Disassociated Press (DP) Nov. 29, 2005 — The Bush Administration today gave tacit approval to an anonymous leak of the Pentagon’s new Verizon Plan.

Political imperatives demand at least the appearance of winding down the Iraq war prior to the 2006 elections. The Verizon Plan is the result of months of careful calculation by Secretary Rumsfeld’s office.

Pentagon and Administration officials see this morning’s leak as a trial balloon; they are eager to get the public’s response to it.

Described as America’s last, best way out of a very difficult situation, the Verizon Plan embraces and embodies the President’s unshakable faith that the Lord God has repeatedly told him to smite Iraq, as well as addressing Mr. Bush’s vehement rejection of advice to the contrary.

“Here’s the sit-rep,” said a senior White House official, “We aren’t ever leaving.  Ever.  I mean, the Boss doesn’t listen to mortals anymore.  He hears voices.  He prays on things, and then he knows.  And he knows he’s got this thing wired, he knows, he just knows, that in 10 or 20 years we’ll be praising his brilliance and foresight.  We just need to have a little faith right now, okay?  To get us over this bad patch up ahead, to get us through the November election.  And that’s what the Verizon Plan is all about.”

With the 2006 Congressional elections shaping up to be a critical public referendum on GOP policies and performance, even Bush is on board with reducing our 155,000 combat troops to 80,000 or less by summer.  However, no one except Fox News pretends that this means an actual withdrawal; it is simply a policy of moving half the American troops to the permanent bases now under construction around the country, moving the other half to Kuwait, and switching over to intensive, round the clock air strikes to hang on to the country.

That’s where the Verizon Plan comes in.  “It’s beautiful,” said a senior Administration official, “Americans dig that surgical air-strike stuff on TV.  They watch that shit after dinner every night, and figure we’re winning.  No blood or guts, just high tech weapons from five miles up.  Even the kids can watch it, it’s that clean, it’s that sexy.  We’re going with air power.”

The Verizon Plan is simplicity itself.  In-theater American troops will withdraw completely from the towns and villages of Iraq, and fortify themselves behind concrete and sandbag walls at 14 permanent bases in Iraq.  They will dig deep underground bunkers for their comfort and safety, and kill any natives who dare to approach.

Meanwhile, with the constant support of American air power, day to day policing of pipelines, wells, harbors, airports, and urban areas will fall to the newly reconstituted Iraqi Army, to local militias, and to any other armed groups that may spring up.  Really, any gang or social club who’s got AK-47’s and RPG’s and is willing to quell or kill civilians in their sector is welcome to join the Pentagon’s Verizon Plan.

Under the Verizon Plan, our Air Force, Marines and Navy will assign one American pilot and plane to every commissioned officer of the new Iraqi Army, and Halliburton will supply one free cell phone to  each of those Iraqi officers, so they can call up their pilot and ask for air strikes whenever they need them.  Halliburton has agreed to supply one extra battery and an earpiece with each phone, bringing the price up to $2,437.92 apiece for the thousands of Iraqi combat officers expected to join the program.

By mid-January, every American pilot will be on call 24 hours a day, working directly for his Iraqi forward observer, whomever it may be.  All our fighter jocks need do is drop their ordnance when and where they are told, and head back to the Officer’s Club until they’re needed again.   All Air Force B-2 bombers have been reorganized under Israeli control, in the new Esfahan Squadron.

While it may sound simple on the surface, the logistics of the Verizon Plan have been worked out in intricate detail.  To reach maximum efficiency, and maximum popular support, cell phones and matching American pilots will be assigned to every neighborhood militia captain as well, simply for the asking.  And to all Block Captains of Neighborhood Watch associations, simply for applying.  After all, we have plenty of bombs, and Iraq is a rather large country.  Cell phones are freely available to pedestrian crossing guards also, to help them control traffic.  And to school principals as well, since students can get rowdy now and again.

With each phone comes one full time F-16, A-10 Warthog, F-22 or FA-18 Hornet, or access to cruise missiles from offshore Navy cruisers (strict limit of one per week).  Under the Verizon Plan, local Iraqi combat leaders need only dial up their personal American pilot, give him whatever coordinates they desire — and sit back to enjoy the fireworks.

Merit badges for exceptional targeting, secondary explosions, moving vehicles, and so forth will be awarded to top performers among the Iraqi callers.  The War Plans office even came up with a new slogan for the Verizon Plan, “Can You Hit It Now?”

“This can work.  This can work.” said the Administration official, “Right now, everybody in Iraq has enemies.  Everyone knows someone they don’t like.  Under the Verizon Plan, we get our butts out of the way, and just turn everybody loose.  Let Allah sort it out.  By November of 2006 there won’t be any enemies left in Iraq.  There’ll be no one left anywhere in country that someone else doesn’t like.  After that, it’ll be a cakewalk!”

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