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Jewish World Review March 31, 2003 / 27 Adar II, 5763

Tom Purcell

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Consumer Reports

Dolphins, PETA and the USA | The Navy has unleashed its secret weapon in the war in Iraq - the Atlantic bottle-nosed dolphin. And the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sure aren't happy about it.

You see, dolphins are clever animals. And because they have sonar, they're very effective at detecting the land mines the Iraqi's are slipping into the Persian Gulf shipping lanes.

Well, no sooner did this story break than the PETA folks had their flippers in a twist. "Our troops deserve the best defense possible, but PETA opposes the use of dolphins, sea lions, or any other marine mammals," it was quoted on one Web site.

Well, no shock there. A few years ago when beavers had dammed up the Tidal Basin in Washington -turning the place into more of a tidal wave -PETA argued that the beavers be left alone.

"The (dolphin) project is cruel and cannot provide a reliable defense or surveillance for our troops," PETA said

Well, that's jumping to conclusions. Dolphins can swim fast, dive deep and don't have to worry about depth, temperature or the other things less reliable human divers are faced with.

"The Navy claims they are not putting these animals in harm's way, but they've removed these animals from their homes (and) relocated them to foreign waters in the Persian Gulf "

War certainly is hell. I only hope and pray the dolphins are allowed to use some kind of communication vehicles to swap sonar with their families back home.

" and (the Navy is) forcing them to not only inspect the waters, but to actually swim up to potential terrorists under the water, clamp a cuff on their leg, and deploy a floating marker. How can anyone say these animals are not being put in harm's way?"

It's true. There are no guarantees in war. It is likely that Hussein has trained his own dolphin loyalists (the fedadolphines?) who are at this moment terrorizing the other fish by threatening to break their fins.

"These are living beings with minds of their own, and though they are incredibly intelligent, they have no idea that lives will be lost if they fail to perform tasks properly," said PETA.

God forbid that our highly trained dolphins would have the same burden that our 300,000 other fighting men and women are faced with.

I know most agree that our PETA folks are awfully silly to be so worried about dolphins when the lives of so many people are at stake. Their silliness is telling about who we are and what this war is partly about.

But it's also terrific because it reflects the health of our country. And it is terrific that so many anti-war protesters are decrying the pain and suffering of war. It is true that logical arguments can be made both for and against this war, but most protesters aren't making them. They're simply against pain and suffering, forgetting that both are usually the price that is paid to acquire freedom and long-term peace in the first place.

And so much do we enjoy freedom and peace within America - so free are we to value life - that we're even worried about a couple of dolphins.

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03/21/03: Traffic Wars
03/14/03: Ronald Reagan's St. Patrick's Day
03/03/03: My Family's Tragic Secret: We're French
02/21/03: I'm worried about my people
02/14/03: George Washington Makeover
02/07/03: Making quiet sacrifices
01/24/03: "Gimme the, goo-goo, gah-gah, remote!"
01/21/03: "Misunderestimated"
01/10/03: Republican night life
01/06/03: Exercise pills
12/31/02: They provide unending joy to those who are wise enough to let them in
12/13/02: Hurried Man Syndrome
12/06/02: In DC, snowstorms have important ramifications --- or, at least, they should
11/26/02: Police advertising
11/15/02: An Interview with Osama
11/01/02: How to vote in America
10/25/02: On edge in Washington, D.C
10/11/02: Giving new meaning to "selling your body"
10/04/02: Bush's Angels
09/27/02: Conservatives, Liberals, Dick Armey and Barry Manilow
09/20/02: Are SUV drivers are the new GOPers?
09/13/02: Bubba is Dubya's man
09/06/02: The Freedom to Picnic
08/16/02: Ah, the $izzle of anti-terrorist pork
08/09/02: Vacationless prez and gutless Americans
07/26/02: Study gives women permission not to hide their emotions
07/15/02: Patriot food
06/28/02: Eavesdropping on a San Fran classroom
06/21/02: The crowded skies
06/14/02: Contemporary Father's Day: A conversation for the ages
06/07/02: Legal rights for animals?
05/19/02: Advice for prom goers this year: Hold onto your money
05/10/02: Don't take her for granted
05/03/02: Letter to the parents of a tubby teen
04/26/02: Zacarias Moussaoui gets expert legal advice

© 2002, Tom Purcell