The National Missile Defence, as this new version of Gotcha! is called, seems to be a problem for Ministers Axworthy and Eggleton. They may soon be throwing axes and eggs at each other. NMD also raised a few questions in my mind, so I phoned my friend Peter Pentagon for some answers.
ME: What is this National Missile Defence?
PETER: It's the answer to th e Pentagon's prayers. We actually do pray.
ME: What do you pray?
PETER: Dear God, don't let the Pentagon budget go into decline and don't let any of those missiles from rogue states hit an American.
ME: What's a rogue state?
PETER: It's easy to see you live in Canada under our complete protection and unaware of rogue states. A rogue state is, well, it's a nasty piece of work that plans to aim its missiles at Americans and maybe even Canadians.
ME:But under globalization aren't even rogue states potential customers?
PETER: That's why we don't actually hit them. We just hit their incoming missiles.
ME: How do we, I mean you, do that?
PETER: We launch one of our missiles and program it to hit the roguish missile.
ME: Do you ever miss?
PETER: Haw haw. Well, actually we haven't made a hit yet, although we altered the records to make it look like we did.
ME: Did you get caught?
PETER: One of those whistle-blowers blew our cover.
ME: Is it really defence?
PETER: We don't have a Department of Offence.
ME: When do you expect the incoming missiles will be coming in?
ME: How many?
PETER: Maybe hundreds. Who knows?
ME: Could they be nuclear, biological, or chemical?
PETER: Guess so.
ME: If you intercept them where will the hit take place?
PETER: Safely in outer space.
ME: What are the effects of nuclear, biological, or chemical explosions on outer space?
PETER: We don't know.
ME: What happens if our missiles miss?
PETER: I get fired.
ME: I mean, what happens to the missiles?
PETER: They continue on their trajectories.
ME: Are innocent people likely to be at the end of the trajectory?
PETER: That's not my department. Check the Geneva Convention.
ME: What about the Ozone Layer?
PETER: Never heard of the O Zone. Which zone is that?
ME: I guess "National" refers to the United States. What about Canada?
PETER: If you agree to cooperate you'll be included. Otherwise you'll be included but won't have to pay for it.
ME: How much will it cost?
PETER: We've spent $60 billion so far and it will take $30- 60 billion more over 15 years. Or a few million Pentagon toilet seats.
ME: How do you feel about it?
PETER: What does "feel" mean?
ME: Did you know that "missile" once referred to the Roman Emperor's perfume and flowers he threw at the masses to keep them happy?
PETER: That's not my department. Consult Martha Stewart.
ME: Thank you for this call. Frankly, it's all over my head.
PETER: You're so right.