“Good morning, and welcome to Katy Tur Live, which is apparently a Sunday morning show now. At least you’re not staring at Chuck Todd’s vagina-mouth. With me to discuss this week’s military entanglements with Iran is Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.”

“Hi, Katy. They get Trey out of the rigging?”

“He’s fine.”

“Good to hear. Both Italians and gingers still count as Real Americans© to the Trump administration.”


“Although, who knows what our second term will bring?”

“Early in the interview to get this crazy, but let’s just plow forward. Secretary, the White House and the President have given several conflicting accounts of the intelligence that underlaid the decision to assassinate Qasem Soleimani.”

“Used to be Soleimani. Now there’s Solei-none.”

“You told a joke.”

“We’ve been laughing about that one in my office all week. Laughter is the best medicine. Wouldn’t have helped Soleimani, though. We hit him with a half-dozen Hellfire missiles. No amount of chuckling is gonna make that better.”

“Yes, sir. President Trump on Friday tweeted out that Soleimani was planning to attack four embassies.”


“Is that true?”

“Sure. He tweeted that.”

“No, I’m not asking if it’s true that the President tweeted. I’m asking if the contents of the tweet are true. Were there imminent attacks planned on four embassies?”

“Crazier things have happened, Katy. I’d certainly believe that more than I would that he was planning eight attacks. I would only believe that half as much as the four embassy thing. Sixteen? A quarter as much. My belief is logarithmic, I guess.”

“What intelligence is the President using when he says that there were four attacks planned?”

“His own. Which is great. President Trump’s mind is like a steel trap. No! Titanium. Titanium trap.”

“But was there evidence from the intelligence community?”

“I love that phrase, ‘intelligence community.’ I always picture a whole neighborhood of folks in trenchcoats and fedoras holding newspapers with eyeholes in front of their faces.”

“Please concentrate.”

“Katy, if the President says that Soleimani was planning on attacking four embassies, then he was. Case closed.”

“Imminent attacks?”

“The imminentest. So much more imminent than anyone could imagine.”

“Within days?”

“Sure, yeah, maybe.”


“Could be weeks. Weeks is pretty imminent.”


“Months count as imminent. I would call months imminent.”

“Which is it, sir?”

“One of those! A segment of time. Not minutes. That’s absurdly soon. But, yeah: days, weeks, months. Sounds right. If I were a terrorist, then that would be my preference.”

“You’re not actually saying anything, Secretary.

“Katy, President Trump prevents somewhere between two and five 9/11’s every day.”

“Is there any evidence for that?”

“Absolutely! No 9/11’s!”

“That’s not how evidence works. Secretary, which embassies were the four attacks planned for?”

“What now?”

“Which four embassies were to be attacked?”

“Excellent question.”

“Thank you, Secretary.”

“People underestimate you, Katy.”

“Because of my looks.”

“No, because you’re a woman.”


“Have I distracted you from your line of questioning?”

“No. Which four embassies?”

“Well, uh…the one in Iraq. That’s a gimme.”

“That’s one.”


“The United States abandoned its embassy in Damascus in 2012.”

“You don’t say.”


“I was testing you to see if you knew that information. Congratulation, you passed.”

“Uh-huh. The second, third, and fourth embassies, Secretary Esper?”


“Iran was planning to attack the American Embassy in Canada?”

“Yes. Much like the Arabs used the holy day of Yom Kippur to launch a war on Israel, the Iranians were planning on taking advantage of the nation’s grief over Neil Peart’s death.”

“You leave the Professor out of this.”

“That’s why they’re terrorists, Katy! Monsters!”

“Your assertion is that Iran planned to hit the U.S. embassies in Baghdad and Ottawa. Where else?”


“Not a real place.”


“Also from a comic book.”


“Stop it. Secretary Esper, did you personally read any reports predicting attacks on our embassies?”

“Read? Who’s got time to read anymore? I’m still working on The Corrections.”

“Yes or no, sir. Did you see any evidence or are you taking the President’s word?”

“President Trump’s word is evidence!”

“Again: that is not how evidence works.”

“I don’t know what happened in your life to cause you to be so cynical, Katy, but I was raised to trust America’s Commander-In-Chief. Unless he’s black.”

“I’m ignoring that and gonna ask you one last time: did you, Mark Esper, see any official documents implicating Qasem Soleimani in imminent attacks on American embassies?”

“Define ‘official.'”

“I’m gonna take that as a ‘no.’ We’ll be back after this.”