WAR BETWEEN IRELAND AND FRANCE AVERTED AP WIRE - 10/12/04 Jacques Chirac, The French Prime Minister, was sitting in his office wondering what kind of mischief he could perpetrate against the United States when his telephone rang. "Hallo, Mr. Chirac!", a heavily accented voice said. "This is Paddy down at the Harp Pub in County Sligo, Ireland. I am ringing to inform you that we are officially declaring war on you!" "Well, Paddy," Chirac replied, "This is indeed important news! How big is your army?" "Right now," said Paddy, after a moment's calculation, "there is myself, me cousin Sean, me next door neighbor Seamus, and the entire dart team from the pub. That makes eight!" Chirac paused. "I must tell you, Paddy, that I have one hundred thousand men in my army waiting to move on my command." "Begorra!!" said Paddy. "I'll have to ring you back!" Sure enough, the next day, Paddy called again. "Mr. Chirac, the war is still on. We have managed to get us some infantry equipment!" "And what equipment would that be, Paddy?" Chirac asked. "Well, we have two combines, a bulldozer, and Murphy's farm tractor." Chirac sighed, amused. "I must tell you, Paddy, that I have 6,000 tanks and 5,000 armored personnel carriers. Also, I've increased my army to one hundred fifty thousand since we last spoke." "Saints preserve us!" said Paddy. "I'll have to get back to you." Sure enough, Paddy rang again the next day. "Mr. Chirac, the war is still on! We have managed to get ourselves airborne! We've modified Jackie McLaughlin's ultra-light with a couple of shotguns in the cockpit, and four boys from the Shamrock Pub have joined us as well!" Chirac was silent for a minute and then cleared his throat. "I must tell you, Paddy, that I have 100 bombers and 200 fighter planes. My military complex is surrounded by laser-guided, surface-to-air missile sites. And since we last spoke, I've increased my army to two hundred thousand!" "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!", said Paddy, "I'll have to ring you back." Sure enough, Paddy called again the next day. "Top o' the mornin', Mr. Chirac! I am sorry to tell you that we have had to call off the war." "I'm sorry to hear that," said Chirac. "Why the sudden change of heart?" "Well," said Paddy, "we've all had a long chat over a bunch of pints, and decided there's no foo-kin way we can feed two hundred thousand prisoners."