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Dear Prime Minister [REDACTED],
I’ve written several difficult letters since taking my post. This is the hardest. Our drone pilots have, against their will and intent, struck sixty of your citizens. Conservatively. The final tally might be seventy.
I wish I could say they were mostly insurgents. Or that any were. Sadly, all seventy targets were unaffiliated with terrorists, spies, mercenaries, arms dealers, drug lords, traffickers, revolutionaries, and counter-revolutionaries. After two hellfire missiles, they’re also unaffiliated with life.
It’s tempting to succumb to anger. Everything looks like a war crime from the right angle. But I trust you to rise above petty media grandstanding. Seventy men, women, and/or children deserve better. Would they want a week of headlines, or lasting, stable democracy?
Forgiveness has power. When I was seven, my mother spent days making my brother’s graduation cake. My only job was carrying it downstairs, and I dropped it. But instead of scolding me or calling the United Nations, mother ruffled my hair and thanked me for trying. Your people are a lot like that cake: in the past. And sanctions can’t bring either back.
You’ve been a steadfast ally across three police actions. I respect that bond, and the other generals are aware of it. Think of all the civilians we’ve avoided. Or compare your neighbors, who we strike regularly and openly. We’ve flown twice as many missions into their territory, with three times the noncombatant casualties. That gap represents our dedication to your safety and prosperity.
Our alliance is a mutual struggle, in which America lost six drones this year. Drones with futures. Whenever an improvised rocket shreds billion-dollar hardware, I meet engineers that will never reload their pride and joy again. Know that we grieve the fallen together.
We entered this year with two goals: more diversity, and fewer war crimes. I’m proud to say our pilots represent more demographics than ever. Yesterday’s strike was conducted by the first graduate of the Wakanda Initiative, a Disney-sponsored scholarship for drone pilots of color. That puts our success rate at a respectable fifty percent.
Sorry for your loss, and thank you for your cooperation. We could dwell on the civilians melted into grey sludge today, or celebrate the insurgents melted tomorrow. Life is for the living. Keep the press out of this, and enjoy life.
* * *
Excellent draft, you’re still the corps’ best ghostwriter. This just might keep things quiet until the bulldozers finish their magic. I only have a few notes.
First off, avoid saying “war crime.” No need to will anything into the conversation. The International Criminal Court has a slight bias, and rarely distinguishes between war felonies and war misdemeanors. Nothing sets them off like the w-word.
Next, double-check their leader’s title. “Prime Minister” might be right, but I think I heard “Premier” or somesuch during a strategy briefing. We don’t need a repeat of April’s U.N. fiasco. Save the gaffes for the boss.
I love the cake story, but try using local food instead. It’ll hit harder if the prime minister/premier/whatever can relate. Ask the boys in interrogation what these people ate when they had options. I’m guessing some mix of sugar and dirt.
Finally, look up good fonts for apologies. I think something casual and soft would help smooth this whole thing over. Like Arial, or whatever they wrote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in. Calibri?
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