Behind The Scenes

Captive sailor reportedly writes letter calling for Iraq withdrawal

The letter came on the day the UN Security Council accepted a watered-down statement expressing "grave concern" at Iran's capture of Turney and 14 other sailors and marines in the northern Persian Gulf.

The statement also called for an early resolution of the problem, including their release.

Britain failed to win support for a stronger-worded statement that would "deplore" their capture and detention and demand their immediate release.

British: "We strongly feel that we must deplore this action!"

French: "Bon, I sink we muhst ulways deplore sotch acshawns of ze Arabes, quoi?"

Russians: "Hmm. Maybe it better to just say 'tut tut'. Da?"

British: "Tut tut?"

Americans: "Aw hells no! Howzabout we jes say 'we's gonna gitcha'. We's gonna gitcha! That's got zing!"

Chinese: "I say, couldn't we simply express 'grave concern'?"

French: "Did someone say grève?"

British: "The chinaman is utterly incorrect despite his incongruous grasp of the English language."

Chinese: "What can I say? I adore the BBC. If we ever get a free press, we'll be sure to imitate it."

French: "Bon, who eated ze last donut, quoi?"

British: "How about 'condemn'?"

Russian: "Too harsh. Da?"

British: "'denounce'?"

Chinese: "'mildly disapprove'"

British: "'reprove'?"

American: "Who gots a dollar? I need to run and git me some Doritos from the vending machine outside. Oh, afore I go: 'grave concern'" [leaves]

French: "Oh? Anozzehr grève? Bon, eet's about time, quoi?"

Russian: "'a hint of concern' Da?"

British: "I could settle for 'grave concern'".

Chinese: "That is fair. Very good. So let it be written. Next item on the agenda?"

French: "Ze global warming effect: true or faux?"

Chinese and British: [at the same time] Faux shizzle!

[laughter all around]