Best Regards from Baghdad

My One Year in Iraq

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

May 3, 2007 - As if we didn't have anything better to do, we started our own version of the joke "Why did the chicken cross the road?"  While much of this won't make much sense beyond the Embassy, we all think this is hysterical.  Thanks to all the contributors (Jeff, Carl, Vickie, Judes, Joe, David, Richard, Arlen, etc.)

QUESTION:  Why did the chicken cross the road?


Front Office to MGT:  Please draft a reply for the AMBís signature as to why the chicken crossed the road.  Please send in your response nlt COB today.


BETT:  We don't have any space for the chicken in the NEC if it crosses the road.  The chicken needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they are entitled to 6x6 inches of space at the NEC.  He also needs to prove that his Agency has an approved NSDD-38 cable.  Otherwise, the chicken either needs to go back or move to the USAID compound.


MGT:  Letís get a TDYer from Washington to come and help us determine why the chicken crossed the road and/or to help the chicken cross the road.


REG MGT:  Did the chicken request country clearance to cross the road?  We canít just let every Tom, Dick, and Henrietta cross the road.  They must be able to provide proof regarding the mission essential nature of their crossings.  Chickens without country clearance will be summarily returned to the other side of the road and left to fend for themselves.


ISU Amman:  Did the chicken request travel orders?  He cannot cross the road without travel orders and a country clearance.  Also, did the chicken request a hotel room and/or a Hertz vehicle upon arrival to the other side of the road?  If not, they need to visit our website and request those services, which will be charged to their travel orders.    


Psychiatric Social Worker:  We should all try to understand why the chicken felt it had to cross the road


Health Unit:  The chicken should definitely NOT cross the road until we have determined what our response will be in the case that the chicken is carrying Avian flu.


OBO:  (no response)


Protocol: Before the chicken approaches the road, it must be determined if the chicken will be referred to as His Excellency, Minister Counselor or Madam President. The chicken must receive an invitation to cross. Said chicken must RSVP and bring invitation and photo id to cross the road. Once invitation is accepted, the seating plan will be organized and chicken may be Guest of Honor.


Legal Office:  The chicken cannot cross the road because [insert here some ridiculous reason that prevents some reasonable action, usually having to do with USG liability].

HRO:  We donít care why the chicken crossed the road.  We just want to ensure that the chicken has spent 365 days on this side of the road and no more than 63 days in other locations due to R&R and/or RRBs.  Also, there must be a new chicken to take their place and there must be a one-week overlap before the old chicken can cross the road because we don't take gaps on this side of the road.

GSO:  Can you confirm that the chicken is COM?  If so, please have the chicken submit a motorpool request in writing, indicating the chickenís destination, and whether the driver needs to wait to bring the chicken back or whether  the chicken will call for a return trip?


FMO:  That darn chicken still hasnít filed a travel voucher since the last time it crossed the road and cannot cross the road again until all his vouchers have been approved.


PAS:  Day 1 - EMBASSY PRESS RELEASE - Today a substantial milestone was achieved when the chicken took the next step in the evolution of independent, democratic government when it crossed the road -- cautiously looking in both directions first -- without the involvement of the Embassy or U.S. military.  Though there are bound to be bumps on this long road to peace and prosperity, we are encouraged by this positive sign.


PAS:   Day 2 - EMBASSY PRESS RELEASE - We remain encouraged by the step taken by the chicken to cross the road.  Though no USG advisor took part in the actual crossing, we acknowledge that there were some USG advisors present at the time.  This remains a great day for the chicken and a substantial step towards fully independent democratic institutions of government.


Consular :

Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (as currently amended) requires us to have less concern for why the chicken crosses the road than for what will compel the chicken to return to this side of the road after a temporary stay on the other side.  This section of the law is specific and demanding and all applicants to cross the road are presumed to be going to the other side to stay permanently unless they can demonstrate to the adjudicating officer that they have ties to this side of the road that are so strong that the applicant will be compelled to return to this side after a temporary stay on the other side.  While the ownership of a nest or coop on this side of the road or even leaving chicks or unhatched eggs on this side of the road may contribute to the chicken's overcoming the assumptions inherent in Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (as currently amended), in and of themselves they do not constitute "compelling ties.Ē  While ineligibility under Section 214(b) is not permanent and you may re-apply to cross the road at any time, it is doubtful that the Consular officer's decision will be different in the absence of a substantial change in your current circumstances.  It will probably be in your best interests to wait at least one year before re-applying to cross the road.  I regret that I am unable to give you a more positive reply at this time.


Political Section:  The fact that the chicken crossed the road shows that decision-making authority has switched to the chicken in accordance with the transition of power.  From now on, the chicken is responsible for its own decisions.


IRMO/ITAO:  Of course, we rebuilt the road so that the chicken could cross said road.   But we shouldn't be expecting that chicken to cross the road on their own - it's too much work.  So we've arranged for two 3161 subject matter expert chickens to come in and help the first chicken out.


NCT/OPA:   Can you call GSO Housing?  We forgot to arrange meet and greet and billeting for the chicken when it arrived here after crossing the road.  Also, we will prepare a PowerPoint Presentation showing how the chicken crossing the road will fit into the future of NCT/OPA.


SIGIR:  Upon inspection, we found that the road had been built according to standards, except the road crossing safety equipment.  The safety equipment was paid for by the USG but not installed, nearly leading to the death of the chicken.


RCLO:  This displaced chicken may be intending to seek asylum or refugee status in order to escape the persecution of the genocidal meat eaters and war criminals who are annihilating the chicken population through widespread and systematic attacks using inhumane instruments of torture such as butcher knives and skewers.  Furthermore, they are subjecting the chicken population to the mental anguish of knowing their loved ones are being served weekly on the Kebab Grill.


Big Voice:  Cluck and Cover, Cluck and Cover: Chickens are crossing the road in the IZ.  This is not a drill.  I repeat; this is not a drill.  Chickens are crossing the road in the IZ.  Cluck and Cover, Cluck and Cover.


RSO:  A military age chicken (MAC) was crossing the road as the TST convoy passed by with lights and sirens blaring.  The rear gunner of the lead vehicle fired a pen flare which landed in the front of the MAC.  The MAC continued its aggressive approach and the rear gunner then fired two well-aimed M4 rounds at approximately 25 meters.   The MAC came to a complete stop.  The COM TST continued the mission without further incident after the remains of the MAC were recovered by personnel from the Road Kill Cafť.


Big Voice:  Attention in the Embassy Compound, Attention in the Embassy Compound: The explosion you just heard was an IED hitting a chicken crossing the road.  Do Not React.  I repeat, Do Not React.


Town Hall: There will be a Town hall meeting in Greenbean Cafe to mourn the loss of one of our finely feathered friends.  The DCM will be available to answer your questions and the RSO will give a presentation on road safety procedures and practices.


KBR:  We were asked to help the chicken cross the road.  Given the inherent risk of road crossing, and the rarity of chickens, this operation will only cost $326,004.


Employee Association:  Obviously he was crossing the road because the new Employee Association-run bar is on the other side of the street.