Polly Pocket to Barbie, circa 1991

Next time let's have a picnic.

Hi Barbie,

How are you? I hope you’re feeling alright this morning.

I just wanted to apologize again for that little (pardon the pun) complication at dinner last night. Honestly, when I invited you over for dinner, I just wanted to welcome you to the neighborhood. It did not occur to me that you would have any trouble fitting through the door.

I know you were embarrassed when you could barely fit one foot inside of my adorably small house, but please don’t say you’re not thin enough. You are so thin and beautiful.

Honestly, I wish I was that tall!

And don’t worry about the chair you broke with your toe. You shouldn’t feel like some kind of insanely large and clumsy giant just because everyone else in the neighborhood is Pocket™-sized. I’m sure among dolls of your own size, you look completely normal.

Anyway, I was feeling bad, so I’m leaving dinner on your doorstep (I’m too short to ring the doorbell on your dreamhouse–don’t I feel silly!).  I hope you enjoy this lasagna I baked. I used the largest pan I had, but it will probably still seem like just a snack to your insatiable appetite.

Your petite friend,


p.s. I used low-fat cheese.


And so, with this letter in hand, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, kicking off the first Gulf War.

Amateur letter-enthusiasts are likely already familiar with this now-famous intercepted cable, so perhaps it’s retreading old ground for many readers. However, for the few uninitiated, I will try to outline the events leading up to the famous misunderstanding-that-launched-a-thousand-stinger-missiles. This letter was, unsurprisingly, written by a young girl after a particularly disastrous tea-party game between the aforementioned Barbie and Polly Pocket, as well as one Cabbage Patch Kid and one of the girl’s brother’s Ninja Turtles action figures, believed to be Donatello (the identity of the fourth party was never revealed). After a short time, she realized that the size differences would be too much to overcome, and canceled the party. Feeling bad, she wrote this letter to make her Barbie a little feel better.

The girl, however, was actually the granddaughter of Representative Cass Ballenger of North Carolina, who stumbled upon the letter in the bathroom mixed in with some of his other work. When he saw the signature “Polly,” he could only assume it was a letter from one of the CIA’s undercover agents in the Gulf, and immediately faxed a copy to the CIA and the Joint Chiefs. Quickly, word spread amongst intelligence agencies that a strike on Iraq had been authorized based on this evidence. President Bush, however, urged caution. Urging the CIA to review the evidence, he said that he would not authorize any use of force without provocation.

As agents scrambled to assemble all the information they could, copies of the letter were carelessly passed around. One field agent left an copy in a coffee shop in Damascus, where it was discovered by Russian intelligence. Looking to score points against their old enemies in the West, they passed the apparently red-hot information to the Iraqis. With no context for either the characters mentioned, Saddam Hussein immediately concluded that the message was a coded transmission indicating that the US would not intervene in a war with Kuwait. Buoyed by this interpretation, he overruled his chief advisers and ordered the assault to begin. The rest is history.

In an unrelated note, the girl who actually wrote the letter harbored great resentment towards Barbie for breaking that chair. She made sure Polly Pocket had her revenge when she had the tiny toy “give Barbie a haircut,” with predictable results.


1 Comment

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One response to “Polly Pocket to Barbie, circa 1991

  1. Haha “I’m sure among dolls of your own size, you look completely normal.”

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