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Jewish World Review Feb. 19, 2003 / 17 Adar I, 5763

Roger Simon

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Consumer Reports

The terrorists struck! | My hand shook as I dialed the number for the Department of Homeland Defense.

I never thought it would happen. I was the one who made fun of my friends when they rushed out last weekend to buy duct tape.

When you wrap yourself in the tape, be sure to leave some air holes! I told them. My friends did not laugh. Instead, they ran to the grocery stores and emptied the shelves. Those items with long shelf lives -- Twinkies baked at the time of the pharaohs are still perfectly good today -- were the first to go.

"The nation is at Code Orange!" one friend yelled at me. "Does that mean nothing to you?"

What code had we been at? I asked.

"Code Yellow," my friend said.

And what does that mean?

"Nobody knows exactly, but it seems to mean that an attack can come at any time," my friend replied.

And what is Code Orange?

"Nobody knows exactly, but it seems to mean that an attack can come at any time," my friend replied.

And what is the highest color of all?

"Code Red," my friend said.

And it means?

"It means, 'If you hear it's Code Red, it's already too late,'" he replied.

And at what point are we supposed to run out and buy all food and water on the shelves so nobody else can get food and water? I asked.

"Oh, you can do that any time," he said. "Hoarding is very American."

So I did not panic. I did not hoard.

True, I went out and rented the first three seasons of "The Sopranos" on DVD, just in case I had to stay home for a month, but I didn't really expect that to happen.

And then I awoke on Sunday morning and faced the grim reality: The terrorists had struck.

Nothing moved on the streets. Not a car, not a person, not even a dog or cat. The entire world was silent.

As I reached for the phone to call Homeland Defense to report the attack, I was fearful I might be the last person alive.

So I felt no small amount of relief when somebody answered on the other end.

"Can you describe the attack?" the Homeland Defense guy asked.

Tiny white flakes are falling from the sky by the millions, I said, my voice shaking. They are quite cold, but when you take them inside to examine them, they melt! Yet, outside, they stick together in great, impassable heaps. I never realized that Iraq had such technology!

"Sir," the Homeland Defense guy said, "I think you are experiencing snow."

Impossible! I said. This is everything the terrorists wanted: the complete paralysis of the Eastern Time Zone of the United States! No planes, trains, buses or cars are moving! People are not only afraid to leave their homes, they are unable to leave their homes! This is the very definition of terrorism! If it was not Iraq, it must be Al Qaeda.

"Actually, we are treating it as an act of G-d," the man at Homeland Defense told me.

Blasphemy! I said. G-d is on our side!

The Homeland Defense guy said he would file a report, but he didn't think there was much he could do. "Every now and then, these things happen," he said. "We call them blizzards."

You should have issued a Code White alert! I said to him. We must prepare to meet our enemies!

He hung up.

But let me assure the rest of you that as soon as the East Coast digs out from this latest attack, we will take the offensive.

I have studied the problem and have prepared a list of our most dangerous foes.

At the top of the list, right after snow, we face an enemy nation that is smug and dangerous, arrogant and insidious, sneering and contemptible.

But we will engaged it and destroy it.

And as soon as we're done with France, Iraq better watch out.

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© 2002, Creators Syndicate