June 04, 2008
I Do Not Think That Word Means What You Think It Means
Posted by Harvey at 12:17 PM | View blog reactions | Comments (9)
Everywhere I look, I see headlines saying that Australian troops are leaving Iraq.
Apparently they mean "leaving Iraq full of Australians", because at the bottom of every story, they casually mention that there will be 1000 or so members of the Australian military left in Iraq after they finish leaving.
I decided to get to the bottom of this mysterious conundrum by flying to Iraq to discuss the matter with a spokesman for the Australian military. The following conversation ensued:
HARVEY: I hear Australia is leaving Iraq
AUSTRALIAN: Yes, that's right. Gone. Poof! Over the horizon. Eat our dust!
"Ceci n'est pas une combat troop."
HARVEY: The Australian troops are leaving?
AUSTRALIAN: Every last one of them.
HARVEY: What about that guy over there?
AUSTRALIAN: What guy?
HARVEY: The guy in the Australian Army uniform.
AUSTRALIAN: Well, not him.
HARVEY: But he's a troop.
AUSTRALIAN: No he's not.
HARVEY: He's wearing a uniform.
AUSTRALIAN: Lots of people do. They're quite comfortable, you know.
HARVEY: He's carrying a rifle.
AUSTRALIAN: Well, a small one, yes.
HARVEY: Bunch of grenades on his belt, helmet, body armor - he REALLY looks like a troop.
AUSTRALIAN: Not a COMBAT troop though, so he doesn't count.
HARVEY: So all the Australian troops are leaving...
AUSTRALIAN: COMBAT troops!
HARVEY: Except for the ones wearing uniforms, helmets & body armor, carrying weapons, and running around getting shot at by terrorists?
AUSTRALIAN: Which is entirely different from COMBAT troops.
HARVEY: Firefights with terrorists isn't combat?
AUSTRALIAN: Not at all.
HARVEY: Look! That troop just shot a terrorist!
AUSTRALIAN: No he didn't.
HARVEY: He fired his rifle and a swarthy fellow wearing a bomb belt just dropped down dead.
AUSTRALIAN: He was cleaning his rifle and it accidentally went off. Nothing combative about that. Rotten luck is all.
HARVEY: He just shot another one!
AUSTRALIAN: His rifle got dirty after that accidental shot and he had to clean it again. Rotten, ROTTEN luck, that.
HARVEY: So he's not a combat troop then?
AUSTRALIAN: Course not. They're all leaving. Prime Minister Rudd keeps his promises. Australia out of Iraq!
HARVEY: Except for the 1000 or so troops that are staying.
AUSTRALIAN: Certainly not! All gone! Up, up, and away! All 500 of them.
HARVEY: There were 1500 to start.
AUSTRALIAN: Minus the two that died, which leaves 500. And they're leaving. Which leaves zero.
HARVEY: So there'll be no Australian combat troops in Iraq any more?
HARVEY: Just armed and uniformed members of the Australian military who may have to fight for their lives at half a moment's notice while serving their country in a war zone?
HARVEY: Wait... I remember you... didn't you used to be the Iraqi Information Minister?
AUSTRALIAN: There are no American troops within 1000 miles of Baghdad!
HARVEY: Ah... well... thank you for your time.
AUSTRALIAN: My pleasure, and may your stomach roast in hell!