Responding To Crisis In Haiti, Dyslexic Peacekeeping Unit Arrives In Tahiti
In response to an outbreak of looting and violence spreading throughout Haiti as rebel forces battle for control of Haiti's capital city of Port-au-Prince, a unit of dyslexic U.S. peacekeeping troops arrived in Papeete, Tahiti, on Saturday, determined to restore order to the Tahitian capital.
While Port-au-Prince has been in a state of near-anarchy following President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's forced departure last week, the group of dyslexics encountered little or no resistance as they swept through the streets of Papeete, nearly 6000 miles from the Haitian capital.
"To be honest, we're a little confused," said Col. William Barton, who heads up the 20-man unit of dyslexia sufferers. "We read in the paper every day about the problems in Tahiti, but we never see any of it ourselves. I mean, looting, shootings, political upheaval...that stuff is pretty hard to miss."
Barton added, "It's almost like they're talking about a different place altogether."
Reportedly adding to the confusion is the ineptitude of the higher-ranking officers, from whom the unit takes their orders.
"In all of the orders we've received, they refer to 'the Tahitian President,' but there is no Tahitian President," said a member of the unit who asked to remain unidentified. "And even if they meant the President of French Polynesia, that's Gaston Flosse, not this Aristitude guy."
The soldier then added, "You would just think that the higher-ups would have a little better idea of what was going on around here."
Despite finding no evidence of any kind of rebellion, the unit still had orders to patrol the streets Sunday, which they did, wearing black ski masks and carrying M-16 rifles. Though the unit did not encounter any heavy resistance, their efforts were not in vain, as they stumbled upon a looting in progress at a small convenience store just four hours into their patrol.
"It was a smash-and-grab style looting involving three young rebel recruits," lifelong dyslexic Barton reported. "Well, they didn't necessarily smash anything, but they sure did grab."
Though Barton estimated the rebels' ages to be between 10 and 12, he asserted, "Sometimes those are the most dangerous ones.”
Some of the items reportedly looted from the store were a package of Planter's honey-roasted peanuts, a vanilla-scented hanging air freshener, and a pencil bearing the flag of Tahiti.
According to Cpl. Jesse Harris, who was diagnosed with dyslexia just last year, he and his fellow patrolmen happened upon the scene of the looting as the rebels were already fleeing.
"When we're on patrol, we always have our M-16s cocked and ready, so we just opened fire on them,” said Harris. "It was kind of exciting because we thought we were finally getting in on some of the action we had been reading about in the papers. I guess we didn't hit any of them, but one of the rebels fell to the ground. I think he just got scared because he realized that the rebellion would be put down quickly and he decided to join the winning side."
Though they were able to take only one of the rebels into custody, the rebel's mom told the soldiers where they could find the others who got away. She also reported that their mothers would be "very disappointed" in them.
Pundits are calling this the biggest dyslexia-related misunderstanding since 2002, when Brian Haverty of Pensacola, FL reluctantly cancelled a trip to Italy after misreading an article about spaghetti in Newsweek.