THE OBSERVATION POST:
Blizzard of ’03: Will Bush Listen to Cold Questions?
BALTIMORE—It snowed for three straight days. Nothing moved: people, cars, trains, buses, or airplanes. And, when it finally stopped, there was 28.2 inches on the ground. It will cost Maryland taxpayers over $30 million to clean it up.
The draconian “Homeland Security Agency” proved powerless against it. Their silly duct tape and plastic sheets didn’t work either.
But, mercifully, the snow had the effect of silencing the warmongering rhetoric of Ari Fleischer, the White House’s mouthy shill. When Mother Nature strikes, man, in all his arrogance, must give way.
When the storm first hit, President George W. Bush was at Camp David in the Catoctin Mountains, not far from Harper’s Ferry, W.Va. Instead of a 20-minute helicopter ride back to the White House, the President had to be driven back to Washington. The trip took two and a half hours. On his way home, Bush’s entourage passed near the village of Sharpsburg, Md., where the Antietam battlefield can be found.
During the Civil War, it was at Antietam, on ground sacred to both the valiant armies of the North and the South, that a great conflict took place.
On September 17, 1862, 21,500 of our finest sons fell in the bloodiest single day of combat in our nation’s history; 15,000 were seriously wounded and 6,500 were killed. By comparison, in the terrorist attack of WTC on 9/11, 3,051 innocent victims died (See Antietam: Crossroads of Freedom, by James M. McPherson).
Perhaps the dead of Antietam are speaking to this generation of Americans, Bush especially.
The great “Blizzard of ’03” can be seen as a metaphor of what happens when a powerful force is unleashed, over which man has no control and from which he must seek cover, until it runs its course. Nearly one fifth of the country was caught in this storm’s crosshairs. It will take weeks to fully recover from it, and at a high financial cost, too. So far, 37 people have died in snow-related incidents.
The looming Gulf War II also represents a potentially lethal force—however, on a man-made plane. Bush’s War Party is set to release it out of its hellish prison, where its wild furies will first turn on Iraq, and then possibly transform the Middle East into an inferno of death and destruction. Iran may be next on the hit list. The Palestinians also could be targeted for a further campaign of ethnic cleansing.
Can more terrorist attacks on this country be far behind such madness?
Bob Woodward revealed in his recent tome that Bush “doesn’t read his mail.” This means that he pays scant attention to what anyone outside his inner circle tries to tell him. Is there hope that he might suddenly change his ways and listen to the anti-war protesters, whom he has labeled “a focus group?”
And what about history? Does Bush have any real sense of it? It’s all around him, particularly at Antietam. There are important historical lessons for him to absorb there. How many young men and women in our military services will Bush be sending to their deaths in Iraq? How many innocent people in Iraq, and in the Middle East, will die or have their homes reduced to rubble? How many new enemies, bent on revenge, will this war make for our Republic? What will this conflict cost the nation? How will it end? Bush should be asking himself these questions.
The “Blizzard of ’03” brought Bush’s Washington to a standstill and required him to alter his traveling plans. War with Iraq may do the same, but with consequences so grave, and so far-reaching, that they could become the grim source of national nightmares.
That snowstorm, the lessons of Antietam, and those rising voices in the streets of America urging peace are all trying to send George W. Bush a message.
Will Bush listen to them before it is too late?
© William Hughes 2003. Hughes, an attorney and professional actor, is the author of Baltimore Iconoclast (Writer’s Showcase), available online. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This story was published on March 5, 2003.