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[casi] A Modest Proposal

It's under Bush's bed!

Paulo Coelho
Wednesday February 26, 2003
The Guardian

Bearing in mind that the president of the most powerful nation in the
world is responsible for his actions and knows what he is talking about,
I - a Brazilian writer, with no access to the secret services, the UN
inspection procedure or confidential files, but able to read newspapers
with a degree of intelligence - have come up with the definitive answer on
how to locate the weapons of mass destruction being hidden by Iraq. I will
require payment for this information, by the way.

This is how to locate the weapons, step-by-step:

1. All UN weapons inspectors currently in Iraq should pack their bags,
settle their hotel bills and drive to Baghdad airport.

2. There they should buy business class air tickets to Washington. I
stress business class so that they have time to rest, as the journey will
involve a number of stopovers.

3. On reaching Washington, they should catch the first bus to the
headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency. The address can be found
in the telephone directory for Virginia.

4. On reaching CIA headquarters, and armed with the appropriate UN
inspection mandate, they should demand to see all photos, information and
documents being supplied to Mr George Bush. These are the documents
pinpointing the precise location of each arms cache that allow Mr Bush to
assure us that Iraq has an arsenal capable of destroying the planet.

5. Once in possession of these documents, they should return to Iraq
(again they should fly business class in order to arrive feeling rested)
and go immediately to the places indicated in the photographs. Unable to
deny the evidence, Saddam Hussein will have no option but to destroy his
arsenal, for fear that the whole world will turn against him.

6. If the CIA does not have the documents, the inspectors should go
straight to Mr George Bush's bedroom in the White House, Washington. On
the way, they should avoid all contact with the thousands of American
demonstrators taking part in protests against the war in Iraq.

7. If Mr George Bush fails to cooperate with the UN inspectors, they
should look for the evidence under his bed. If they do not find it there,
they should go and see the president's psychoanalyst, having first
equipped themselves with a mandate from the UN security council, and ask
the following question: "Does a son necessarily have to complete his
father's work?" If the answer is yes, please advise me at once: my father
was a civil engineer and, when he retired, he may well have left
unfinished projects for his heir to deal with.

If the answer is no, demand that the psychoanalyst - on behalf of the UN,
the US and the rest of the world - prescribe the necessary medication to
his patient so that he no longer constitutes a threat to his country and
to his planet.

This is the required method of payment:

Once this infallible line of action has been followed, I ask that the
billions of dollars that would have been spent on the war be divided up in
the following manner:

1. 50% to help the poor in Brazil, since the president of Brazil is
currently grappling with a huge budget deficit, and because the author of
this practical guide is himself Brazilian.

2. 40% to go to Africa.

3. 9% to old Europe, which wavered but did not fall - at least not up
until now, the day on which I am writing this article.

4. 1% to pay for a nice biography of Tony Blair, to be translated into 40
languages, in hard cover, with colour photographs, saying what a great
leader he is, how intelligent, important, charismatic, handsome and
charming. That should be enough to keep him content, in the knowledge that
his remarkable qualities have been recognised.

Finally, it is important to add the following: when speaking about the
war, please do not generalise and say: "Americans all want to attack
Iraq." We have made the same mistake before, in saying that "Serbs are all
butchers", "Brazilians are all lazy", or "Iranians are all

The people who want to attack Iraq are the politicians surrounding George
Bush, the Enron orphans. The American people are fully aware of what is
going on, and just as they managed to stop the war in Vietnam, they may,
when no convincing explanations are forthcoming, manage to persuade Mr
Bush's psychoanalyst to prescribe a sedative and put an end to this

This article is a contribution to the openDemocracy debate on the Iraqi
crisis published on

Paulo Coelho is a bestselling novelist

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