ITT Ideologist: WikiLeaks and Diplomatic Damage Control

Pete Karman

(Illustration by Terry Laban )

Dear Reader,

Your ITT Ideologist has gained access to the damage control messages that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is sending to world leaders to mitigate the negative effects of the latest WikiLeak revelations. A sample of them appear below.

Dear President Chavez of Venezuela,

I imagine you have learned that secret traffic from our embassy in Caracas consisted of detailed plans to take you out” and get rid of that goddam commie crowd in Caracas.” This was, of course, a running joke between the White House and our colleagues at State, CIA and Exxon. In fact, I was planning to give you a big hug at our next encounter.

Dear President Hu Jintau of China,

This is to inform you that the titters that occurred on the American side when our ambassador in Beijing passed air while kowtowing to you was entirely spontaneous and not meant to be disrespectful in any way. What A Gas!”, the misinterpreted title of a dispatch to Washington on this incident, has been stricken from our official State Department handbook of diplomatic phrases. 

Dear President Sarkozy of France,

This is to extend my apologies for our ambassador in Paris who is quoted in a confidential dispatch as saying this frog doesn’t jump high enough.” It was an inadvertent error in translation. 

Dear Prime Minister Berlusconi of Italy,

A dispatch praising you as a peacemaker in Europe was erroneously transcribed as calling you the mouthpiece of [Russian premier] Putin in Europe.” Also, the graffiti in the men’s room at the U.S. chancellery giving your personal phone number as the best place to get hot chicks in Rome has been wiped from the wall.

Your Royal Highness King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia,

When you requested State Department help in finding a medical facility in the United States to treat your back problem, a sincere but somewhat insensitive junior foreign service officer suggested Brooklyn Jewish Hospital. He has since been transferred to Palau.

Your Holiness Pope Benedict,

An unfortunate error appeared in a dispatch from our embassy at the Holy See back to Washington. After attending a particularly convivial reception at the recent convocation of cardinals in Rome, our charge d’affaires humorously meant to describe the frolicsome event as boys being boys.” Somehow it came out as boys doing boys.” It won’t happen again.

Pete Karman began working in journalism in 1957 at the awful New York Daily Mirror, where he wrote the first review of Bob Dylan for a New York paper. He lost that job after illegally traveling to Cuba (the rag failed shortly after he got the boot). Karman has reported and edited for various trade and trade union blats and worked as a copywriter. He was happy being a flack for Air France, but not as happy as being an on-and-off In These Times editor and contributor since 1977.
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