The Bush administration is to launch a multimillion-dollar PR blitz against Saddam Hussein, using advertising techniques to persuade crucial target groups that the Iraqi leader must be ousted. The campaign, which will initially receive over $200 million, will be overseen by the Office of Global Communications, whose existence will not be formally announced until next month. - London Times Online, Sept. 17, 2002 From: Office of Global Communications, Washington, D.C. To: Waggin" the Dog Productions, Century City, CA Re: FINAL SHOOTING SCRIPT - "Whack Iraq" Campaign, Commercial Spot #4 ESTABLISHING SHOT OF Nostalgic Main Street, Anytown, USA; CUT TO C.U. SHOTS OF CITIZENS exhibiting appropriate mix of ethnic diversity, key demographic/age/gender voting blocs. CAMERA TIGHTENS SLOWLY ON MR. AND MRS. PETERSON gazing at a store-window television set, their teen-age son, JIMMY, loitering at their side, idly fingering his cell-phone-video-game-phonics-tutor. Jimmy"s pal, STEVE, bounds up with his trademark Mischievous GrinÆ; Steve is dressed in red-white-blue American flag attire with a T-shirt that reads: "My Other Brain Is a Smart Bomb." STEVE: Hi there, Mr. and Mrs. Peterson, Jimmy. Say, you folks wouldn"t be shopping for a new morally justified use of American military power, would you? MRS. PETERSON: Well, Steve, we had been interested in acquiring a Big News Event to keep us distracted from the mundane and depressing realities of our everyday lives, what with me getting laid off three times this year and Enron losing Mr. Peterson"s pension fund in the Bermuda Triangle National Bank. MR. PETERSON: You said it! Ever since they cancelled Who Wants to be a Millionaire Celebrity Death Match Blind Date Survivor Husband of Anna Nicole Smith?, we"ve been suffering a terrible case of media-hype withdrawal. STEVE: Are you in luck! (winks roguishly) "Cause we"re gonna kick Saddam Hussein"s mustachy butt! (snickers, nudges Jimmy) JIMMY: (pouts) Saddam Hussein? That the new kid on Mezzo-Sopranos? STEVE: Way close, Jimmy. Saddam is a terrorist. Saddam has weapons of mass destruction. Saddam poses a threat to his neighbors and America - including a green-level alert to sabotage Jimmy"s school prom floats with radioactive termites. (frowns solemnly) MRS. PETERSON: Who told you that? The CIA? NSA? Homeland Security? STEVE: Are you kidding? We use only top-of-the-line intelligence sources: one of Saddam"s former mistresses who (nudges, winks) "defected" just in time to be (nudges, winks) "debriefed" live on Fox (nudges, winks) "News." MR. PETERSON: Is it true we have 100,000 troops already posted in and around Iraq? STEVE: (salutes) Yes, sir, with more on the way. And U.S. central command is moving its headquarters to Qatar in November. (sotto voce, draws Mr. and Mrs. Peterson close) Can you keep a secret? We"ve been stepping up provocatory air attacks over both Iraqi no-fly zones daily. Something"s gonna pop reallll soon! (giggles) MR. PETERSON: I don"t know, Steve. It sounds pretty iffy to me. Do we have any actual proof? STEVE: Uhhh Ö (shifts nervously, looks away from Mr. Peterson"s stare, then brightens) Say, it"s my pal, Tony! M.S. OF TONY, a junior sales associate wearing a Beatle haircut, Elton John glasses and Union Jack kilt, skipping up carrying an armful of sales brochures. TONY: (sings) Cheerio! Cheerio! It"s off to war we go! STEVE: (nudges, winks) He"s from Merry Olde Britannia, if you get my drift! TONY: Everything you need to know right here in these reports! Assertions, affidavits, assurances, allegations, everything you need! MRS. PETERSON: But are there any new facts, Tony? TONY: (closes eyes) Everything you need to know right here in these reports! Assertions, affidavits, assurances, allegations, everything you need! Cheerio! (skips off) STEVE: And, this invasion"s got something you won"t find in any of our competitors" warmongering rhetoric: "enforced multi-lateralism." (nods sagely) MR. PETERSON: Wow! That"s incredible? What is it? STEVE: I dunno, but when the president says it, everybody goes nuts! (guffaws charmingly) MRS. PETERSON: Besides the terrible price in human lives and misery, won"t a regime change cost a lot of money? With our economy already weakened by the market freefall and the president"s tax cuts, I don"t know if we can afford another prolonged police action. After all, our last four major recessions came after oil prices increased, which would certainly happen again if Iraqi oil is removed from the market or other Middle East oil supplies are interrupted. STEVE: Not to worry, Mrs. Peterson. The joint chiefs estimate this invasion won"t cost more than $200 billion. Look at the built-in extras you get: upsurge in fervent patriotism, ephemeral economic uptick, instant prestige for issue-bankrupt politicians. And don"t forget about those hard-working oil companies - the more profit they make in a time of economic chaos, the more they can spend exploring for new oil in wildlife preserves. That"s a no-brainer even for Jimmy here! JIMMY: (pouts) Huh? MR. PETERSON: Gosh, when you put it that way, who could resist? (pulls out handful of credit cards) One of these must still work. STEVE: Now you"re talking, Mr. P! There"s no limit to our national deficit, so you can spend and borrow all you want! Plastic rules! MRS. PETERSON: It seems all this war talk has suddenly come up just before the mid-term elections, which typically serve as a sobering referendum on the president"s performance. None of the television news pundits whose opinions we trust as fact are talking any more about issues that concern our daily lives: education, health care, consumer protection, energy conservation, corporate reform, real homeland security needs - MR. PETERSON: Or Congressman Conduit and that missing girl in Utah, what"s her name, Eliana Gonzalez? The minutiae of their lives is of great concern to us all. STEVE: Not to worry, Mr.-Mrs. P. Constant talk about war bolsters the president"s approval ratings and eliminates any unpleasant focus on problems he"s not interested in solving. Guaranteed! JIMMY: (pouts) Huh? STEVE: What do you say, Petersons? Is it a deal? MRS. PETERSON: I"ll talk it over with Mr. Peterson. But if you say it"s good for the country ... MR. PETERSON and MRS. PETERSON converse, are immediately distracted by PARADE OF FLAG-WAVING SPORTS STARS AND FORMER SITCOM LEADS and fall in behind the parade. STEVE: (grins, nudges Jimmy) Dude, you"re gettin" a war!