You really have to know your stuff to work in the mail room at the Pentagon these days.

"Sarge, where do these boxes of anti-aircraft missiles go?"

"Let's see. I think They're supposed to be sent to Jordan. No, wait a minute . . . the anti-aircraft missiles go to Saudi Arabia, the anti-tank missiles go to Jordan. Actually, it doesn't make any difference, because they're probably all being shipped to Iraq anyway."

"Why don't we send them directly to Iraq and save the postage?"

"Because we're not supposed to send anything to Iraq while they're at war with Iran."

"There's a box of aviation spare parts over here for Iran. Should we ship them off to Tehran?"

"No. Don't send anything to Iran until they release the hostages. Then we'll mail all the boxes over there so they can fight their war against Iraq." w

"How come we're shipping stuff to both Iraq and Iran to fight each other?"

"We're not shipping anything to Iraq or Iran. We're shipping it to Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and they're shipping it to Iraq. When we get our hostages back from Iran, we have to give the Iranians the stuff they ordered before they took them."

"What about these large crates of 155-millimeter guns?"

"They go to Israel to defend themselves against Jordan -- though don't be surprised if they wind up in Iran. The skinny is that Israel is helping Iran because Saudi Arabia is helping Iraq."

"I gotcha. Sarge, are you sure these laser-guided bazookas go to Egypt?"

"If it says so on the box, that's where they go. They're supposed to shoot down Libyan airplanes."

"I don't see anything here for Libya."

"They're off our list because they're buying all their stuff from France and the Soviet Union. Also, don't send anything to Syria. They just made a friendship treaty with the Russians."

"Is it okay to ship these flame throwers to Oman?"

"Let me check. Yeah, Oman is okay. But don't send them to Yemen by mistake."

"I'm not a dummy, Sarge."

"Give me a hand with these F-4 fighter planes. We have to airmail them to Amman."

"What's the big rush?"

"Hussein wants them in case he's attacked by Damascus."

"What's he giving all his stuff to, Iraq for, if he's afraid of being invaded by the Syrians?"

"Because he's being supported by Saudi Arabia, and they hate the Iranians."

"It makes sense when you explain it."

"Okay, now these crates of F-5s go to Pakistan, at the same time we mail this plutonium to India."

"Slow down. I've only got two hands, Sarge."

"I know, but we don't want Pakistant to get nervous about their defenses and attack Kashmir."

"We could use another guy in this mail room -- my back is killing me. Where do these radar-guided bombs go?"

"Send them to Kuwait, or they'll be sitting around here for days."

"We're almost cleaned up, Sarge. All we have left are these torpedo boats."

"Are they tagged?"

"Yeah. They say, 'Ship to U.S. Navy, care of the Straits of Hormuz.'"

"There must be some mistake. We wouldn't be sending any equipment to our own Navy. Hold off on that one until I check with the brass upstairs."