Before an emergency joint session of Congress yesterday, President
Clinton announced US plans to deploy over 75,000 vowels to the war-torn
region of Bosnia. The deployment, the largest of its kind in American
history, will provide the region with the critically needed letters A,E,I,O
and U, and is hoped to render countless Bosnian names more pronounceable.
"For six years, we have stood by while names like Ygrjvslhv and
Tzlynhr and Glrm have been horribly butchered by millions around the world,"
Clinton said. "Today, the United States must finally stand up and say
'Enough.' It is time the people of Bosnia finally had some vowels in their
incomprehensible words. The US is proud to lead the crusade in this noble
The deployment, dubbed Operation Vowel Storm by the State Department,
is set for early next week, with the Adriatic port cities of Sjlbvdnzv and
Grzny slated to be the first recipients. Two C-130 transport planes, each
carrying over 500 24-count boxes of "E's," will fly from Andrews Air Force
Base across the Atlantic and airdrop the letters over the cities.
Citizens of Grzny and Sjlbvdnzv eagerly await the arrival of the vowels.
"My God, I do not think we can last another day," Trszg Grzdnjkln,
44, said. "I have six children and none of them has a name that is under-
standable to me or to anyone else. Mr. Clinton, please send my poor,
wretched family just one 'E.' Please."
Said Sjlbvdnzv resident Grg Hmphrs, 67: "With just a few key letters,
I could be George Humphries. This is my dream."
If the initial airlift is successful, Clinton said the United States
will go ahead with full-scale vowel deployment, with C-130's airdropping
thousands more letters over every area of Bosnia. Other nations are
expected to pitch in as well, including 10,000 British "A's" and 6,500
Canadian "U's." Japan, rich in A's and O's, was asked to participate, but
"With these valuable letters, the people of war-ravaged Bosnia will be able
to make some terrific new words," Clinton said. "It should be very
exciting for them, and much easier for us to read their maps."
Linguists praise the US's decision to send the vowels. For decades
they have struggled with the hard consonants and difficult pronunciation of
most Slavic words. "Vowels are crucial to construction of all language,"
Baylor University linguist Noam Frankel said. "Without them, it would be
difficult to utter a single word, much less organize a coherent sentence.
Please, just don't get me started on the moon-man languages they use in
those Eastern European countries."
The airdrop represents the largest deployment of any letter to a
foreign country since 1984. During the summer of that year, the US shipped
92,000 consonants to Ethiopia, providing cities like Ouaouoaua, Eaoiiuae,
and Aao with vital, life-giving supplies of L's, S's and T's. The
consonant-relief effort failed, however, when vast quantities of the letters
were intercepted and horded by violent, gun-toting warlords.