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Tuesday, April 01, 2003
The taking of Hamlet, Southern Earaq

I have received the following dispatch from our intrepid correspondent Rob "Des" Ert in the Souk(er):
Coalition troops today liberated the extremely important strategic conurbation of Hamlet (pop. 5). The British commander in the field, Captain Mainwaring, was jubilant at this success. "This opens the way for us to advance all the way up to the next sandcastle, 300 inches away. Baghdad next stop."

There were no fatalities. Injuries in this crucial engagement were said to be "light". Reports from the local brothel casualty station revealed one badly bruised ego and a collection of temper tantrums. ("No, it was my strategic victory.")

During the advance, the local headquarters of the Jacuzzi party were totaally demolished. In the wreckage, troops found undeniable evidence of chemical warfare: lindane, synergised pyrethrum and insect repellent.

"This is the evidence we have been looking for: the smoking gun, the Stevenson moment, the killer fuct (surely "fact”? - Ed.), "said Captain Mainwaring. " If these people have access to this sort of terrifying weapon, we have to stop their dissemination. Unless we're careful, it'll be factor fifteen suntan lotion next".

Captain Mainwaring went on to tell me that stirring victories like this only go to show the value of practising counter-insurgency in the Edgware Road, Walmington. With such intrepid leadership, total victory cannot be more than 73 years away. Rejoice.
"Des" is now enjoying a well-earned rest in the souk(er), having been literally rather than figuratively embedded in a "yellow on yellow" incident.

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