Joe Lavin's Humor Column
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The messages with the subject "Important Information" urge Iraqis to disobey all orders for using chemical or biological weapons, to help U.S. forces locate such weapons by sending out signals, and to buy a new herbal remedy that can add up to six inches to their -- oh, sorry, wrong e-mail. Seriously, though, what is the government thinking by labeling the message "Important Information?" That's like marking your e-mails "urgent." It ensures that everyone will assume it's junk mail, and that no one will bother reading it. When was the last time you opened a message with the subject "Important Information?"
The messages themselves are not too inspiring. Somehow, I doubt e-mails like this are going to win over any Iraqis:
"If you provide information on weapons of mass destruction or you take steps to hamper their use we will do what is necessary to protect you and protect your families. Failing to do that will lead to grave personal consequences."
Generally, in messages like this, it's best to keep the carrot at least one paragraph away from the stick, but I guess that our military isn't exactly trained to write enticing e-mail. It's a shame really. After all, spam has become a major American industry. You would think we could come up with something a little better. Perhaps we could recruit some of our most annoying spammers to help out. I'm sure there are many who send junk mail but also love their country. Why not unleash them against Iraq and let them Spam For America™? As an added benefit, they would probably be so busy spamming Saddam that they wouldn't get around to spamming the rest of us.
Unless you're a prominent Iraqi with an e-mail account, it sounds like a win-win opportunity. Just think of the possibilities.
"Hey sexy! Me and my friends from college just set up a hot new web cam. We're so horny, and -- if you just provide information on weapons of mass destruction and take steps to hamper their use -- we'll show you all the naughty things we've learned in our freshman dorm. Just click here, and reveal that information, big boy!"
"Find out ANYTHING about ANYONE right NOW, including the President of the United States of America and all United Nations weapons inspectors. Our special detective software, version 8.2, can dig up any information you want. Up until now, this technology was only available to the United States government, but for only $39.95, we'll personally deliver it straight to you. Just e-mail us with the exact coordinates of your location, and we'll deliver it within one day. That's our guarantee."
"Virus Alert!!!!! Watch out! There's a virus going around, and it's targeting all computers used to develop weapons of mass destruction. If you're using such a computer, open up your C Drive. If you see a folder there called Windows, delete it immediately!!!!! It's a virus!!!!!! My nephew Amir sent me this, and I didn't believe it at first, but when I opened my C drive, the Windows folder was right there!!!! Delete the whole folder right away, or else the virus will erase your entire computer and e-mail the United Nations weapons inspectors with your exact location!!!! Be sure to forward this e-mail to all your friends who are also developing weapons of mass destruction!!!"
"Bigger is Better, email@example.com!!!! Dear firstname.lastname@example.org: Would you like to grow your bombs up to 75% bigger with our new revolutionary bomb-growing technology not available in any stores? We all know everyone respects a man with a really big bomb, and now you too can have a giant bomb that is the envy of all other men. For only $19.95, just e-mail us the exact location of all your bombs, and we'll go there and turn them into the biggest bombs in the Middle East in less than 21 days. Also works on all weapons of mass destruction! Act now, and we'll also throw in a free e-book on preventing premature launches. Order now, email@example.com! You won't regret it!"
©2003 Joe Lavin