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May 13, 2029
Twenty-six years after invading Iraq, the United States closed its military bases and evacuated the last American soldiers from Iraqi soil.
In an address to soldiers at Fort Bragg, President George Prescott Bush praised the U.S. military for accomplishing the mission that his uncle, former President George W. Bush, had set before them in 2003.
"They said that the Iraq War could not be won. They said that the United States was not strong enough. They didn't believe in the courage of American men and women to face down the evil that confronted us. Yes, lives have been lost. Yes, our treasury has been emptied and our economy shattered. Yes, our reputation has been forever tarnished. But today, you proved that the sacrifice was worth it. Because of you, the cowardly terrorists of Iraq will never threaten our freedom again. Thanks to you, America won."
Once the helicopters cleared Iraqi airspace, American military contractors from Cheneyburton Inc. sealed the opening to the newly completed Iraqisphere, a military strength territorial shield that envelopes the entire nation. Built from high tensile mylar with air holes in the top, the shield allows in light, oxygen, and water vapor. Scientists predict that the inhabitants can survive comfortably for hundreds of years.
At the Kuwaiti border, the shapes of people could be seen pounding on the translucent walls from inside, but they disappeared after a flash of light and a muffled explosion emanated from within the sphere. An Army spokesperson, Lieutenant Celia Ann Seid, dismissed the shapes as "a terrorist charade to manipulate world opinion." She continued, "America is safe now. We've contained the threat."
The Iraqisphere is the largest territorial shield in the world. The mylar technology was developed by Israel, which built the first large-scale territorial shield to enclose the Gaza strip. The Hamasphere is considered one of the wonders of the modern world and remains a popular destination for tourists in the Holy Land. Smaller shields enclose Palestinian enclaves throughout the West Bank, which Israelis affectionately refer to as "Bubble Land." China is also nearing completion of a territorial shield over Tibet, the so-called Lamasphere. The United Nations Security Council has debated constructing a massive shield over sub-Saharan Africa, the Afrosphere, but the plan was scuttled because of cost and environmental concerns.
In addition, the government of North Korea has vowed to build a territorial shield over its own country. The North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced last week that "the DPRK will soon achieve the pinnacle of glory. The SelfRelianceSphere will shield the motherland from wicked gangster nations that seek to steal the most blessed spirit of our people. Our Most Beloved and Dashing Leader shall guide us to triumphant prosperity." But experts doubt that North Korea has the technical capacity to build a territorial shield and note the early fortifications appear to built from translucent Legos.
In the United States, opposition to the Iraqisphere has been muted. Weary from decades of war, leaders from both parties agreed that the shield was the only way to avoid the loss of more American lives. President Bush declared May 13th to be V.I. Day, and Americans across the country took to the streets in celebration.
After the sphere was sealed, former President George W. Bush called former Vice President Dick Cheney to announce the news. Mr. Cheney, age 88, is hospitalized at an undisclosed location after complications from the transplant of an experimental artificial "stone" heart. Doctors believed that the heart, built with obsidian components, was less likely to be rejected by Cheney's body. According to a spokeperson, President Bush's message to his former deputy was succinct, "Mission accomplished."
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