Vol. 1, Issue 18, September 16, 2003
Fizzy Tea Hits the Spot
The Dept. of Social Scrutiny

Iraq Occupation Hampered By Translator's Illness

The U.S. occupation force in Iraq was reeling this weekend from the most substantial loss it has suffered since hostilities began. Ironically, the culprit was not an attack on the Iraqi infrastructure, or the military force itself. It was a serious case of the flu, which rendered the Iraqi translator unavailable for work.

"This is one setback among several," said Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, refusing to address the situation directly. "We never said this was going to be easy. And frankly, it's not going to get much easier as long as terrorist elements remain."

But it was a common illness which laid Lieutenant Hasan Gurocak, the official translator, in bed with a fever of 103 degrees and laryngitis. Gurocak is the only one in the U.S. military who is actually capable of speaking Arabic. Without him, the American forces have no effective way to communicate with the vast majority of the country.

"There are Iraqis who speak English, of course," said retired general and Watley Review commentator Arnold Frumm. "But none of them have adequate security clearance to participate in running the country."

At present, the American armed forces are relying on a pair of CIA operatives who have been studying the language for three months. Their linguistic ability has been compared to that of a small child, making them unsuitable for most official interactions.

"They used these guys to announce some new curfew rules,"said Frumm, "and the local people began piling beans at their feet. Clearly there are kinks to be worked out."

"Well, we've been told to smile when someone talks to us," said Marine Sergeant George Hunter, whose unit is one of those assigned to security detail in Baghdad. "But not too friendly, you know, just sort of 'move it along, now' friendly. It's a tough line to walk."

Although there are 23 languages spoken in Iraq, no one in the State Department could identify the other 22. Anyone who speaks Arabic and has a top security clearance is advised to call the Pentagon at their earliest convenience.

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