Vol. 2, Issue 31, August 17, 2004
Bush Formally Gives Iraq the Letter K
The White House announced today that the United States was offering the interim government in Iraq a gift which would "substantially increase the quality of life for all Iraqis."
"We have made great progress in Iraq, but there is much to do," said President Bush in a televised address this morning. "We're doing our best to help the Iraqi people take back what Saddam Hussein took away from them: a peaceful, prosperous country. There's a lot of building to do, a lot of roads to fix. But now is the time for a fresh start."
While the administration has long acknowledged that rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure, which was dated and crumbling even before the American invasion demolished what was left of it last year, will be an expensive proposition. When pressed with questions about where the money will come from, the White House has generally been evasive, talking instead about "in-kind contributions." The first of these, apparently, is the letter "K."
"The letter K has always been one of my favorites," said Bush in his address. "It's the eleventh letter of the alphabet, a nice letter with a proud history. Just think of all the words you can spell with it: Koala bear. Krispy Kreme. Kantaloupe. I think the letter K is exactly what the people of Iraq need right now."
According to an economic analysis released by the White House, hundreds of millions of dollars are being wasted in Iraq by the educational system, scientific community, and government in an effort to spell "Iraq" correctly in English. The difficulty stems from the use of the letter "Q."
"Now, the first step to joining us in the twenty-first century is learning English," explained the president. "And when you learn English, the first thing you learn is that "Q" is always followed by a "U." Easy, right? But not for Iraqis, who end up misspelling their own country time and again. Even I made that mistake a few times. With this letter - this single, magnificent American letter - they can just be Irakis. Now that makes a lot of sense to me."
The White House analysis indicates that Iraq will save an estimated $2 billion a year in sign repair and remedial English lessons once it officially adopts the letter K. The analysis also hints that the straight lines and sharp angles in the letter K would offer a strong "moral counterpart" that could "shore up" the softly curving, "decadent" lines of Arabic letters.
Iraqi Interior Minister Falah al-Nakib was surprisingly unexcited about the announcement.
"They didn't even give us the whole alphabet," said al-Nakib. "Just one consonant. How are we supposed to rebuild with just a single consonant? I just don't think the United States is serious in its commitment. A vowel would have been a much more significant gesture. I guess we'll just have to buy a vowel ourselves."