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An Invasion? Sure! But, Why Pennsylvania?

August 30, 1992|Bruce McCall | Bruce McCall is a frequent contributor to the New Yorker

NEW YORK — General: I'll read this statement and then take questions. At 0300 Hours today, Saturday, Sept. 12, units of the U.S. Army, Marine Corps and Air Force invaded the State of Pennsylvania, with the . . .

Reporter: You guys just invaded your own country?

General: . . . with the strictly limited military objective of protecting peace-loving Quakers completely surrounded by Protestants and Catholics . . .

Reporter: Couldn't it wait till after the election?

General: That's a negative. It was vital that the action take place within this time frame, before the haying season . . .

Reporter: Could you give us background on this operation?

General: Operation Chin-Whiskers is an ideal operation from a military point of view. One, no enemy. Two, close to home--logistics-wise, you're talking a no-brainer. Three, cost-benefit ratio. This action will make every American feel proud, without feeling it in his or her pocketbook.

Reporter: But I mean, the reasons.

General: As I already inputted, for some time our intelligence data, backed up by surveillance photos from aerial reconnaissance--which incidentally the President has been monitoring on a daypart-to-daypart basis--have shown a massing of Protestant and Catholic elements that's left the Quaker peace-loving minority completely surrounded.

Reporter: Any casualties, general?

General: That's an affirmative. We have reports that one--that is one-decimal-zero--infantryman has suffered a run-over foot as the result of an altercation with a friendly horse-and-buggy of the trap-type. It was pitch dark, as our intelligence had predicted it would be in that sector of 0300 Hours in September.

Reporter: General, to follow up . . . .

General: We believe the President, as commander-in-chief, is simply enforcing the U.S. Constitution here and is in 101% accordance with the laws and statutes that apply. But gentlemen, as you know, I'm not a lawyer, so I'd direct your questions to the proper legal authorities.

Reporter: But, general, why Pennsylvania and not, say, Iraq or Bosnia?

General: Forceful military action like this reaffirms the commitment of the United States to the principles of freedom in our hemisphere. I think the lessons of Nicaragua and Grenada and Panama pretty much apply here.

Reporter: But the Quakers . . .

General: Well, as some of you with a historical mind-set will recall, Quaker cereals were shot from guns. It was on the box. So they're ready to defend themselves, and we just decided to join the peace-oriented Quaker folks in this.

Reporter: What do you expect to gain by this operation, general?

General: The American people can see that their President isn't afraid to act decisively when people outnumbered by 10,000 to 1--and I'd like to repeat that number, 10,000 to 1--and never committed any violations, absolutely no provocations . . . and then there's a big parade afterward, tanks, missile launchers, aircraft over-flying . . .

Reporter: General, could you tell us where the President is right now?

General: I believe at Camp David, planning the parade down Pennsylvania Avenue next Sunday in the prime-time window. You're all invited. Thank you.

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