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BAGHDAD, IRAQ – Legislators from the Iraqi Government and officials at the Pentagon confirmed today that all US military veterans that participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom would be eligible to receive a new decoration on behalf of the grateful Iraqi people: the Kurdish-Iraqi-Levantine Liberation Medal of Excellence.

“We’ve been debating the merits of a liberation medal ever since 2003,” said acting Iraqi Minister of Defense Saadoun al-Dulaymi, “but somehow it never made the top of our priority list until now.”

Showing reporters the original document from 2003 authorizing a liberation medal, al-Dulaymi made a half-hearted effort to cover up the dozen bullet holes and large piece of shrapnel embedded in the paper.

When asked if the dark red stain along the bottom of the document was blood, al-Dulaymi shrugged and said, “Probably.”

The medal features a series of concentric circles representing the eight years of liberation, occupation, advisory, offensive, consolidation, transition, counteroffensive, reconsolidation, readvisory, and fuck-it-it’s-good-enough periods by the US military in Iraq.

According to al-Dulaymi, the Iraqi government will initially mint 3,142 medals, one for every day the American military was in Iraq following its official liberation on May 1, 2003, and present them to a select special group of Americans at a public rally in Baghdad.

To cut down on costs, the medals will be made out of leftover piping from Fallujah’s incomplete sewer system, and produced in neighboring Iran.

Iraqi lawmaker and former insurgent leader Muqtada al-Sadr praised the United States for its role in removing Saddam Hussein, but expressed disappointment that the award ceremony would initially only be attended by American servicemembers.

“What about the British or the members of contractor groups like Blackwater who all played such an important role in Iraq’s recent history? We should be able to give them our personal message of thanks, too!”

Even more importantly, Al-Sadr noted that the medal makes no mention of the countless Iraqis who worked for the United States.

He recently introduced a bill in the Iraqi parliament to give a full pension and medical benefits to all Iraqis who served as American intelligence sources as soon as the US government provides Iraq with their names.

Other Iraqis are even more excited.

“I am very happy to see our American friends again,” said Mohammed Abdullah, showing off scars he received during his three months in Abu Ghraib prison.

Abdullah, who later found work as an interpreter for the US Army, spoke to reporters from neighboring Jordan where he now lives as a refugee.

“I am only disappointed that my parents, six brothers, and two sisters will not be here to see them as well, may they all rest in peace.”

Currently the Iraqi parliament is debating whether to hold the initial awards ceremony in Fallujah or Sadr City, the two municipalities which described themselves as “most touched” by the American military.

Competition between the two areas has been extremely fierce, with over 500 Iraqis killed in just the initial voting period.

Following the ceremony, entertainment will be provided by the magic of Dawud Muhammad.