"Mr. Bob Hope? Secretary of State Haig is calling you."

"Hi, Al, this is Bob."

"Bob, sorry to bother you, but I was wondering if you would be willing to go to El Salvador and entertain our boys for Christmas?"

"I didn't know we had any boys in El Salvador, Al."

"We're working on it now. We've sent down about 100 advisers, but by Christmas, you never can tell how many GIs will be there. If we were sure you'd do the Christmas show we wouldn't hestiate to send in as many military people as were needed. What's a war without Bob Hope?"

"Gosh, Al, you know how much I enjoy entertaining GIs, but I was told after Vietnam, we weren't going to get into anymore of these kinds of adventures."

"Bob, this is big. I can't go into all the details, but the Soviets and the Cubans are supplying Salvadoran guerrillas with weapons."

"Soviet weapons?"

"No, Bob, American weapons that were captured in Vietnam. We have to take a hard line or all of Central America could go communist. Now the president doesn't want our advisers to do any fighting. All they're going down there for is to make sure the El Salvador Army can pacify the countryside."

"Gee, Al, I don't have any El Salvador jokes. I don't even know where it is."

"We'll get you a lot of funny material on the place. The terrain is similar to Vietnam and you could rework the stuff you used there. We'll provide you with a plane and heavy security when you go out in the boondocks where our Special Forces will be stationed."

"Are you planning on sending in Special Forces?"

"They're in our contingency plans. We're going to need American troops to protect our Air Force."

"Then you're going to have American airmen there as well?"

"We have to, to interdict the supply lines coming in from Nicaragua. If they don't stop supplying the rebels we may have to bomb Managua."

"It does sound big, Al. So how many GIs do you think I'll be entertaining?"

"We don't have the numbers yet, but if the guerrillas make any headway, I think we're talking about an awful lot of homesick kids. We're hoping to get Miss America to go with you. It'll be like old times."

"How come you're calling so early?"

"The National Security Council met yesterday with the president, and he immediately asked, if we got involved there, would you be going the Christmas show? Ronnie said he wasn't sending American kids to fight somebody else's war unless Bob Hope were a part of it. If you say you'll do it, I'm sure he'll give us the green light."

"Well, as long as you put it that way I'll have to say 'Yes.'"

"I can't tell you how much this means to me, Bob. With your participation, I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel."

"No sweat, Al. As soon as you get all your military advisers in place, I'll get my writers working on El Salvador jokes right away."