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Feature Story October 18, 2001
By John Dolan Browse author Email
Page 3 of 5
And these hugely expensive weapons, designed to wipe nations from the map, are being sent sneaking across the landscape, begging everyone's pardon as they go, in order to detonate apologetically, hopefully without hurting anyone, on mud huts.

This is how we "send a message." We send a message, all right; as one of the few honest spooks said, "It sends a message -- a message of impotence." A nation that would rather send a $3 million cruise missile than risk the life of a few soldiers is a nation with no effectual military power at all.

Would you fear a cruise missile if you lived in Afghanistan? It's like the bumper stickers you see on old Plymouths: "Hit me, I need the money!" Please "pound" me with your expensive cruise missiles! Please make my mud hut feel important for a few days!

And the message of impotence is getting through loud and clear. Afghans took a while to get it; though brave, they're a bit behind the times. They thought that America was a big, strong nation, so they thought the American raids would dwarf the ordinary Kabul mortar-barrages. They fled the cities in millions, heading for the ancestral caves. But then they learned that this mad America was trying to attack Afghanistan without hurting anyone. Now, after days of bombardment, the Afghans have learned how very weak America is. The latest footage of life in Kabul shows people and donkeys strolling calmly, awakening to the fact that America is afraid to hurt anyone.

Astounding, really, that the Reaganites who are so bloodthirsty in hiring assassins to kill Mayan villagers should be so terrified of hurting other mud-hut people. But you do see the difference between the Guatemalan villagers the Bush clan loves to murder and the Afghans, don't you? It's simple: Afghans can fight. Republicans love killing the helpless, but will run screaming from any opponent who shows signs of fighting back. He might have a knife!

Americans have so thoroughly accepted their impotence that their newscasters now take for granted that only Bin Laden or the Taliban will use serious weaponry. What if Bin Laden's people got hold of a nuclear weapon? Dear God, they might... USE IT! What if they had biochemical weapons? They might USE THEM! What if they had a sharpened screwdriver? They might USE IT on us!

Nobody seems to have noticed that we have a near-monopoly on useable nuclear, biological, and chemical weaponry. It seems to go without saying that we don't, in reality, have any of these weapons -- because, to repeat: a weapon is what you'll use as a weapon, and we don't have the courage or the will to use ours. You know: the ones you and your loser middleclass parents have been paying for for the past half-century, while the shareholders of the Defense-contractor companies laughed all the way to the bank.

In fact, there is only one nuclear power in the world, and it is Israel. Israel has nuclear weapons and would use them without hesitation. Imagine what would happen to the demographic map of the Middle East if Bin Laden's people were dumb enough to crash a 767 into the center of Tel Aviv. The next morning there would be big, glowing craters where Damascus, Baghdad, and Riyadh used to be, and the West Bank would be a mustard-gassed wasteland. That is what it is to have nuclear and chemical weapons; and by this standard, the U.S. has no nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons at all.

Of course there are little men, little third-rate physicists on hire to the Rand Corporation, who have drawn up diagrams with big circles indicating the effect of our nuclear arsenal on every city in the world. I'm sure that somewhere in the Pentagon there's a map of what Rejkjavik would look like after a small, medium, or XL MIRV attack.

Or maybe those documents aren't there any more. Maybe they were in that wing of the Pentagon which got burned up by a low-tech weapon, a 767 in the hands of people who didn't get into a frat and don't have golden retrievers at home. I bet the Rand Corp boys didn't see that one coming -- not til the jet landed right in their offices, an unscheduled stop, a clear violation of the rules of the game. Those Rand Corp boy must be bursting with indignation about now, just like the cowboy in that Far Side cartoon, outraged by the Indians' flaming arrows, who asks his pard, "Hey! Can they DO that?"

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