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MILLER: Take our prisoner - please

A barely plausible conversation with the State Department

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Among the disclosures in the WikiLeaks docu- ments is that the United States attempted to persuade the Grand Duchy of Drachenschweig to take one of the Muslim prisoners from Guantanamo. A representative of the U.S. Department of State came to the Grand Duchy and spoke to an assistant of Herr Theophilus Rassendyll, Drachenschweig's foreign minister.

"What would the prisoner do in the Grand Duchy?" the assistant asked.

"You could assimilate him into your Islamic community," the American said. "We would help you with that. We would give you money."

"I thought you Americans didn't have any money."

"We can always find some. We'll earmark it especially for you."

"But Drachenschweig is a very small country," the assistant said. "We don't have an Islamic community. We have only two Muslims. The wife is originally from Saudi Arabia, where women are fully veiled, and the husband is from Timbuktu - Mali - where the men are fully veiled. We can hardly tell them apart when they walk down the streets of Schloss Hentzau, our capital."

"You'd have no difficulty recognizing this guy. He's young with a big beard," the American said. "Bit of an attitude, I'll admit."

"I don't think it would be possible to integrate three people, especially when one of them is accustomed to blowing people up and the other two aren't."

"No no, there would be no problem. Turns out this guy isn't dangerous. He never tried to blow anyone up. Kind of a joke on us, if you think about it." The American paused, thought, then spoke again. "Believe me, we're sure. We've been observing him for six years. He's harmless. Except for the attitude, like I said."

"No," the assistant said, hoping to draw the conversation to a close quickly. "We don't think it would work out."

The American played his trump card. "I think we could get your prime minister, Herr Feldspar, a face-to-face meeting with our president. In fact, I'm certain we could. The president already has several meetings lined up with leaders of countries that have agreed to take a prisoner or two. It would be easy squeezing you in."

"Herr Feldspar has already had a meeting with an American president. With Mr. Bush. Herr Feldspar said that was enough. Mr. Bush kept calling him Feldo."

"Oh, this president isn't into nicknames. No fear on that score." The American paused again. "Does your prime minister like statistics?"

"I don't know whether he likes statistics," the assistant said. "Anyway, Drachenschweig is not only a small country, it's a poor country. Our Treasury simply couldn't justify the costs of the airfare for any meeting even if the prime minister wanted one."

"What cost? Don't even think of it. It would be on our dime, or whatever your currency is called. Are you guys on the euro? We could even send Air Force One." The American pondered for a moment, bit his thumb, and continued. "No, it might have to be the vice president's plane. But it's just as good. Really."

"No, I tell you, it just won't work. I'm sorry."

"Really? You're sure? Tell you what, if you can't or won't take money, how about if I arrange for us to buy a lot of your country's main export. There's an honest dollar for you. What is it?"

"What is what? Our chief export?" The assistant drew himself up to his full 5 feet 7 inches and said, staring coldly, "I should think you would have informed yourself on that score. We are very proud of the dentures we make. We are the world's largest supplier of dentures." The assistant hesitated, then reluctantly added, "After Liechtenstein, that is."

"False choppers, eh? You got me there. That'd be tough to put across with my boss."

"Anyway, why don't you just send the prisoner back where he came from? To his home country?" the assistant suggested.

"His home country? No, can't do that. Too problematic."

"Too problematic? Why, would they abuse him?"

"No, not too problematic for him. For us."

"For you? You mean the United States? Why? Where is he from?"

"Canada."

"Canada?"

"Yeah, Canada. And they're really ticked at us."

Roger K. Miller is the author of "Dragon in Amber" (Wasteland Press, 2010), a novel about the Grand Duchy of Drachenschweig.

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