San Diego, Calif. -- Hoping for a simultaneous marketing and military
coup, the Bush administration today officially set a war date, announcing
that the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq will be part of the Super Bowl
XXXVII halftime show.
sitcom stars like John Ritter will promote the show with
5-second promo spots declaring "Halftime is attack time."
Pentagon and ABC Sports officials said the halftime festivities,
slated for the intermission of the Jan. 26 game between the Oakland
Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will be a boon for all involved,
with the possible exception of Iraq.
"If you look at the facts, the Super Bowl is immensely popular,
but the proposed war with Iraq is not," said show co-producer
Carl Rockne. "At the same time, televised bombing is immensely
popular, but halftime shows are not. Put them together, and you've
got serious potential."
"Viewers might walk out on Shania Twain singing, but I can't
imagine anyone getting up to go to the bathroom while F-16s are firing
sidewinder missiles," added ABC Sports Vice President Mickey
Holmes. "If we have some real pounding going on in the first
half, and we segue right into our military pounding the enemy during
halftime, I think people are going to hang out and hold it in."
Particularly important, said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld,
were demographic statistics showing that the event's television audience,
expected to be 800 million worldwide, is also an ideal combat audience.
"When you're watching an NFL game and there's about to be a
big hit, you don't have time to think, 'Is this right or wrong?'
You just want to see the hit," said Rumsfeld. "These are
the people we want watching our war."
Rumsfeld added that the "U.S.-Led Invasion of Iraq Super Bowl
XXXVII Halftime Show" also satisfies two consistent Bush administration
goals: appealing to American populism while simultaneously infuriating
the international community.
To that end, nations across the Middle East immediately denounced
the plan, demanding that America wait until U.N. weapons inspections
were completed before taking action. In Iraq, Vice President Taha
Yassin Ramadan called the proposed show "typical United States
arrogance," adding, "This halftime lasts only, what, 30
minutes? The Americans cannot possibly believe they will defeat the
entire invincible army of Iraq in 30 minutes."
Rumsfeld acknowledged time could be an issue, but said the U.S.
was willing to stretch the invasion out to last the entire half hour.
In Europe, meanwhile, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder warned
that America's "misguided strategy" only "reinforces
the international stereotype of the beer-swilling, football-loving,
war mongering American."
Mindful of that reaction, Miller Brewing Co. has already filmed
a new version of its controversial Miller Lite "catfight" commercial.
In the new 30-second spot, instead of a pair of beer-drinking men
dreaming of scantily clad women fighting it out, American service
personnel are seen chanting "Tastes great!" while Iraqi
officers shout "Less filling!" Eventually, U.S. warplanes
and armored vehicles are shown bombing and shelling Iraq. The camera
then cuts to a bar where George W. Bush says to Rumsfeld, "Man,
who wouldn't want to watch that?" The two then toast with bottles
of Miller Lite as, nearby, their disgusted wives roll their eyes.
In a racier version of the commercial that will only run on cable,
Joyce Rumsfeld turns to First Lady Laura Bush and says, "Let's
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