RED Herring
March Break-up Telephone Call Between U.S. and Iraq Uncovered
Patriot Act Surveillance Caught it All on Tape
  By Jordan Scrivner


“I want to liberate you so bad.”—The United States

he country of Iraq waited by the phone. It was March 2003 and the country had heard rumors around town that the United States wanted to have a word with it. Obviously, Iraq was anxious. It had been about a dozen years since Iraq and the United States broke up. Up until that point, the relationship between the two countries had been pretty cozy, with the United States in its typical sugar daddy role, showering Iraq with gifts just as long as it didn’t go to bed with anyone else—namely anyone Russian.

After the terrible break-up (how many couples do you know whose relationships end with the killing of thousands of people?), the United States flourished and prospered, while Iraq sank into a deep depression. Nobody would visit Iraq to cheer it up, mainly because the United States and a bunch of other countries practically owned all the land that surrounded Iraq. However, for the most part, the United States left Iraq alone, save for a few token bombings every now and then.

But now, the United States was having financial problems. Iraq knew that the United States would come calling any minute asking for money. Hell, the whole world knew it.

The telephone rang.

“Hello?” said Iraq.

A pause. “Oh…Hi. It’s me.”

Sure enough, it was the United States.


“I didn’t think you’d be home, I was just going to leave a message.”

“Yeah, I heard you might call.”

“Really? Who said that? France?”

“No. Everyone.” A pause. “Look, what do you want?”

“Um, we need to talk. I want that stuff I gave to you back in the ’80s…uh…back.”

“What are you talking about?”

“You know, computers to develop your ballistic and nuclear missile program, graphic terminals to design and analyze rockets, The West Nile Virus. That sort of thing.”

Iraq closed its eyes. It could feel its energy draining. “You know as well as I that all the stuff you gave me is long gone.”

“Well then I want some compensation.”

“Like what?"

“I want to liberate you.”


“I want to liberate you so bad.”

“Easy there, buddy. Not exactly the romantic type, are you?”

“Well, can I at least get some oil then?”

“Uh, how about no?”

“Why not?”

“I really don’t want to get into it right now.”

“Tsk, why do you have to be so uptight all the time?”

“Godammit, I don’t want to have this conversation tonight. Not tonight.”

“Well then when? I have needs too, you know.”

“Is this about what happened to you a few years ago?”


“Listen, I didn’t fly your planes into your stupid buildings. Why don’t you ask your precious Saudi friends, or that slut Osama?”

“I can’t find him.”

“That’s not my problem!” Iraq was shouting into the phone now.

The United States sighed. “I don’t have time for this. I’m coming over. Are you going to let me in or not?”

“Are you fucking kidd—”

The United States had hung up.