U.S. Also Needs Invasion, Demolition, Military Housing Permits

Washington, D.C. ( – Already frustrated by seemingly endless delays, U.S. officials today conceded a confusing knot of new Iraqi regulations that require “non-resident aggressors” to obtain hundreds of federal and provincial pre-invasion permits and licenses will further postpone any attack on Saddam Hussein.

Iraqi Invasion Permit, p. 33

“I keep saying we haven’t set a date for an attack on Iraq, and now I think you can all see why,” complained U.S. President George W. Bush, who was busily typing up an “Intent to Overthrow” notice that must be published in an Iraqi newspaper of record for two weeks.

“I’m starting to think all the hassle is just not worth it,” added U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who has been shuttling back and forth between Washington and the Iraqi consulate in Paris trying to get the appropriate paperwork. “They say we have to get temporary military lodging permits, heavy equipment usage permits. We even have to submit an environmental impact study before we can destroy any buildings.”

“They may have asbestos,” explained Ibrahim Hekmat, a building inspector in the Public Works Ministry.

Indeed, according to Mohammed Mahdi Saleh, Iraq’s Minister of Military Intervention and Industry, much has changed in Iraq since the United States invaded in 1991.

“You can no longer just come in here and demolish a structure or occupy a city,” said Saleh. “You must post a notice in the newspaper to solicit public comments and submit a form S-14/TQ-3A. And then there are mandatory public hearings. Our board meets on the second Wednesday of each month, excluding Ramadan.”

If a proposal is accepted, applicants still have to obtain permits and approvals from dozens of governmental agencies in each of the 18 Iraqi provinces, including the Al Muthanna Military Intervention Board, the Mosul Inland Wetlands Council, and the infamous Al-Basrah Historic District Commission, which has already warned that all non-Iraqi military weaponry must be made of stone, and that transport vehicles be painted to look like camels.

Even if the U.S. project is granted the estimated 600 necessary approvals, the Americans must still obtain a Certificate of Occupation from local officials in any affected area. And then they may not be able to stay. According to new immigration laws, anyone planning to remain in the country for more than six months must obtain a J-6 “Permanent Alien Aggressor” visa. But Iraq only issues 10,000 J-6 visas a year, and each soldier must apply in person. To make matters worse, 25 percent of any invasion force has to be composed of Iraqi electricians.

“Hey, that’s not us, that’s union,” Saleh stressed.

According to White House sources, the entire situation has caused some Bush aides to suggest invading relatively lax Syria instead.

“I mean, to build a single latrine, we need a Domestic Septage Disposal Site permit, a Treatment Facility Installer’s permit, a Waste Facilities Management Operating permit, and a Non-Hazardous Solid Waste Transportation permit,” said Rumsfeld. “I’ll tell you right now, Iraq doesn’t need presidential reform, it needs regulatory reform.”

“That is one reason we have not been successful,” offered London-based Iraqi opposition leader Sharif Ali Bin Al Hussein. “The application for a C10-33 Indigenous Rebellion permit is 900 pages long.”

With international opinion running against an attack on Saddam, Rumsfeld yesterday said the United States may try to avoid the red tape and resort to covert operations. The Iraqi Board of Non-Traditional Interventions and Planning will meet the second Tuesday in September to consider the proposal.

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