NEWS ITEM: According to CNN.com, the Taliban has released a military code of conduct for the Mujahideen.
- Globe and Mail
HOLA, Lexi fans! Last you heard from me, I’d been hired as party planner for Osama bin Laden! What a hoot that was. Those parties were as awesome as any bash without alcohol, drugs, women or pork can be.
Eventually, though, Osama sent me a tweet. “In these economically troubled times, I must delete extraneous festivities,” he said. (What a windbag -- ha!) “Therefore, you are terminated.”
A couple of days later, I received a bouquet of chocolate chip cookies with a nice note. I guess I had taught him a thing or two about gracious touches!
Anyhoo, Osama referred me to one of his old Taliban buddies for a bit of contract work. “When you call him, pretend to be a man, since women are useless,” he warned me. “He’ll never know -- you won’t be flying to Pakistan for meetings. They’re on a budget.”
I met briefly by phone with Abdul bin Abdullah before getting hired. My gravelly voice easily passed as male. Still, I almost blew it.
“What’s the temperature there?” I asked Mr. Abdullah, by way of a chatty intro.
“It is 48 degrees,” he said through his interpreter.
“That’s bikini weather!” I replied -- which met with a stony silence. “Kidding!” I said. Then he laughed, called me an infidel, and told me about the project. What can I say? My people skills are killer.
The Taliban was coming out with a “military code of conduct” for the Mujahideen, he said, and guess who was in charge of writing it -- yours truly!
First, though, I had to sit in on a conference call with Mr. Abdullah and his cronies. Man, those Talibansters can gas on. Well, what else do they have to do? They watch no TV whatsoever.
“We want to make sure our suicide attacks are of the highest possible quality,” Mr. Abdullah explained, which started a big argument in their conference room that the translator didn’t bother to interpret. There was a blood-curdling scream, a loud thump -- and then the meeting broke for mint tea.
I was doing Pilates in my home office, so it didn’t matter to me how long they took. Anyway, I charge by the hour.
Finally Mr. Abdullah (we never got on a first-name basis) took the podium, or the rock, or whatever, and started talking again. “We do not want sub-par suicide attacks,” he began, and then added something that I wound up throwing into the code of conduct: “‘Suicide attacks should be of high value and important targets because a brave son of Islam should not be used for low value and useless targets.’”
I asked if Mr. Abdullah could come up with another word for “targets” so as not to repeat himself in the same sentence. Again with the sudden hush. “Alrighty, then!” I said. “After all, I aim to please, just like a good suicide bomber. Ha!”
I tell you, this guy had zero sense of humour.
“What about putting something in the code of conduct about collateral damage?” I asked. “It’s a buzzword!”
“Perhaps…” said Mr. Abdullah. “But ‘collateral damage’ is a decadent American term. What means the same thing?”
“Terrible civilian losses?” I asked.
“But we do not wish terrible civilian losses,” said Mr. Abdullah.
“Could have fooled Planet Earth,” I replied. (I skim the papers daily.)
“Our PR is terrible,” he said, sighing. “How about this -- ‘In suicide attacks, the killing of innocent people and damage to their property should be minimized.’”
There was another outburst from several of the Talibansters, a weird guttural sound, then eerie quiet.
“Sounds great!” I said in a super-hyped tone. (You know what? Sometimes you just have to go with the flow.) “Do you want to say anything about disfigurement?”
“What about it?” he asked, puzzled.
“Oh, that you’re for it, or against it, or whatever?”
“Well, we are not for it, exactly. Sometimes it just happens,” he said.
“That’s exactly why we’re writing this code of conduct, though, right, chief?” I said. “To tell people stuff shouldn’t just happen. It should be part of a plan.”
“I suppose,” said Mr. Abdullah, like the concept of planning was news to him. “Well, what about this: ‘Mujahideen should refrain from disfiguring people,’ and then a few examples of disfigurement, you know, like severing body parts ….”
“How ’bout we don’t give them any examples?” I asked. “We don’t want to get too wordy….”
Somewhere near the phone, I heard the click of a trigger being unlocked, though that was probably just a nervous tick of Mr. Abdullah’s. “What is your address?” he asked in a totally charming tone.
“Oh, I’m just in the process of moving, not sure where,” I lied. “Okay, we’ll put in some examples -- whatever you want. What is your key message in this code of conduct, by the way?”
Mr. Abdullah’s voice relaxed a bit. “You see, we’ve had complaints. Not from anybody who counts -- soldiers, women, children, who cares? But for some reason, our ratings with Afghan men are at an all-time low. We must tell the Mujahideen to be better-behaved. They must win civilian hearts and lose the haters.”
“Oke-ally doke-ally!” I said, scribbling that down.
“When people see us coming, they run away,” Mr. Abdullah continued. “It’s demoralizing. Suicide bombers have feelings, too -- the right feelings.”
“Cool!” I said. “What about hosting a ‘do’ for suicide bombers, then?”
I think parties solve everything. Actually, it’s parties with margaritas and go-go dancers that solve everything, but -- whatever. “They could meet one another, have a few laughs. Mingle with some politicians, reporters and bloggers. Obviously, in some place with air conditioning.”
“It sounds rather comfortable…” said Mr. Abdullah in a suspicious tone. “We don’t want them to lose their edge.”
“Hey, don’t feed them then,” I said. “Serve contaminated
water. Hire a racist comedian.”
Mr. Abdullah turned away from the phone to discuss this plan with the Talibansters. Suddenly all hell broke loose -- there was gunfire, screaming, then dead air.
“Mr. Abdullah?” I said. “Mr. Abdullah?”
No response, until the receiver was hung up in a fumbling sort of way.
I am nothing if not professional, though. I wrote the code of conduct and sent it in through Al Jazeera, as instructed. I haven’t heard from Mr. Abdullah, but I’m guessin’ he’ll send a bouquet of some sort any day now.