War on the Janitors

In the next week or ten days, our President will give an order and the bombs will start falling on Iraq. At that point, the millions of people around the world who have been vocally protesting this idea will have lost. At that point everything the Moslem Extremists have been saying about us will be easy to for them to prove. At that point, our war on Iraq's janitors and building custodians will have started.

A bomb falling from the sky is a fearsome weapon. It kills and maims anyone near where it falls. But -- our leaders tell us we have "smart" bombs. They can be guided with precision right to the military target we want to hit, and we just destroy that target. Anyone killed or disfigured by this weapon must be part of that military target.

We have a bombing "tradition". We like to start our bombing campaigns in the wee hours of the morning during a time of the month when the moon is not shining. Sometime between the hours of 1:30 a.m. and 5 a.m. are our favorite times. Isn't it a bit chilling for me to be able to write that down in advance?

So, yes, we will send our bombs raining down on whatever targets our military strategists have chosen. At that time of night there will be civilians working in those targets. Civilians slowly swinging floor buffers back and forth across tiled floors, making them shine. We're going to kill them -- not because we hate them. No, we hate the leader of their country so much, we have to do this.

But, these people guiding the buffers have families. They have mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters, nieces and nephews. They are special to them because they are PEOPLE.

Janitors have a special place in my life. In 1947 on my first day of school, my mother walked me up to Academy Hill School and there at the door, she introduced me a kindly old gentleman named Carl Appleton, the school janitor. She told me if ever I needed help, I should go and find Carl. It's interesting to me now that she didn't take me to my first grade teacher, Mrs. Pease. No, she took me to Carl.

I remember telling this story at a class dinner a few years ago and my friend Carol Kimball (Sandsbury) got tears in her eyes. That was my Uncle Carl, she said. I never knew him as other than the kindly janitor who had made me feel safe to go to school that morning, but she remembered him as a revered family member.

So, these are the kind of people that our 'smart' bombs will be killing that morning. Yes, we will destroy military targets. But for every janitor we kill, a dividend will be the hatred for us created in all their family members. This is the type of hatred that doesn't go away. It makes people mad enough to strap explosives to their bodies and blow themselves up just to try and get even.

Sure, we can beat the Iraqi Army -- what's left of them. We will win a wonderful victory for Freedom. We'll just have to kill a few janitors to do it.

Here on Nantucket, the Peace Rallies will continue to happen every Saturday. When the bombs start falling, we will be protesting every day. But then it will be too late. The seeds of hatred will already be planted.

Kenneth Turner Blackshaw

Native Nantucketer