewhere on usenet, long ago, but I don't recall where.)

#55 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 10:30 PM:

ajay @ 51:

I think that's from 3 Chronicles somewhere?

#56 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 11:02 PM:

And eventually they're out of cake, and the choice is reduced to "or death."

#57 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 11:03 PM:

#51 Best Old Testament joke I've seen all day...

#58 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 11:18 PM:

ajay 51: Listen to what the Spirit is saying to the Church.

#59 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2007, 05:35 AM:

They say the way to tell those bastards of the White Hand is to call out "Saruman's an elf-lover!". If they take a swing at you, then you know they're Uruk-Hai, and you can kill 'em. So I was out looking for something decent to eat - a horse, or better, a rider - and I saw this big ugly-looking orc just coming round a rock. I shouted, "Saruman's an elf-lover!" and damned if he didn't yell right back, "Sauron sleeps with Rangers!" We were just thumping each other on the back when we got trampled by an oliphant.

#60 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2007, 06:04 AM:

Ah - so that's what the geek test is.

#61 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2007, 11:23 AM:

I hereby witness that Neil Willcox has earned two points, by the traditional means.

#62 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2007, 01:47 PM:

But what about abi (43) and ajay (51)?

#63 ::: Chris Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2007, 02:35 PM:

re: 43, 51, et al: I have an old clay tablet here that says ^^vv^<>>>v^vv<><>

...oh, never mind.

#64 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2007, 03:16 PM:

Wendy, #39: A friend of mine calls this sort of thing a "dichotomire".

#65 ::: A.R.Yngve ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2007, 04:19 PM:

Muqtada al-Sadr, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and Ahmed Chalabi walk into a bar. An agent for the country "X" approaches them, and says:

"Our secret service has decided to give one of you ONE of our nuclear warheads, ready for use. But I can only give this nuke to ONE of you. First, each of you tell me: how would you use it?"

Muqtada al-Sadr says: "I would use it to blow up the Saudi oil fields, and throw our enemies into despair and disarray!"

Musab al-Zarqawi says: "Don't listen to him! I would ship the warhead by boat to Washington, and destroy the very heart of the Great Satan!"

Ahmed Chalabi says: "Child's play! Give the warhead to me and I shall wipe out Israel, our most hated common enemy, once and for all."

The other two are duly impressed, change their minds and swear that they too would destroy Israel if they had the nuke.

The agent shakes his head: "If we didn't have Israel, we'd turn on each other. I can't let you destroy our last hope for Arab unity."

The agent walks out. Disappointed, al-Sadr and al-Zarqawi turn on Chalabi: "Why did you make that suggestion?" - "Yeah, you had us fooled! We could've had a nuke, but you ruined everything with your stupid dare!"

Ahmed Chalabi shrugs and says: "When I heard your suggestions I knew I couldn't come up with anything better. So I had to make sure none of us got that nuke."

Muqtada moves to leave, but Musab says: "Wait. We can still get our hands on the nuke. Let's seek out that agent, and tell him we've seen the light and promise to use the nuke on Washington."

"Great plan!" says Ahmed.

"And then we blow up the capital of the Great Satan?" asks Muqtada with childish excitement.

"No, you fool," says Musab. "We go to that agent's country and blow up their OTHER warheads -- so they can't use them on us."

All three toast: "To Arab unity!"

#66 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2007, 05:22 PM:

The conversation I want to hear, one way or another, is the one that ends with a Republican and a Democrat shaking hands, bus or no bus.

I'd trade all the points in the game for that.

#67 ::: Howard Peirce ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2007, 05:46 PM:

Muqtada al-Sadr, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and Ahmed Chalabi walk into a bar.

Muqtada al-Sadr orders a scotch and soda, raises his glass, and says, "To hell with Osama bin Laden!"

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi asks for Jack and Coke, drains it in one, and says, "To hell with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani!"

Ahmed Chalabi suddenly excuses himself, and heads for the door. "Excuse me, fellows, but my truck is double-parked."

#68 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2007, 05:49 PM:

"...and Uncle Sam says, 'Ouch!'"

I keep wondering how much more the administration can abuse our military before the military strikes, or actively mutinies. There's a line, somewhere, somewhere. If crossed, it will be the end of the US as a world power, and possibly the end of US democracy as well. I can only hope the administration will pull back, but it is a slender hope.

#69 ::: Robert Glaub ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2007, 06:38 PM:

I'm old enough to remember the small scale troop mutinies in Vietnam. The word got out, no matter how much the Pentagon tried to hush it up.

I also remember the Chief of Staff of the Army saying later that he wished he had resigned rather than say nothing and let LBJ's plan for escalation in Vietnam go ahead...

#70 ::: NIall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2007, 06:42 PM:

... and up on two barstools, Cheney says to Dubya, "What do you call those three guys?". Dubya says "I dunno, what, Dick?", and Cheney says "Anything you like!"

#71 ::: Chris Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 01:15 AM:
The conversation I want to hear, one way or another, is the one that ends with a Republican and a Democrat shaking hands, bus or no bus.

I'd trade all the points in the game for that.

"And so he yelled 'Lieberman sold out to the GOP!' and the voice in the tall grass yelled 'Yeah! Lieberman sold out to the GOP!' and then Lieberman came running out of the tall grass right up to Bush and they shook hands.

"And as Halliburton won a no-bid contract to provide transit service the year before the bus was twelve miles away on the wrong road with two flats and no gas, but Bush and Lieberman agreed they'd been hit by it just the same."

#72 ::: A.R.Yngve ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 10:09 AM:

Muqtada al-Sadr, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and Ahmed Chalabi walk into a bar.

It immediately blows up in a big explosion. The three men crawl out of the smoldering wreckage...

Muqtada says: "It wasn't one of my suicide bombers. Was it an Israeli attack?"

Abu Musab says: "My men didn't do this! Maybe the Americans?"

Ahmed brushes the soot off his suit and says: "It was an accident. I thought Dick Cheney was here and set off a bomb I happened to have on me."

The other two are surprised. "What?" - "How could you possibly believe Dick Cheney would frequent THIS bar?"

Ahmed shrugs. "When I entered, I heard someone shout: 'Look, there's that trigger-happy madman!'"

#73 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 11:18 AM:

... and al-Sadr says to Chalabi "They serve alcohol here! Why have you brought Abu Musab and me to this sinful place?"

Chalabi shrugs and replies "Well, if I only brought one of you, he'd drink all my whisky."

#74 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 03:19 PM:

In celebration of earning points*, here's my other reaction to Abi's brilliant version @59:

I was told that the way to tell a Boskonian from a Galactic Patrolman was to shout “Helmuth is a caricature of a dictator!” If he shoots, he’s unfriendly. So I saw this alien and yelled “Helmuth is a caricature of a dictator!” and he yelled back, “Kimball Kinnison is overrated!” We were shaking hands when a Rigellan Groundcar hit us.

* Which I didn't know was possible

#75 ::: A.R.Yngve ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 04:12 PM:

Muqtada al-Sadr, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and Ahmed Chalabi walk into a bar.

Ahmed Chalabi says: "Guys, as leaders of the righteous it is our duty to be examples to others."

He gives them a reproachful look.

"All right," says Abu Musab. "Bartender, I'll have coffee."

Muqtada slams his fist into the counter and says: "I'll have coffee - strong!"

They get their coffee and then look to Ahmed.

He says to the bartender: "One whisky on the rocks, and a vodka chaser." The other two glare at him, and he shrugs.

"What? This is my day off."

#76 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2007, 04:29 PM:

My other reaction was this one:

This is Just to Say
I have befriended
the soldier
who cursed
our leader

and whom
I should probably
have shot
for being the enemy

Forgive me
he was my brother
so strange
and WATCH OUT FOR THAT BUS!

#77 ::: A.R.Yngve ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 04:00 AM:

Muqtada al-Sadr, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and Ahmed Chalabi walk into a bar.

Two minutes later they walk out of the bar.

"Awful coffee," says Muqtada.

"They played terrible music," says Abu Musab.

Ahmed nods. "And did you notice how rude the bartender was before we shot him?"

#78 ::: Trip the Space Parasite ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 12:51 PM:

Is it wrong of me to hear the last line of #76 to the tune of the George of the Jungle opening song?

#79 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 02:51 PM:

When I heard the joke in #74 from Worsel it went "Kimball Kinnison is a zwilnik!" because, you know, he was

#80 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 03:42 PM:

Muqtada al-Sadr, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and Ahmed Chalabi walk into a bar. The bartender, who happens to be djinn in disguise, says "Because the three of you represent the future of Islam, you may each ask for the one thing that is your heart's desire and I will tell you how to attain it."

Al-Sadr says. "I want the Americans to leave Iraq, never to return," and the bartender replies, "I do not need to do anything, for this will come to pass of itself."

Al-Zarqawi says, "I want to see Iraq whole and strong and under the rule of Shari'a administered by imams of the Sunni sect." The bartender puts a hookah on the bar and says, "Smoke this. It's the only way you will ever see what you wish for."

Chalabi says, "I want to be remembered by history with the respect accorded to a great statesman." The bartender says to Al-Zarqawi, "Give him the hookah, he needs it more than you."

Alternate ending:
Chalabi says, "I want to restore my standing with the American intelligence and neo-conservative communities and once again be given a high position in a Shi'ite goverment." The bartender says, "No problem; just tell George Bush there are weapons of mass destruction in Iran. After the invasion, he'll make you President there."

#81 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2007, 05:16 PM:

Bruce Cohen, You're almost certainly right and it would have been "Helmuth is a third-rate Space Pirate" if I could remember jokes from the future properly.

Going back and forth with abi makes it look like a competition, which it isn't*, but still:

Two guys united
By contempt for their leaders
(Also by a bus)

* mainly because I'm losing

#82 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2007, 11:21 AM:

#s 76 and 80 just about killed me.

#83 ::: retterson ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2007, 11:25 AM:

Actually, I've already heard that joke updated for Iran.

Substitute Osama bin Laden and Hilary Clinton, and toss in some dress/gender identity jokes. Then substitute a truck for an IED.

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