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Friday, October 3 2:00 PM EDT

Galactic Empire to Take
Over Power in Iraq

By Peter Bozarov

Washington D.C. - At a press conference yesterday, White House spokesman Scott McClellan announced that all political and military authority in Iraq would be handed over to the Galactic Empire, starting October 1, 2003.

By ceding power to the Empire, the U.S. can free itself from the arduous and unenviable duty of policing Iraq, without losing face in front of the world. "The move is also beneficial to Iraq," McClellan added: the U.N. has no political authority over the Galactic Empire; as such, the Empire's nation-building efforts will not be "stymied by the relentless navel-gazing of the Earth's U.N. Security Council," Lord Vader, Supreme Commander of the Empire's armed forces, stated in a live-video interview from his lavish suite on the Executor, his Super Star Destroyer-class ship currently in orbit around Jupiter.

By bypassing the U.N., the Empire will be able to start restoring order in the hard-pressed country as soon as the end of the week. "The good thing is that we will be able to bring peace and order to the Iraqi people right away without having to go through endless rounds of U.N. quibbling and power-gaming," Vader explained. "Obviously, this is the best course of action for Iraq."

As a point of fact, the Galactic Empire is a well-suited candidate for the job. "They have had eons of experience in bringing control to lawless planets and crushing huge armies of insurgents," says Empire specialist Jeb van Dale of the Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. "And, unlike the U.S., they simply have the manpower to pull this off". The Empire can deploy up to two million stormtroopers in Iraq by the end of the week, bringing welcome relief to the exhausted U.S. garrisons tasked with maintaining control of the country.

Lord Vader is convinced the Iraqis will hail their new leaders and embrace their newfound safety and security eagerly. "They are hard-working people who are used to being subjugated by a cruel, evil and inhumane dictator. As such, I know they will be very comfortable with their new leader, His Highness, the Emperor Palpatine."

By the end of the day, the first contingents of stormtroopers were being brought in to take control of the towns of Najaf and Karbala. "Wow, this place is just like Tatooine!" Jab Erhar, 2nd lieutenant with the 342nd Galactic Expeditionary Brigade, exclaimed upon disembarkation. "Endless desert, stifling heat, strange animals, rogue bands of rebels and weapons' smugglers: this is exactly what we've been training for!"

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Lord Vader is confident his troops will be able to restore order to the country within days. "Our troopers are extremely well trained and motivated. The bands of Fedayeen Saddam guerillas still active in the country will be no match for our AT-AT walkers and speeder bikes."

Lord Vader is planning on using the power of the Force to locate Saddam Hussein and have him captured. "We are going to carbon-freeze him and put him up on display in the center of Baghdad. This will deal a crushing blow to the morale of his underlings."

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