The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Tuesday, February 11, 2003  

“Let’s Just Scare the Bejesus Out of `Em”

The Bush administration yesterday urged Americans to prepare for a possible attack involving chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons by assembling “a ‘disaster supply kit’ that include[s] a three-day supply of water, one gallon per person per day; food; a battery-powered radio; a change of clothes; an extra set of car keys; and cash.”

The recommendations were issued three days after the Department of Fatherland Homeland Security raised the “national terrorism alert” to “high” from “elevated.”

For those of you working with replicas of the little flash cards Karl Rove gave President Bush, that’s to “orange” from “yellow.” (“See, Mr. President? Now we’re orange. Can you say that? Orange. Ooo, hot! Hotter than yellow now. No, no! No touch, sir! Hot! . . . Uh, sir, please don’t play with the red card. . . . No, not now. We’ll get to the red one later. For now just remember: orange. The First Lady will go over this with you again tonight.”)

Play Along at Home!

Not surprisingly, some reporters wondered whether the administration has received information suggesting a serious imminent threat.

Nope. “There is no specific, credible intelligence that says an attack using chemical or biological weapons is imminent,” said Gordon Johndroe of the DHS.

Well, okay then, but since no reporter is going to ask this question, I will: Is the administration merely whipping up hysteria in order to rally a still quite skeptical public behind its impending war upon Iraq?

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