WASHINGTON, D.C. - President George W. Bush announced yesterday that with the holiday season at an end he will mobilize selected units of the Salvation Army in order to boost troop levels in Iraq. The designated units-the 15th Strip Mall Patrol and the 17th Kmart Brigade-will receive eight weeks of intensive training prior to being deployed.
"The Salvation Army has a proud history of serving pastries and hot coffee to battlefield troops since World War I," said the president, "but desperate measures call for desperate times and vice versa. Therefore, I have authorized the establishment of Operation Kettle Korps, a program that will train members of the Salvation Army for combat duty."
At a brief question-and-answer session following this announcement, CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked the president whether Operation Kettle Korps amounted to a back door draft.
"No," said Bush. "These units are already in the army, aren't they?"
Embattled secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld, taking time out from hand-writing letters of condolence to the families of soldiers killed recently in Iraq, praised the decision to mobilize the Salvation Army.
"Do I think this is a good idea?" asked Rumsfeld, jabbing the air with his calligraphy pen for emphasis. "Of course I do. It's about time we went to war with the army that we want. If ever there was an army with God on its side, the Salvation Army is it. Besides, we undermine troop morale if some members of the army are getting their guts shot out while others are standing around asking, 'Decaf or regular?'"
John Larsson, the Salvation Army's general, also endorsed the mobilization. Larrson spoke with reporters on Kettle Force 1, his army's private jet, while on his way to South Asia.
"I have received a number of inquiries from our soldiers who were itching to kill a few terrorists for Christ," he said. "I'm happy that Jesus has seen fit through his minister on earth to give them their chance. Christ be supreme."
The first contingent of Operation Kettle Korps troops is scheduled to arrive at Fort Benning, Georgia, on January 15. After they have been trained and sent to Iraq, Salvation Army members currently serving pastries and coffee to troops will return to the United States for military training. Their duties in Iraq will be assumed by members of Arnie's Army, a private noncombat force maintained by golfer Arnie Palmer.
In related news, Tiger Woods said that his army was "not up to fighting right now, as we've been in a slump recently." Woods said that as soon as his members had worked out the kinks in their bayonet swing, they would be "ready for the majors."