NOVEMBER 1, 2004
Since John Kerry announced the existence of his secret plan for victory over terrorism, public and media interest in its secret details has been intense. Some of the details are finally surfacing based on perhaps inadvertent comments by the senator and his chief foreign policy adviser, Richard Holbrooke. Predictably the revealed details are stirring up multiple controversies. The controversies have, in turn, prompted various critical revisions of the secret plan.
The center-piece of the plan is the aggressive distribution here and abroad of millions of bumper stickers denouncing terrorism. These stickers will be in bright day-glow lettering with luminescent highlights for better visibility at night. The plan originally envisioned them being in green, red, yellow and black colors. That has now been revised to using neutral colors because of objections that use of an Islamic-Arab color scheme might be offensive to terrorists.
There have also been objections to some proposals for the bumper stickers' wording. Initially the idea was just one version of the sticker with the wording being "Defeat Terrorism." But that wording has been discarded as too belligerent and macho. Next the plan was revised to involve distributing different bumper sticker wordings calculated to appeal to different segments of the population. One wording would be used for East Coast people, another for West Coasters, another for Southerners, yet others for (respectively): intellectuals and Democrats; urban, suburban, and rural residents and yet another for the so-called NASCAR-types. Unfortunately it turns out that all suggestions for wording that might appeal to Southerners or the NASCAR crowd seemed unacceptably aggressive to many or most of Kerry's staff and advisers. (Other objections have also been made, for instance the wording "Terrorism Sucks" was rejected as potentially offensive to women and gays.)
Finally the bumper sticker plan has gone back to the idea of a one-wording-suits-all bumper sticker. At this point the Kerry staff seems virtually agreed on the wording "Terrorism May Be Inappropriate."
This hyper-aggressive bumper sticker campaign will be supplemented by the display on all federal buildings of banners reading TERRORISM IS WRONG! but with the subtitle "Of Course, One Man's Terrorist is Another Man's Freedom Fighter." In response to objections that this phraseology might make women feel excluded or diminished, there is a lot of sentiment to instead using the subtitle "Of Course, One Person's Terrorist is Another Person's Freedom Fighter."
A third part of the Kerry Plan which has leaked involves the use of B1 and B52 bombers equipped with a new form of "Daisy Cutter" bomb. Instead of explosives these bombs will be filled with leaflets and pamphlets deploring terrorism. The Kerry staff emphasizes that these materials will be very emphatically written.
A major official on the Kerry staff has stressed that not all of its elements will be so negative. However, some elements of the Kerry Plan will seek to produce greater understanding between Americans and the peoples of the Middle East. For instance, recognizing that for decades various Middle Eastern and Islamic governments have been reprinting and distributing Arabic language versions of Hitler's autobiography MEIN KAMPF. The Kerry plan calls for mass distribution in the U.S. of English language copies of MEIN KAMPF. While everyone in the Kerry camp deplores the book's sentiments, they also recognize that terrorism can only be dispelled by promoting greater sensitivity to Islamic concerns among Americans.
Copyright 2000 Claude Dern, All Rights Reserved
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