Critical Mass, by Art Buchwald (The Washington Post, April 24, 2003)

The White House was getting nervous. It had told the American people that it was invading Iraq to destroy its weapons of mass destruction.

The Americans didn't find any, so they called in "Spike" Valley, the CIA's expert on mass destruction, to give the president and his staff an up-to-date briefing.

Everyone gathered in the war room. Valley set up his map and began.

"Gentlemen, this is a map of the world. This is the Middle East. Iraq is here, Afghanistan is here, this is China, and next to it is North Korea. The countries that have nuclear weapons and chemical weapons are in yellow on the map, except for Iraq, which appears in blazing red. The countries that support us are in pink, and the ones in green have refused to back us in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Now I'll give you a moment to let that sink in."

The defense secretary, who shall remain nameless for security reasons, said: "Will you get on with the briefing? Does Iraq have weapons of mass destruction so we can have something to show for our bombing of the major towns and blowing up scores of Iraqi citizens?"

Spike said, "They did have weapons of mass destruction, but they don't have them anymore."

The vice president of the United States, who could not be identified because nobody knows where he is, said, "Where are they?"

"They were smuggled out of Iraq weeks ago and hidden in Syria."

The president said, "Why didn't we think of that?"

The defense secretary said: "We can still bomb the hell out of Damascus. We have tons of weapons left over from Iraq. And it's cheaper to bomb Syria than to bring all the equipment home."

Spike said: "Hold off. We can't be trigger-happy. The weapons of mass destruction were smuggled into Syria and then sent to Lebanon by express mail."

The secretary of state said, "I don't think we should destroy Lebanon, because it will cost us a fortune to rebuild it."

Spike said: "It could be a waste of time. Our man in Casablanca said a piano player at Rick's told him that the weapons were still on the dock."

The president was getting agitated and said, "So what can I tell the American people?"

"Mr. President, the weapons are now on a boat going to France."

The president said: "It figures. Now we know who the smoking gun is. If the U.N. refuses to do what we want, knock out Paris unilaterally."