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03/19/2003 Archived Entry: "Amazing prediction"

This is a map of troop and weapon placement for the invasion of Iraq...at least as I write at 3:30 EST.

There was an amazingly prescient satire posted on Monday morning, before Bush's 48-hr ultimatum to Saddam. "TV Guide: Gulf War to start prime time Wednesday on FOX, following the Simpsons: Observant readers of the weeks upcoming television listings point out that the publication has revealed the start date for the war: Wednesday, March 19 at 8EST/5PST, the time set to kick off the FOX Networks new spring comedy and reality show lineup."

The countdown to war is surreal. I can only imagine, and poorly, how the population of Iraq is coping with the killing stress. According to a report in Courier Mail, "The siege of Baghdad has begun and the city of more than four million people is shutting down and bracing for a US-led invasion. Most shops in central Baghdad have closed, their steel shutters locked tight, stock removed and taken to the homes of merchants. Fuel suppliers have pumped out petrol supplies and transferred them to storage tanks in the outskirts." Four million people are sitting at home with their families and possessions, waiting.

Everyone is in reactive mode, even if the reaction is to feel stunned and disoriented, like I do. Antiwar protestors are vowing to accelerate their efforts. Congress is still in denial and rigidly ignoring its responsibilities, talking instead about everything and anything BUT the war. The Hartford Courant reports, "When Sen. Christopher Dodd showed up to talk about Iraq in the U.S. Senate one day last week, he found himself in a nearly empty chamber." How is Congress pending its time at this point of global crisis? "The Senate spent its time last week on a hodgepodge of matters that included late-term abortions,
National Girl Scout Week, Greek Independence Day, and whether to cut off debate on Bush judicial nominee Miguel A. Estrada." Muslim terrorists are taking action: "Suspected guerrillas from the largest Muslim separatist group in the Philippines on Wednesday blew up a key water pipeline in the south, disrupting supply to about 100,000 residents."

The economy is still on the downturn: don't be deceived by the brief rally of the stock market. Businesses are still slumping -- e.g. "A two-year recession in the high-tech sector overall has taken a massive toll on US workers, with more than 560,000 jobs lost - a 10 per cent plunge from 5.7m in January 2001 to 5.1m by December 2002." Also, it now seems likely that United Airlines will go out of business. "United Airlines, the world's second largest carrier, last night forecast a first-quarter operating loss of US$877 million and that going out of business altogether is a 'distinct possibility'." Europe is also talking nervously about a possible Euro recession resulting from the invasion of Iraq.

Meanwhile, government is still grabbing every cent it can -- e.g. Montana is trying to jack up fees on everything from nursing facility beds to court filings are becoming more common as lawmakers look for ways to pay the state's bills, a trend some say is just a ruse to avoid the political fallout caused by tax increases."

On the Personal Front:

My eyes will be glued to the television set all day and all evening tho' I expect the news to be sanitized, censored, one-sided. Brad will be tuning in foreign stations on the ham radio and shouting out for me to join him in front of the rig whenever an interesting broadcast breaks through the static. I feel as tho' I am watching a long car crash in slow motion.

Spring is still arriving on our farm and the deepest banks of snow are melting gradually...which is a relief. I wasn't worried about flooding but we ned a gradual melt to allow the ground to soak up the water and give farmers some relief from the drought that has been plaguing them. Our well has not run dry on us once even tho' it is 17 feet deep -- remarkably shallow as such things go. But our neighbor's well dried up temporarily and those of friends as well. Other signs of Spring...The farmers are still out on the road with rifles and walkie-talkies, hunting the wild dogs that are attacking their animals, especially their lambs. People are walking about town wearing only heavy sweaters and without snowshoes. I haven't heard the sound of a snowmobile for days. It all seems so normal. It is difficult to believe that the world will change this evening.

Stay safe and sane,

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