Ever since U.S. Marines practically were seen mugging in the window behind him while he claimed to journalists in Baghdad that Saddam's forces had routed them at the airport, not much has been heard of Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf. He's the bereted Iraqi Information Minister, also known as “Comical Ali” for his denials of coalition progress even in the face of well-documented successes by liberation forces.

BEEF was able to contract the services of embedded journalist Concoctin A. Storry. He arranged this interview with Comical Ali shortly after Baghdad was stormed.

Storry: Mr. Information Minister, it's somewhat difficult to interview you in this hunched-over position hidden in this trash barrel, but…

Comical Ali: Hold on, sir. This is Hollywood special effects by the forces of evil. This trash barrel, as you call it, is actually a big conference room with many comfortable, leather chairs and figs and fruit to eat. Trust me.

Storry: Well, okay. Wait a minute, let me move this half-eaten haunch of camel that's sticking me in the ribs. Okay. Let's get to my U.S. beef industry questions.

As you maybe know, the U.S. beef industry's self-help program, the beef checkoff, is currently awaiting a federal court decision on its constitutionality. Do you have any thoughts on its future?

Comical Ali: As you might guess, I am no expert on constitutions but I do know about constitutionals. Though, it has been days since I've had a good one without dodging bullets or having an aiming laser trained on me. You would think Geneva Conventions would allow for 15 minutes each day for such a thing.

Anyway, on your checkoff question, I can tell you that the U.S. Supreme Court will show the infidels their shoes and drive them to the swamp where they will slap their face. You can trust me on that.

Storry: So are you saying the pro-checkoff side, or the anti-checkoff side, will persevere in court?

Comical Ali: That is for others to decide. All I know is that the snake will be butchered. That is for sure. Count on it.

Storry: Uhh, okay. Regarding country-of-origin labeling (COOL): Does it hold the value for U.S. producers some say it does?

Comical Ali: I want you to trust me on this. God willing, the program will work great. I hear many people like the law, others don't. Never mind. They will see the bottoms of shoes in the swamp.

Storry: So you predict that COOL will be a boon to the U.S. beef industry?

Comical Ali: Don't you listen? I am saying the outlaws will be in the swamp, where they will wail the cries of infidels and pigs. Of that you can be sure.

Storry: Hmmm. Interesting. What about branded beef? Is it the industry's salvation?

Comical Ali: Well, I understand that the beef industry believes in brands although we do not use them here with our camels. Nor, I must strongly point out, do we use them on our prisoners. That is Hollywood fabrication by Bush and Blair. All lies by the infidels.

But if you are talking about branding food products, then I must say that I always reach in my grocery case for my favorite Kareem O'Wheat breakfast cereal. Good cereal. Yes, brands are good. Trust me.

Storry: What about irradiation? Do you see it as having a future as another tool in the U.S. food safety arsenal for ground beef?

Comical Ali: I wish you would use different phrasing than “U.S. arsenal” but I assure you I know nothing of this, nor does anyone in Iraqi government. In Iraq we have no irradiation but the outlaws Bush and Blair say we lie. I tell you it is they who are the liars and will be shown to be the faces of untruth and the devil's helpers.

Storry: All due respect, Mr. Information Minister, I am talking about food irradiation. This is where ionizing energy taken from your commonplace home electricity is used to kill pathogens in ground beef after it is packaged to ensure the ground beef the consumer takes home from the grocery story is guaranteed safe of pathogens.

Comical Ali: Oh, well, I don't know about that, but that could be a good idea. After all, everyone is interested in safe food. Right now, my main interest, however, is in eating any food safely.

But I do assure you that there are no radioisotopes in Iraq, never have been. If anyone says there is, we will show the infidels our shoes and then slap them in the face once they are in the swamp. Maybe we will brand them, too. No. Just kidding.

But, if America wants to irradiate its ground beef that is its prerogative to do so. But of this I have no knowledge.

Storry: Thank you for your time. I will now take my leave. Good luck to you.

Comical Ali: No problem. Please, on your way out, replace the lid… I mean close the door on the conference room.