Friday, December 16, 2005


We’ve had the War on Poverty, the War on Drugs, the War on Terror; now at last, we’ve got one all reasonable people can get behind: the War on Birds.

Fears of avian flu being transferred to humans have led government officials to issue dire predictions about the likelihood of a widespread pandemic with the prospect of millions of deaths.

And it’s all about the birds. Those filthy, disgusting germ-carriers, sitting in their trees, singing their happy songs, all the while bombarding us with pestilence and disease, and I’m not just talking about the pigeon droppings.

Now, when I see the robin pulling his early bird from the ground, I know what he’s up to. When I spy the starling waddling across my lawn, I perceive his evil plan. The hummingbird drinking his floral nectar: I’m onto him, too.

I guess in some way, it’s payback for our role in extinctions of the past: the Dodo, the passenger pigeon, Foghorn Leghorn, are all laughing in their graves. If birds can kill millions of people, that’s poetic justice, a rebalancing of the moral scales, chickens coming home to roost. Literally.

I’m concerned about the way in which this war on birds is going to be prosecuted. Will we see battalions of soldiers attacking flocks of seagulls? Humvees running over crow’s nests? Smart bombs targeting swallows?

Of course Bush is all excited because in targeting birds, he’s found an adversary whose butt he thinks he can kick; still, I’d like to see him go mano a oiseau versus an eagle.

As for myself, I’m not afraid of bird flu. I make it a practice never to make out with birds and I insist that any around me cover their beaks when they cough.

Actually, I think this whole hysteria is an attempt on the part of the government to distract us from the avian act they been doing for the last six years: flipping all of us the bird.


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