Leaked Powell memo details media language preferences

MEMO: From the desk of Colin Powell, CEO of the United States of America, to the administrative offices of U.S. government subsidiaries CNN and Fox News.

RE: Language required by the Oval Office for broadcast use.

BODY: Dear colleagues,
Here is a list of terms required for broadcasts on Iraq. Broadcast them ad nauseum until they become a part of the American lexicon. Your incentives include one year’s supply of smallpox vaccinations for your immediate family and pets and twelve 30 percent-off Ameraqi Oil coupons (which will be made available in a few months).

First of all, we have received your numerous queries for the administration definition of “terrorist.” I brainstormed, while Georgie maintained morale by playing foosball, to define the state’s non-public, official list of those who may be considered a “terrorist”: Folks who have religious holidays and holy books that are hard to spell or pronounce (besides the Jews and the Hindus), people who have a general dislike of Americans (besides Europe although France is currently under consideration), countries whose school children throw rocks at tanks that prohibit them from going to class, and those who may have access to weapons of mass destruction.

That leads me to my next point. “Weapons of mass destruction” is another delicate term. Do not discuss that America itself developed much of this weapon technology feared by our people. Instead, report on the three milligrams of weapons-grade plutonium that is rumored to be in Iraq’s possession, or just show my fuzzy video of trucks driving around a building.

Next, we can’t emphasize enough the importance of the phrase “preemptive strike” when reporting on the conflict with Iraq (and by “reporting” we mean the dissemination of approved State Department-issued press releases on Iraq). “Preemptive strike” implies that there is reasonable belief that Iraq is capable of attacking the U.S. despite the fact that we bombed the country back to the Middle Ages and it can no longer strike Israel. “Preemptive strike” also makes us appear proactive (which is certainly a quality we are lacking when it comes to the environment and the economy).

We also encourage you to use the phrase “regime change.” We discourage the use of the word “election” since it has caused so many legal problems for us in the past. “Election” implies that people have a choice (which should be discouraged except when talking about product ranges), whereas “regime change” sounds more like a weather pattern that calls for a geographically specific people to wear different political colors.

On the subject of colors, we also want to alleviate some confusion about our color-coded national threat level assessment program. The reason we established this system was to keep Georgie’s attention during cabinet meetings. The bright yellow, orange, and red colors seem to work the best — apparently green, which in our system signifies a low risk of terror attacks, makes Georgie think about nature, which then makes him think about bulldozers, which then causes him to think about construction sites, and we’ve totally lost him by that point.

Blue, which signifies a guarded risk of terrorist attacks, reminds Georgie of water, and then he has to go to the bathroom, completely disrupting our meetings. So we try to keep the colors at an elevated and high risk level so Georgie’s mind doesn’t trail off too far in meetings when we discuss foreign policy and issues relating to the safety of the American people.

Now that we’ve made ourselves clear about what terms we do require you to use and what they really mean, here are some more guidelines. A few phrases we recommend are used sparingly are humanity, diplomacy, and common sense. These do not fit into our goals in the Middle East. Oh, and let’s focus on the short-term here. It’s best not to think about what impact our actions will have on the Middle East in the years to come — we don’t need any bad PR in anticipation of when we make Ameraqi Oil public and introduce stock options.

Sincerely yours,

Colin Powell

CEO of the United States of
America and Chairman of
Ameraqi Oil