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After Saddam

Rumsfeld outraged at Satirists' Guild, threatens "forceful action"
A visibly angry Donald Rumsfeld, the US Secretary of Offence, told a press conference today that he was incensed with a plea for a halt on WMD stories. In a June 21st press release the International Satirists' Guild called on satirists worldwide to "put a halt to articles lampooning the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq until there is a 'further significant development' in the situation".

"This is not at all helpful," said Mr. Rumsfeld, "in fact it's downright irresponsible. If this bunch of lefty, long-haired so-called satirists think the situation regarding weapons of mass destruction isn't serious, I've got a bunch of eager marines who are more than ready to convince them otherwise. Are we ready to take forceful action against them? We sure are! Plenty of space at Guantanamo Bay, especially since we released some of the young kids there. Jumpin' Jehosophat, what are these satirists, al-Qaeda sympathisers?"

White and shaking with outrage, Mr. Rumsfeld stormed from the podium, glaring menacingly at reporters, and leaving it to Pentagon spokesman Elmer K. Ramsbottom III to explain the outburst.

"Mr. Rumsfeld is under enormous stress at the moment," he said, "and I think he may have misunderstood the word 'lampooning'. It's not a word we use in every-day conversation at the Pentagon, and I suspect he thought the Guild was calling for a ban on reporting on our search for WMD, which, I emphasise, is going very well."

Mr. Ramsbottom III went on: "Besides, there is a significant development. As President Bush said in his radio address, we now believe that the WMD were taken by looters after we had liberated Iraq. When a terrorist shows up on your doorstep waving a vial of Iraqi nerve gas he's bought on the black market, I'll bet my last dollar you'll think that's significant."

"What does lampooning mean, anyway?" he added.

Prime Minister Tony Blair, informed of Mr. Rumsfeld's comments while on his way to Bootle to visit a new high-tech jam factory, merely reiterated his conviction that WMD will eventually be found, if not in Iraq, then somewhere.

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