Weapons of mass destruction: a practical guide

Paulo Coelho
21 January 2003

Bearing in mind that the president of the most powerful republic on the planet is, in principle, responsible for his actions and knows what he’s talking about, despite his eyes – have you noticed his eyes? Well, take a good look at them! – I, a Brazilian writer, earning my living from my daily struggle with words, and having no close ties with the secret service, the inspection procedure, with confidential files or privileged information, but capable of reading the newspapers with a reasonable degree of intelligence, have come up with the definitive answer to how to locate the weapons of mass destruction being hidden by Iraq. I will, by the way, require payment for this information.

How to locate the weapons

  1. All the weapons inspectors currently in Iraq should pack their bags, settle their hotel bills and head for Baghdad airport.
  2. There, they should all buy business class tickets to Washington. I stress business class so that they have time to rest, since the journey will involve a number of stopovers.
  3. On reaching Washington, they should catch the first bus to the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency, also known as the CIA. The address can be found in the telephone directory for Virginia.
  4. On reaching CIA headquarters, and armed with the appropriate United Nations (UN) inspection mandate, they should demand to see all the photographs, information and documents currently being supplied to Mr George W. Bush. These are the documents pinpointing the precise location of each arms cache and which allow Mr Bush to assure us that Iraq has an arsenal capable of destroying the planet.
  5. Once in possession of these documents, they should return to Iraq (again they should fly business class in order to arrive feeling rested) and go immediately to the places indicated in the photographs. Unable to deny the evidence, Saddam Hussein will have no option but to destroy his arsenal, for fear that the whole world will turn against him.
  6. If the CIA do not have said documents, the inspectors should go straight to Mr George W. Bush’s bedroom in the White House, Washington DC. On the way, they should avoid all contact with the thousands of American demonstrators who took part in the huge march on 18 January 2003 in protest against the war in Iraq.
  7. If Mr George W. Bush fails to cooperate with the UN inspectors, they should look for the evidence under his bed. If they do not find it there, they should go and see said citizen’s psychoanalyst, having first armed themselves with a mandate from the Security Council and the following question: ‘Does a son necessarily have to complete his father’s work?’ If the answer is affirmative, please advise me at once; my father was a civil engineer and, when he retired, he may well have left unfinished projects for his heir to deal with. If the answer is negative, demand that the psychoanalyst – on behalf of the UN, the United States and the whole world – prescribe the necessary medication to his patient so that he no longer constitutes a threat to his country and to his planet.

Method of payment

Once this, in my view, infallible line of action has been followed, I ask that the billions of dollars that would have been spent on the war be divided up in the following manner:

  • 50% to help the poor in Brazil, since the President of Brazil is currently grappling with a huge budget deficit, and because the author of this practical guide to weapons of mass destruction is himself Brazilian;
  • 40% to Africa;
  • 9% to Europe, who wavered but did not fall – at least not up until now, the day on which I am writing this article;
  • 1% to pay for a nice biography of Tony Blair, to be translated into forty languages, hard cover, colour photographs, saying what a great leader he is, how intelligent, important, charismatic, handsome and charming. That should be enough to keep him quiet, safe in the knowledge that his remarkable qualities have been recognised.


It is important to add the following. When speaking about the war, please do not generalise, saying that ‘the Americans want to attack Iraq’. We have made the same mistake before, saying that ‘the Serbs are all butchers’, ‘the Brazilians are all lazy’, or ‘the Iranians are all fundamentalists’. The people who want to attack Iraq are the politicians surrounding Mr George W. Bush, the Enron orphans. The American people are fully aware of what is going on, and just as they managed to stop the war in Vietnam, they may, when no convincing explanations are forthcoming, manage to persuade Bush’s psychoanalyst to prescribe a sedative and put an end to this nightmare.

©Paulo Coelho, 2003

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