Just Mocking Around: A Phone Call From Shirley

By Shirley Farlinger

When I first read the headline I thought it said "Canadian troops part of shock invasion in Puerto Rico." I was shocked. So I called my friend Peter Pentagon.

ME: Pete, what's going on there in Puerto Rico? Did you invade?

PETE: No, you silly Canada goose (he always calls me that), it was just a mock invasion.

ME: Thank goodness. Why were you pretending to invade Puerto Rico?

PETE: We have to practice. Practice makes perfect.

ME: Besides Canada who else was practicing?

PETE: Well, there was France, Denmark, Germany and Britain. It was a NATO exercise we called Unified Spirit.

ME: How big was it?

PETE: There were 50 ships and 31,000 troops from just the U.S.

ME: How many from Canada?

PETE: Fourteen aircrafts and 2500 troops. You can see why we need to practice to coordinate all that stuff.

ME: How long did it take to plan operation United Spirit?

PETE: Two years.

ME: How long did the invasion last?

PETE: Twenty minutes.

ME: It was all over in 20 minutes? Of course it must be easier without any enemy. Who is the enemy right now?

PETE: I think George Bush said it best, "we cannot let terrorists and rogue nations hold this nation hostage. When I was growing up it was a dangerous world and you knew exactly who they were. It was us versus them and it was clear who them was. Today, we are not so sure who they are, but you know they're there."

ME: Where?

PETE: We're not sure. But we have to keep on practicing anyway.

ME: What did the people think of the mock invasion?

PETE: Well, actually the people don't really like our operations there. We had to move from Puerto Rico itself to the outlying island of Vieques because the people all brought picnics to the beach we were invading and we had to stop.

ME: You mean NATO was stopped by people having a picnic? Was anyone ever killed?

PETE: Just one, that's why we're not allowed to use live ammunition any more. Takes all the fun out of it.

ME: What else do the people complain about?

PETE: They said the bombing has stunted economic growth, scared away tourists and endangered everyone's health.

ME: How can people get rid of you?

PETE: Clinton promised a referendum next year. But of course if Puerto Rico wants a loan from the World Bank...

ME: I'm glad you don't practice in Canada.

PETE: Actually, we only do low level bomber training and the odd mock invasion in the Maritimes now. We stopped Agent Orange trials, mind altering experiments, and cruise missile tests.

ME: And did we never object?

PETE: You do it for the good of NATO. You know what that stands for don't you?

ME: Yes, of course. (New American Totalitarian Order ?).

PETE: Thanks for your call, we're always ready to help our Canadian friends.

Peace Magazine Jan-Mar 2001

Peace Magazine Jan-Mar 2001, page 27. Some rights reserved.

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