Dear Aunt Sophie,
We are the families of three beautiful souls who were recently freed from a situation in which they’d become the unwilling guests of the very people they wanted to embrace. They went to Iraq with the best intentions, so you can imagine how surprised we were to learn they’d been detained. (We don’t use the word “hostage,” because it implies that their hosts weren’t nice, and we believe in the innate niceness of man. Except Bush, of course.)
We’re Christians, who believe in forgiving our enemies, which is not an easy thing to do: But for the occupation of Iraq our loved ones would never have been detained. You have absolutely no idea how hard it is to forgive Bush for the agonies we’ve suffered during these past four months. Just between you and me, I’m not sure we can.
At first we were certain our beloved family members would be well treated by their hosts, but after one of them was found dead we began to wonder. We thought maybe he’d been given some bad shrimp or something and we feared for the rest of them. That’s all it takes, you know – one bad shrimp. And while I wouldn’t want to denigrate the culinary, or any other skills for that matter, of our dear friends in Iraq, it does seem that their refrigeration might not always be one hundred percent, or maybe the shrimp had to be flown in from a great distance – oh, any number of things could have happened. So you can imagine how distressed we’ve been until now.
But wouldn’t you know it – the very people whose sense of morality allows them to invade another country have the nerve to complain because we haven’t said “thank you” to the invaders for freeing our sons and husbands. Why would we thank people for terrorizing our families? They must have been so frightened when those violent men showed up with guns. They’ll be having nightmares about it for the rest of their lives. And we’re supposed to thank them for that? Besides, even if they did free our angels, they’re baby killers. How on earth could we thank baby killers? Some things are simply beneath one’s moral dignity.
This day began in joy but now a discordant note has crept in. How can anyone find fault with us?
Families of the Lambs
I fear there’s been a communications problem. The truth apparently never came out – that your darlings were enjoying air conditioned rooms, saunas, Jacuzzis, daily massage, mah-jongg, bridge, snorkeling, deep sea diving, and goat’s head polo with dress-up charades every evening. We were never informed that your loved ones ran from their “rescuers,” shouting “Leave us alone – we’re having too much fun here!” and “Who told you to interfere?” For some reason just about everybody was under the misapprehension that your beloved family members had been captured, bound, gagged, and threatened with extinction.
Pardon my saying so, but if you’d done a better job of describing the benignity of your loved ones’ hosts in the first place, there might be less outrage now over your unwillingness to utter a few meaningless phrases like, “Thank you for saving the life of my husband (son, nephew, cousin) who was probably going to have his throat slit.”
If you want to clear up this misunderstanding you’ll have to go on the offensive (much as that goes against your nature). It’s up to you to make the free world appreciate how much there was to admire in a country ruled by a shredder-happy tyrant and his ne’er-do-well rapist progeny. You need to go on Air America and explain that while some people said there were man-sized meat grinders, none of your group actually saw one, so you’re pretty sure they’re just urban legends, sort of the Sasquatches of Iraqi folklore. Then you should contact the New York Times to do a Sunday-magazine-length piece about all the Iraqi children you saw being tortured by American soldiers with glowing ingots, dogs, and machetes. You can entrust the details to their world-class fact-checkers.
Just think of it - you’ll finally be able to get the whole story out – there were no WMD’s, and Bush lied so Halliburton could get enough contracts to pay its legal fees.
Prepare some good sound-bites, though, so you don’t get stuck hemming and hawing on camera. There’s nothing worse than going on CNN to explain why you don’t need to thank the military for rescuing your husband and being unable to come up with a single slogan on a level with “Bush lied, kids died.” You’ll need something arresting like “War is not the answer,” or “Can’t we all just get along?” But let me not put words in your mouth.
Above all, don’t worry what other people think of you. It’s offensive when people with no moral sense presume to tell you how to behave. Besides, the whole idea of saying thank you is soooo bourgeois.
Good luck and God bless.
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