Jim Austin's Vermonter at Large
Jim Austin
Jim Austin
is a freelance writer from Putney, Vermont.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 03.10.03


Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?

Now that our President has lined us up against most of the civilized world he will have to manufacture a compelling reason to attack Iraq. Will troops discover a hidden cache of bio-weaponry? Drums full of chemicals? A tape of conversations with Osama?

As a pretext to invading Czechoslovakia, Hitler claimed that citizens of German extraction were being abused. Could Bush claim that Hussein was doing the same? Or maybe the administration will dispense with the sleight of hand and just march on Iraq. No reasons, no Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, just naked aggression.

G. Parrish, writing out of Seattle, was the first to inform us of the military's "Shock and Awe" bombing campaign planned for the first days of the war. The plan is to drop as many bombs on Baghdad in the first days of the war as were dropped in the entire first Gulf War campaign. Included in this plan is a new bomb described as the "Mother of All Bombs," a name that mocks Hussein's ridiculously comic-book parlance.

This is basically an atomic bomb without the radiation (mushroom cloud included, apparently.) We keep hearing this imminent action referred to as a "war."

It is not a war. It is a massacre. This is ten Rottweilers and one rat in a pit. We citizens will not only have to bear the guilt for the thousands of civilians murdered, we will have to bear the consequences as well.

Look forward to finding out how the Israelis live. Every bus, every subway, sports event, concert or town meeting will become a potential target of terrorism. And while the threat of terrorism rises, the administration is cutting the budget for homeland security. Customs inspectors are being laid off as are FBI agents, according to Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut.

In the process of planning our American massacre of Iraqi civilians we are ignoring a real threat to world security.

North Korea is second only to the United States as a global destabilizing entity. If we refuse to deal with the powder keg in North Korea they will, in very short order, have several more atomic weapons. South Korea and Japan are then at the mercy of a lunatic with his finger poised over the button.

What more does Kim Jong Il have to do to get our attention? He has violated the treaty prohibiting nuclear arms, he is testing missiles, he has ordered his fighter aircraft to buzz our spy planes in international air space, and he is manufacturing more nuclear weapons. Not incidental to all that, he is nuttier than a life member of the National Rifle Association.

Why are we refusing to engage him in talks? This is not a rhetorical question -- I really want to know. Colin Powell says that they will not come to the table and reward North Korea for breaking their non-proliferation agreement. This is the diplomatic equivalent of holding your breath 'till your opponent gives in. North Korea is manufacturing nuclear materials while we hold our breath. I'm turning blue, how about you?

The Administration of this country has gone berserk. The ideologues that are completely out of touch with reality -- and the American people -- have taken over our government. When they are through murdering half of Iraq, hundreds of our own soldiers, and installing the government of their choice, Americans will become worldwide pariahs. Travel overseas will be a nightmare. Look for sales of Canadian flag-embossed apparel to skyrocket.

Colin Powell has been lost to the warmongers. He was the one flickering light of reason among the Attilas in the Administration. He spoke recently and said that: "I have seen the horrors of war. I have been where the dying is done." He sells out his integrity by uttering these phrases in defense of the Administration's savagery.

This heinous behavior will color the perceptions of America for decades. "Shock and Awe" is indeed an appropriate title for this dark chapter in our history.