Now that the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq since the March 20 invasion has topped 500, the Pentagon has announced an enhanced version of its "stop-loss" policy to minimize troop losses during the occupation.
The enhanced policy was described by U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as "a new-and-improved, totally revolutionary, forward-thinking, and ideologically and pragmatically brilliant version of our current policy thus far. This is a known known, something that we know we know."
The existing stop-loss policy has already prevented about 40,000 soldiers from retiring over the past several months. In the face of mounting losses in escalating conflicts around the world, the new policy imposes the following changes, effective immediately:
1. Soldiers will not be allowed to die while on duty. "That's the coward's way out," Secretary Rumsfeld told reporters. "And this way, no one can criticize the President for not attending military funerals."
2. The roughly 2,500 wounded soldiers awaiting treatment in U.S. military hospitals will be recalled to active duty. "We have to let them know that malingering will not be tolerated," the Secretary said. "What's a missing limb anyway, when our national interests are at stake?"
3. After a national moment of silence to signify official mourning for the 500+ fallen soldiers, the dead will be revived by electroshock treatment and shipped back overseas. As Rumsfeld said: "We have no time for layabouts." The Secretary also confirmed that the Pentagon will not allow the opening of the coffins to be filmed or photographed. "We didn't let the American public see them while they were closed, so there's no point in setting a precedent now," the Secretary said.
When asked if the U.S. military might consider also recruiting the roughly 9,000 Iraqi civilians killed since March 20, Rumsfeld said: "We have no such plans at present, but you never know. After all, we did destroy those people in order to liberate them, and the world is safer as a result."
Reporters also asked U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell to verify the number of Iraqi dead, but he declined, saying: "That is really not a matter I am terribly interested in."