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03/18/03

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Support Grows for Unionized Suicide Bombers


BAGHDAD (BTI) - With war looming, a recent spate of accidental detonations has renewed calls among suicide bombers to unionize. To gauge the level of interest, Martyrs Local 239 invited the public to attend last night's general meeting in the back room of the Bada Baba nightclub. Union president Tariq al-Mughi opened the meeting by recounting the incidents: Former Baghdad postal worker Salim Jaboob accidentally set himself off while running errands on Saturday, destroying the Little Oasis Falafel Shoppe, and Sunday night, Ali Mashad exploded as he enjoyed a quiet meal of pureed lamb Khartoum with his fourth, seventh and ninth wives at the Shorba Hut.

"It is the infidel western dogs who are supposed to die in the street," raged al-Mughi. "Instead, two purveyors of exceedingly fine and delicious foodstuffs ... needlessly obliterated. Amateurs. This must stop." Defiant nods and whispers of "Praise Allah" showed most of the crowd in agreement. Al-Mughi touched on what looks to be a third incident where an unidentified man blew up himself and several goats in a working-class part of town.

"In a pine nut shell, what we are talking about here is government work." said al-Mughi. "And in times like this, the government isn't doing you any favors by going with the lowest bidder."

The crowd was later treated to a comprehensive 15-minute presentation on suicide safety. Using transparencies, a mannequin and actual U.S spy satellite photos downloaded off the Internet, al-Mughi showed how union suicide bombers receive extensive training abroad, usually in Afghanistan, and are proficient in explosives handling, storage and the use of triple-safe detonators. "Safety is always number one," he said.

As the meeting drew to a close, those in attendance appeared eager to support a move away from non-union contractors. One man did raise his hand and politely asked why the rates for unionized bombers were so much higher when things like seniority-based compensation and health benefits were not really considerations. Al-Mughi said the answer required time to explain and invited the man to stay after the meeting. He has not been seen since.

(Reported by Hashim Jabir)

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