Dear Dr. Helton,
The Department of Defense staff has reviewed your application for permission to utilize your newly-developed Time Machine (US Patent #4004-BC-10100036, applied for but not processed) in order to, as you put it, “go back and kill Hitler”. We believe this project has significant merit — in addition to the human factor you outline, it would save the United States government in general, and this department in particular, a tremendous amount in retroactive budgetary outlay, and perhaps significantly enhance our geopolitical standing from a point moving forward from 1941. The grousing of certain members of the staff (holdovers from the previous administration, for the most part) has not discouraged us from taking an active interest in your grant application. However, it is with great regret that I must inform you that we cannot approve or fund the project as it currently stands.
This ruling is due to the fact that your proposal has failed to meet several essential governmental standards and regulations, and the project (as an aside, I would suggest a slightly less blunt title than “Project Krautkiller”) is not in compliance with a number of DoD rules and guidelines concerning defense research initiatives of this kind. A review team under my supervision has carefully reviewed the proposal, and I would like to present below some of their major findings. After reading them, you may wish to rewrite your proposal and submit it again with these concerns in mind.
- First, while the inclusion with your proposal package of a number of ancient Roman coins, a lock of Jesus’ hair and an autographed copy of the Quarto edition of Shakespeare’s plays reading “To Ned, and his fantastickal lightning box, you’re aces in my boke — Will” leaves us little doubt that your machine is functionable, operable, and genuine, we still have a number of concerns about its function. You are a bit vague about whether or not it will cause catastrophic and unintended damage to the stream of space-time; it is unclear whether you will be able to return from the altered past, giving rise to concerns that the machine may fall into the wrong hands (those of Joseph Stalin, for example, or the French); you do not appear to have done due diligence regarding questions of durability and stress factors on the machine; and your use of Uranium-238 as a fuel source contravenes a number of EPA, NRC and OSHA regulations.
- Second, while we appreciate your admirable willingness to refrain from murdering a defenseless child, we have cause to question the efficacy of, as you put it, “giving that Ratzi a fighting chance” by attempting to assassinate him once he has acheived adulthood. I hardly need remind you that the adult Hitler, especially at the time at which you propose to kill him, was a well-guarded and canny public figure who was surrounded by a cadre of fanatically devoted, highly trained armed guards, and who survived at least one high-profile assassination attempt. Furthermore, while we are all impressed with your claims of keeping yourself in “top fighting trim for a theoretical physicist” (as well as the extremely revealing candid snapshot you included with your grant proposal), it seems as if challenging Adolf Hitler to a fistfight is not the most efficient approach. Even if my confidence was as robust as yours in your ability to “beat that lousy sausage-sniffer into a dead red mash”, it seems unlikely that the Führer would consent to any such bare-knuckle bout. Loath as it may be to your sense of fair play and sportsmanship, we might suggest strangling the infant Hitler in his crib, or perhaps arranging for him to be struck by a rail car as a student.
- Finally, it is much appreciated that you have included a list of alternate targets. This sort of back-up planning and failure mode evaluation analysis is highly valued in the Defense Department. However, your particular selections are somewhat confusing to us. The murder of Genghis Khan, while probably desirable from a humanitarian standpoint, is not likely to have as immediate an impact on the American Experiment; the assassination of Winston Churchill would seem to hurt us more than help us; and I am not sure who Benny Solomon is, aside from the fact that he apparently went to high school with you, but I can’t see how his death would have a similar impact on the nation at large as would Hitler’s.
To reiterate, Dr. Helton, we all greatly encourage you in this project, particularly those of us who lost family or friends during the Second World War. With a bit of revision, a greater degree of awareness of compliance issues, and a bit less reliance on phrases like “punch his stupid Hun face to pudding”, “stinking Heinie crumb-bum”, and “KA-BLAMMO!” in your grant proposal, we think you’re onto something big.
Dr. Maureen Finkel