Dear Future,

I'm sorry we abandoned you. If it helps, it wasn't an easy decision for us; we wanted to be a part of you, we really did. But sometimes, you know, things happen. Life gets in the way. All I can ask is that you forgive us and allow us to be part of you now, at least in some small part.

There was that Iraq thing, see; we kind of wanted the oil. We love the oil. It's warm and viscous and gives us life and ... Anyway, as it happened, we would do anything to get some of our very own. We'd even decided to plough through a giant, undisturbed wildlife refuge, because it was that important; oil didn't just power our cars, but our computers were made out of it, our clothes, our furniture - even the make-up we slapped on our faces to make us forget we were obese and greedy. Everything we used was made out of the decomposed remains of ancient creatures, and we were willing to kill to get more.

It was more than that, though. We could have saved the situation by giving the world control in the form of the United Nations, which was a body set up to avoid another World War. The entire purpose of the U.N. was peace, but as it turned out we couldn't leave it in their hands. International law dictated that as we'd won the war, we got to pick who got the contracts in the newly "liberated" country; if we handed over control to someone else, those contracts would be void and they'd be able to assign new ones. Halliburton and Bechtel had kind of provided the incentive to fight the war to begin with, so it seemed only fair to give them billions of dollars in pillaging rights. Pirates' honour, you know.

Okay, so the problem was that the Israelis were being kind of fascist elsewhere in the Middle East. Their people were being blown up by suicide bombers and other terrorist attackers, so it was kind of understandable, but they decided they'd go a step or two further than necessary and built a giant wall and a couple of camps. They also had a secret nuclear weapons programme and a right-wing, reactionary government who believed they had a religious prerogative to wipe the area clean of Arab Palestinians.

In fact it turned out that the Israelis, the U.S. and British governments had a common purpose in the Middle East, and they were keeping it quiet, so we're very sorry that we didn't notice, but who can blame us? It turns out that while the Israelis believed it was their Promised Land, the U.S. and British leaders believed in the Rapture. When Israel was returned to the Jews, they believed that Jesus Christ would return to Earth and bring about the End Times, slaughtering everyone who didn't convert to Christianity. Future, believe me: if we'd known they believed in this, we probably wouldn't have elected them. Well, aside from the millions upon millions of Americans who share this belief, and the ones who always vote Republican no matter what the candidates stand for. And the ones who didn't want to vote in a Clinton crony because they thought marital infidelity somehow had something to do with running the country.

They'd killed the press. The First Amendment was dead; there were strict limits to freedom. Even voting itself was compromised; the Republicans were supported by a company called Diebold, who built computerised voting machines whose workings were secret and which didn't leave any kind of verifiable paper trail. Everyone had to trust that they worked, and the CEO had already said he'd deliver the election for Bush. They were going to be rolled out all over the United States in time for the November election. Members of the Future, you see how our hands were tied.

Having won by a landslide, Bush quietly brought back the military draft at the end of 2004, and the British, always being eager to please, introduced it in 2005 along with an all-encompassing tracking system that allowed authorities to identify any person's whereabouts to a high degree of accuracy, using a combination of biometric ID cards and tiny RFID radio transmitters. The War Against Terror ramped up shortly afterwards, mostly focused on the Middle Eastern countries which proved a threat to Israeli and hardcore Christian concerns. Countries such as Pakistan, which had been quietly selling arms to them, became involved, and it wasn't long before we came close to another World War after all. The United Nations were worried, they were angry, but they couldn't do anything. All they had the power to do was argue over and over again, as their debating chambers became increasingly split; eventually its role was reduced, thanks to the gradual undermining process the United States and Britain and embarked upon years before. The European Union, strategically bogged down with troubles in the newer Eastern European member states Britain had pushed so hard for, was powerless before it started.

We know what we've left you with. The national wildlife reserves have been raped, the oil has been depleted, there's a higher level of background radiation than ever before because of the depleted uranium and localised atomic bombs that were used. Your young men are scarred for life, your babies are disabled, your resources are depleted and the world is in the control of a bunch of hardcore fundamentalists of assorted religions who value their scriptures above the human rights of their people.

You have to understand, Future, it's not our fault; it's our leaders. We couldn't have done anything to stop this, and we didn't do anything wrong: we were just sitting around and watching TV. I hope someday you'll reconcile yourselves with us, and realise that we all have to move on together. Progress is the best way forward.

With all our love,

The Past.