Bush said Tuesday that the Iraqis are refuting the pessimists and implied
that things are improving in that country.
What would America look like if it were in Iraq's current situation? The population
of the U.S. is over 11 times that of Iraq, so a lot of statistics would have
to be multiplied by that number.
Thus, violence killed 300 Iraqis last week, the equivalent proportionately
of 3,300 Americans. What if 3,300 Americans had died in car bombings, grenade
and rocket attacks, machine gun spray, and aerial bombardment in the last week?
That is a number greater than the deaths on Sept. 11, and if America were Iraq,
it would be an ongoing, weekly or monthly toll.
And what if those deaths occurred all over the country, including in the capital
of Washington, D.C., but mainly above the Mason-Dixon line, in Boston, Minneapolis,
Salt Lake City, and San Francisco?
What if the grounds of the White House and the government buildings near the
Mall were constantly taking mortar fire? What if almost nobody in the State
Department at Foggy Bottom, the White House, or the Pentagon dared venture out
of their buildings, and considered it dangerous to go over to Crystal City or
What if all the reporters for all the major television and print media were
trapped in five-star hotels in Washington, D.C., and New York, unable to move
more than a few blocks safely, and dependent on stringers to know what was happening
in Oklahoma City and St. Louis? What if the only time they ventured into the
Midwest was if they could be embedded in Army or National Guard units?
There are estimated to be some 25,000 guerrillas in Iraq engaged in concerted
acts of violence. What if there were private armies totaling 275,000 men, armed
with machine guns, assault rifles (legal again!), rocket-propelled grenades,
and mortar launchers, hiding out in dangerous urban areas of cities all over
the country? What if they completely controlled Seattle, Portland, San Francisco,
Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Denver and Omaha, such that local police and federal
troops could not go into those cities?
What if, during the past year, the secretary of state (Aqilah Hashemi), the
president (Izzedine Salim), and the attorney general (Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim)
had all been assassinated?
What if all the cities in the U.S. were wracked by a crime wave, with thousands
of murders, kidnappings, burglaries, and carjackings in every major city every
What if the Air Force routinely (I mean daily or weekly) bombed Billings, Mont.,
Flint, Mich., Watts in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Anacostia in Washington, D.C.,
and other urban areas, attempting to target "safe houses" of "criminal
gangs," but inevitably killing a lot of children and little old ladies?
What if, from time to time, the U.S. Army besieged Virginia Beach, killing
hundreds of armed members of the Christian Soldiers? What if entire platoons
of the Christian Soldiers militia holed up in Arlington National Cemetery, and
were bombarded by U.S. Air Force warplanes daily, destroying thousands of graves
and even pulverizing the Vietnam Memorial over on the Mall? What if the National
Council of Churches had to call for a popular march of thousands of believers
to converge on the National Cathedral to stop the U.S. Army from demolishing
it to get at a rogue band of the Timothy McVeigh Memorial Brigades?
What if there were virtually no commercial air traffic in the country? What
if many roads were highly dangerous, especially Interstate 95 from Richmond
to Washington, D.C., and I-95 and I-91 up to Boston? If you got on I-95 anywhere
along that over 500-mile stretch, you would risk being carjacked, kidnapped,
or having your car sprayed with machine gun fire.
What if no one had electricity for much more than 10 hours a day, and often
less? What if it went off at unpredictable times, causing factories to grind
to a halt and air conditioning to fail in the middle of the summer in Houston
and Miami? What if the Alaska pipeline were bombed and disabled at least monthly?
What if unemployment hovered around 40%?
What if veterans of militia actions at Ruby Ridge and the Oklahoma City bombing
were brought in to run the government on the theory that you need a tough guy
in these times of crisis?
What if municipal elections were canceled and cliques close to the new "president"
quietly installed in the statehouses as "governors"? What if several
of these governors (especially of Montana and Wyoming) were assassinated soon
after taking office or resigned when their children were taken hostage by guerrillas?
What if the leader of the European Union maintained that the citizens of the
United States are, under these conditions, refuting pessimism and that freedom
and democracy are just around the corner?