Since nobody else has been able to, I came up with a plan for dealing with Saddam Hussein.
As you know if you pay attention to foreign affairs, Saddam Hussein is the head honcho of Iraq, which may or may not be the same country as Iran. We hate Saddam because he's always going on TV and smirking and saying things about us. We're not sure what he says, because he deliberately speaks in a foreign language, but a classified Central Intelligence Agency analysis recently leaked to the New York Times said, "We think one of the words is 'wienerheads.' "
Every few months we, as a nation, just get fed up with Saddam, and we fire a batch of high-tech, extremely accurate missiles -- supplied by concerned taxpayers for roughly $1 million per missile -- at strategic buildings in Iraq. Then our leaders display aerial photographs showing that we have destroyed these buildings, vanquished them, really kicked their butts. This makes everybody feel better for 25 minutes, then we see Saddam on the tube again, wearing his stupid beret, rubbing us the wrong way, until finally we just can't stand it any more and we whack some more Iraqi buildings.
Perhaps you're wondering: "Why are we shooting buildings? Why don't we aim these extremely accurate missiles at Saddam? Or, better yet, why not take care of the problem by giving the million dollars, in unmarked bills, to an extremely accurate person with a name like Vincent 'Vinny The Polyp' Sarcoma?"
The answer is that, under federal law, we are not allowed to kill a foreign leader, even if he is really ticking us off. We can kill other people who happen to be in the foreign leader's country, especially if they are inside the buildings we shoot. But legally we may not kill the actual foreign leader personally.
This may not make a ton of sense, but it's federal law, and we must obey it, just as we must obey other federal laws that we do not understand. (Speaking of which, Kenneth Starr has obtained evidence strongly indicating that Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky did, on Dec. 3, 1997, at approximately 4: 42 p.m., remove the tag from a mattress; you will hear much more on this in the months and years to come.)
So this is the problem: We can't shoot Saddam, and it doesn't seem to bother him when we shoot his buildings. Is there a solution? Yes. It is a solution that requires us to unleash a force that, frankly, most of us would rather not even think about -- perhaps the most feared, the most deadly, the most evil force that the human race was ever foolish enough to create. That's right: plumbing.
I conceived of this plan after receiving a fascinating document from alert mechanical engineer Keith Ritter. The document was written by Julius Ballanco, president of JB Engineering and Code Consulting; it was published in the October 1998 issue of PM Engineering, and it is titled "Violently Fracturing Water Closets," which I assume I do not need to tell you would be an excellent name for a rock band. "Violently Fracturing Water Closets" begins with a chilling story: An individual -- described in the Ballanco article only as "an individual" -- flushes a toilet in a high-rise building and is "injured by flying shards of vitreous china."
Needless to say, this incident raised a question in Ballanco's mind, namely: Wouldn't "The Flying Shards" also be an excellent name for a rock band? No, seriously, the question it raised was: What caused the water closet to fracture violently? This question led to a series of experiments at (I am not making any of this up) the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., in which different amounts of pressurized air were introduced into a plumbing system. The result was several pages of extremely scientific-looking charts and graphs, plus a really cool time-sequence photograph of a toilet exploding.
Here is the question: We cannot legally kill a foreign leader, but does it state, anywhere in our body of federal law, that we cannot cause a foreign leader's commode to fracture violently while he is using it?
To answer that question, I called the United States Supreme Court, but it was Sunday during the NFL playoffs and nobody answered. I view that as a ruling in my favor. If the Supreme Court had wanted to, it could easily have had a recording saying something like, "We are not in session today, but it is illegal to blow up Saddam Hussein's toilet."
So I say we get our top military and plumbing scientists together at the Stevens Institute of Technology and develop a high-tech computerized "smart" air-pressure delivery system targeting Saddam -- or, as he will come to be scornfully called behind his back, "Shard Butt." That would wipe the smirk off his face and cause him to come running to the bargaining table! We'd definitely want him to clean up first.
Pub Date: 1/31/99