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12 May 2008
PRAGUE, Serbia -- The fate of Europe hangs in the balance today, after the accidental discovery of a mass grave full of dessicated corpses sporting pointy helmets and monocles. Forensic anthropologists examining the scene expecting to find victims of ethnic cleansing were shocked to discover that the victims were all archdukes of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
"There were a number of clues," said EU investigator Dr. Gertrude Orlenhoffer, "For a start, there were a far greater ratio of snuff-boxes to skeletons in this grave, about 2 boxed per corpse. The usual rate is 0:1. Also there was the genetic evidence; one corpse was discovered to be related to a second one in eight different ways, including cousin, brother, father and aunt. This is unusually inbred, even for this part of Serbia."
"If one dead archduke led to the First World War, what effect could this have?" mused Austrian Foreign Minister Horst Grueber. "I'm pretty sure we're going to have to declare war on Russia. Damn, I knew we should have bought that second tank."
"History shows that one dead archduke equals forty million casualties," he said. "There are at least five dozen archdukes in that pit. We can expect, then, a minimum of two and a half billion casualties in the coming global conflict, or over one third of the human species. It is my firm hope that the entire population of the British Isles will be able to take its place amongst the heroic dead." Thus far, the British government has said that it will refrain from declaring war until there is a final tally of archdukes.
But not everything is gloom and doom. The tiny firm of Trench Shovels International has gone from facing bankruptcy to becoming the rising star of Wall Street, with stock going from $0.02 to $57.85 within minutes of Hungary's ultimatum to Turkey.
In America, the situation is less certain. President Bush has expressed cautious support for a destructive war that would wipe all traces of Western Civilization from the face of the globe, just as soon as he can get US troop reserves back up above the two hundred mark.
Republican candidate John McCain has expressed unqualified support for the destruction of the enemy "whoever or whatever it may be. No, seriously, who are we fighting? Greece? Why Greece? Oh, well, Greece then.". Hillary Clinton has declared her support for the conflict, quickly adding "Until such time as it may become unpopular" before McCain could declare "no backsies". Barack Obama made his position clear in a three hour speech, and if you can be bothered listening to it, be our guest.
Elsewhere, it is becoming clear that it might not be possible to achieve the expected level of casualties with only original WWI participants, and so several other nations have volunteered to participate. North Korea has offered an alliance with "whoever is responsible for brave Revolutionary act of assassinating decadent running-dog archdukes" and Chile has sent a fleet to blockade the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria. "No reason," said Chilean President Michelle Bachelet Jeria, "We just always hated those fuckers."
Military experts agree that the war is likely to go on for a minimum of two centuries, and leave fifty to seventy racist but charismatic Austrian corporals bitter and disillusioned and willing to bring the world to the brink of war over their disapproval of Versailles Treaties II - LVII.
- Vincent Yafnaro "There's a hole full of archdukes, dear Liza, dear Liza.". Illawara Mercury, May 12, 2008