Fighting Them Up There


WASHINGTON (Associated Press) -- “Hurricane Katrina was an act of God,” Vice President Cheney said Thursday. “As usual, the blame-America-first crowd in the liberal media is trying to deflect the responsibility for the New Orleans tragedy onto this administration and the brave men and women who are fighting the hurricane on the front lines. But let’s make no mistake about it: The US government did not break the levees and flood New Orleans. President Bush did not cause the hurricane that unleashed terror on a major American city. God did.”

The Vice President’s speech before the annual convention of Americans for the Separation of Church and State marked a major shift, as top administration officials fanned out across the country yesterday to promote a new get-tough policy with God.

“We need to face the facts,” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “If anyone else had destroyed a major American city, we would call him a terrorist. And we would mount an appropriate response.”

Although the administration had not publicly said anything against God until yesterday, a high-ranking source inside the CIA said that God had long been suspected of terrorism. “Osama bin Laden has always said he was working for God,” he said. “It wasn’t politically correct to say so in public, but we’ve seen a lot of evidence to support that claim. Some reports say that God promised the 9/11 hijackers eternal life with 70 virgins. That’s 70 virgins each . We haven’t had the political will to match that level of effort.”

Critics have questioned whether the administration ignored warnings of the attack on New Orleans. “When Pat Robertson began calling for the assassination of democratically elected leaders of foreign countries,” said retired general Barry McCaffry on CNN, “we knew that God was about to ramp up his terrorist activities. Those in the Pentagon who follow the chatter among God’s followers on the Internet had warned the administration weeks ago that something big was about to happen. But the reports were not specific enough to be actionable. Earthquake in California, volcano, another tsunami -- the possible threats were just too diverse to prepare for. After all, with God anything is possible.”

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was notably absent from the administration’s media blitz, while his office continued not to comment on reports that many suspected allies of God are being detained without regard to their American citizenship. News organizations have not been able to contact Robertson, Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, and many other well-known divine spokesmen since Wednesday evening, but it is not clear whether they are in custody or have gone into hiding. “They're going to have to decide,” said a source inside the Justice Department. “Are they with us or are they with the terrorists?”

On a poor-quality audio tape broadcast on the Christian Broadcasting Network Thursday night, evangelist Bob Jones III urged the US government to listen to God’s demands, which he described as “just and reasonable.”

“God is not the wild-eyed bomb-thrower the government is making Him out to be,” Jones continued. “God has bent over backwards to be lenient with America. He has been unhappy with us ever since the sexual revolution in the Sixties. He’s tried to change our behavior through peaceful means, but Americans just haven’t paid any attention. It was like we were going out of our way to offend Him: legalized abortion, soaring divorce rate, homosexual marriage. God’s mills grind slowly, but given His history you knew He was not going to let this go on forever.” Even so, Jones also expressed hope. “He remains merciful, even now. I’m sure if we just took a few small steps backwards the hurricanes would stop.”

But United Nations Ambassador John Bolton denounced any such talk as “appeasement.” Speaking to the New York Times he said, “We can’t show any weakness, or God will just be encouraged to launch more attacks. This administration has been wavering on gay marriage, but we need to come out whole-heartedly in favor of it. God has to learn that we won’t be pushed around. Bestiality is even on the table.”

Many in the administration are calling for an even stronger response. Rumors swirled around Washington this morning that President Bush would appear on national television tonight to call for an immediate assault on Heaven. According to a leaked script, the President intends to say: “We cannot wait passively for the next attack. We have to take the battle to the terrorists, wherever they are. If we don’t fight them up there, we’ll have to fight them down here.”

Though a human attack on Heaven would be unprecedented, sources inside the Pentagon expressed confidence that such a battle is feasible. Contingency plans, these sources say, have existed for many years.

“We can go get the terrorists no matter where they try to hide,” promised Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld at Friday’s briefing. “Heaven, Hell, Afghanistan -- it makes no difference to us. Now, am I saying we’re going to attack? No, I’m not. That’s the President’s call. But if he says ‘go’ we’ll be ready to go.”

Asked how an attack on Heaven was possible, Secretary Rumsfeld pointed to the forces already in place. “Thanks to Operation Iraqi Freedom,” he said, “nearly 2,000 American troops are in Heaven right now. Pre-positioned, you might say. These are our best young men and women. Well-trained. Ready to go at a moment’s notice. Are they up to storming the throne of the Almighty? You bet they are.”

Some critics within the administration have questioned the size of the strike force. “Oh, we can drag God off His throne,” said a highly placed source in the Marine command, “but what then? Nobody knows how big Heaven is or how many troops we will need to secure it. If the pearly gates and the streets of gold get looted, it won't look very good to the international community.

In a speech this morning to the American Association for the Advancement of Atheism, Vice President Cheney downplayed the occupation problem. “Our troops will be welcomed as liberators,” he said. “There’s no democracy in Heaven. Many of the saved have experienced democracy here on Earth, and believe me, they’ll welcome any army that shows up to overthrow God.”

But will the American troops in Heaven really fight against the God that many of them worshiped when they were alive? War protester Cindy Sheehan predicts not. “This isn’t what Casey signed up for,” she said, speaking of her son who died in Iraq. “He was a brave boy and a patriotic American who wanted to protect his country. But some things are just too much.”

Doug Muder

9 September 2005

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