Thursday, October 17, 2002

Get on With it Already

We all know it’s coming. So what’s taking so long? The war with Iraq, that is. I’m not saying if this is a good or a bad thing or whether I’m in favor or opposed. But it seems so obvious, so inevitable; I wish they’d just get started already. That way they could finish sooner and we could get on with our lives.

As it is, all the war talk is getting really unnerving. Spokesmen alternatively pronounce our gas masks either up to the task or woefully out of date. Which is it? Should we get new ones or remain comfortably numb in our lack of up-to-date knowledge?

And what about Iraq: it either has the capability to hit us, or the U.S. and Britain have already knocked out that capability in covert preemptive strikes. Will Iraq use non-conventional weapons of mass-destruction, or not, since that would be admitting it had them? Will they aim for Jerusalem this time (never mind the mosque, it can always be rebuilt), or continue to target just Tel Aviv and the center of the country? Will Saddam Hussein go for broke if he feels he’s losing, or is he destined for a nice exile on the beach somewhere safe…like Bali?

And what about smallpox?

Sorting out the various pronouncements is made even more difficult by all the official dis-information being spread around like chocolate spread on last Shabbat's challah. I’ve even convinced myself and a few friends that Thomas Friedman is secretly on the payroll of the US State Department.

All this speculation can really drive you crazy. Yesterday, we checked out our communal bomb shelter. It’s still filled with junk, having been used as a storage room for most of its years. Now, we tenants are all making a quick effort to clear it out. We’ll take that coffee table if no one else wants it.

Even without all the junk, the shelter still seems awfully small for all of us, and someone’s got to clean that toilet, it stinks. Then again, are we even supposed to be using this kind of shelter? It’s meant to withstand the impact of missiles and bombs, but for chemical weapons, we’re supposed to lock ourselves into a sealed room, which this isn’t.

Maybe we should consult the new English language War Preparation Guide prepared by the City of Ra’anana Municipality. It's indelicately named chapters give you everything you need to know about "What to Do in a Shooting Incident," "What to Do When the Siren Sounds," and "What to Do During a Chemical or Biological Attack."

There was an announcement on the English news recently: “The gas mask distribution center in Kfar Saba will be closed to the public today and tomorrow. It will reopen on Sunday.” For those of us living here, sometimes you just have to pause and take a step back. Could you ever have imagined, growing up in California or New York or Chicago, that such an announcement would be made, nonchalantly, like it was an everyday occurrence?

So, Mr. Bush, I really don’t care about your need to build coalitions or get the exact right wording on your resolutions. You’ve got the stamp of approval of both houses of Congress. Russia is leaning in your direction. We all know you’re going to do it. So stop driving us crazy over here and get on with it already

And maybe if you time it right, it will give us a good excuse to end the local authorities strike!

Post-script to the strike: remember how I said someone would declare the garbage not being picked up a security hazard. Click here to read all about it. Just remember where you heard it first!

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