From the Desk of the Secretary of Defense

Dear Mr Hoback,

Thank you very much for your recent letter concerning the current whereabouts of Osama bin Laden. Of particular interest to me and the gang was the photograph you kindly enclosed. Although you were unable to positively ID them, we identified the other two individuals in the photograph as members of the Israeli branch of al Qaeda - Muhammad Goldstein and Rosemary al-Bakazhi, number 6 and number 17 with a bullet within the organization.

So that's what Osama looks like without a beard! My God, that's one ugly enemy of freedom. No wonder he is so reluctant to shave. I believe that I'd grow whiskers too if I had a mug like that.

Let me briefly express a concern that has been voiced within our department, an issue with potentially serious repercussions. Are you sure you didn't Photoshop this picture? Ha ha, just kidding. Actually, it correlates nicely with accounts of his current appearance.

I am sorry to inform you that we will not be able to send you the 25 million dollar reward that you requested. We were already aware that bin Laden was seeking refuge in the greater NYC metropolitan area. Although your placement of him in the South Bronx is indeed helpful, please keep in mind that this is a hostile area with miles and miles of underground caves patrolled by openly aggressive natives. It would be easier to pass a camel through the eye of a needle to find him there, and I for one am not prepared to sacrifice the lives of American troops necessary to locate this one bad actor.

I am in total agreement with your assessment that it should not be difficult to find a giant Arab hooked up to a dialysis machine, but as I'm sure you are aware, members of the opposition Democratic party have been instrumental in blocking our efforts at obtaining free and open access to the medical records of Americans who should have nothing to fear if they have nothing to hide.

Again, thank you for your efforts in our war against terror. Enclosed, you will find complimentary tickets to this years Army-Navy game at Annapolis, where we can only pray that Army will prevail.


Donald Rumsfeld

source photo Diane Arbus

2006, Mark Hoback