TIMBUKTU, Mali — As African and French forces fight al-Qaeda in and around Timbuktu, Mali, the U.S has refused to lend support to a “place that doesn’t even exist.” Secretary of State, John Kerry, let out a mild chuckle when asked if American forces would aid their French counterparts in the conflict in and around Timbucktu. “Sure, we’ll help – right after we find the lost Island of Atlantic,” the new Secretary noted sarcastically.
The French military in recent days has sent over pictures of the Malian city as well as artifacts from its illustrious past in an effort to prove that the city does indeed exist, and is not merely a mythical place found only in American folklore. The French gesture provoked the Department of Defense to declare, through its spokesperson, “It is amazing how sophisticated Tolkien fan fiction has become. Other questions?”
And earlier this week, when President Barack Obama was told that American troops were needed to help reclaim Timbuktu from terrorists, he seemed to add insult to injury by stating, “What’s next? Sending an army to liberate Middle Earth? Sorry, folks, but we don’t get involved in imaginary conflicts.”
American ignorance of the once thriving metropolis has been a bitter bill for many to swallow. The African Union and France even flew a high-level coterie of American diplomats over the city of 54,000 only to receive comments about how “realistic the Peter Jackson set looks.” Or, as one Senator put it, referring to old American campaign rhyme, “Timbuktu and Tippecanoe – what’s new?” While the flyovers have not yet provoked American military involvement, they have raised American anticipation for the next film installment of the “Hobbit.”
French President François Hollande remains frustrated by the American position yet has vocalized herdespite vocalizing his understanding. “We know that it is American policy to only engage in wars with defined goals and defined battlefields,” Hollande said. “If they won’t join us in Mali, then we wish them the best of luck in winning their imaginary ‘war on drugs,’ ‘war on poverty,’ and ‘war in Iraq.’ ”