Calls For Preemptive Strike on Louisiana
February 14, 2003
By Diane E. Dees
In a speech that surprised even such high-level Republican
confidantes as Bill Frist, Tom Delay and Britt Hume, U.S.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld today called on Congress
to allow President Bush to proceed with plans for military
action against the state of Louisiana.
"We do not have the luxury of time to debate our strategy,"
Rumsfeld told a group that included members of the Senate
and House Armed Services Committees, leaders of both houses
of Congress, and selected members of the news media.
"Louisiana has demonstrated, time and time again, that it
is not interested in peaceful coexistence with the United
States," the Secretary claimed. "The leadership there says
one thing and does another. They tell the world that they
have no desire to be aggressive, yet we have proof beyond
a doubt that they are producing weapons of mass destruction,
and that they would use them against us, especially if they
had too much to drink."
"Louisianians are like that," he added.
When asked what types of weapons of mass destruction Louisiana
had, Rumsfeld turned the podium over to Secretary of State
Colin Powell, who produced a series of line drawings of Tobasco
Sauce bottles and containers of cayenne pepper.
"They have capsaicin," said Powell. "And frankly, "we have
never before seen chemical weapons of this intensity. Each
small bottle of Tobasco sauce contains 720 drops. A teaspoon
of the stuff has 60 drops. Two to three drops of capsaicin
at these levels can disable someone, and five to six drops
can cause choking, heart palpitations, respiratory decompensation,
and even death. Four drops if the person is from Minnesota."
Powell went on to describe Scoville units, the units by which
pepper heat is measured, and said that the deadly chemical
was produced in a remote part of Louisiana known as Avery
Island. According to the dossier from which Powell read, when
all four production lines of the Avery Island factory are
in operation, over 450,000 bottles of Tabasco can be produced
in a single day.
"That is enough to kill every man, woman and child in the
free world many times over," he said.
Secretary Rumsfeld then returned to the podium and fielded
questions about his new military directive, which he called
a necessary assault on what President Bush is referring to
as the Axis of Carville.
"The President believes, and I agree with him, that no one
in America is safe until Louisiana is disarmed," Rumsfeld
announced. When asked about the possibility of sending UN
weapons inspectors to Louisiana, Rumsfeld became impatient:
"There you go again, with the inspection song and dance.
Don't you think that hasn't been tried? Every inspector that
was ever sent there wound up in New Orleans, and came back
drunk and weighing an extra ten pounds. If you knew anything
at all about Louisiana, you wouldn't be asking such an inane
Asked about the possibility of allowing Louisiana time to
disarm on its own, Rumsfeld said intelligence reports showed
that if left to their own devices, the state's leaders would
eventually distribute capsaicin throughout every major city
in the United States. There are already more than a thousand
Popeyes Fried Chicken franchises in the country, he said,
and there are many other ways to introduce capsaicin to the
"But what about Governor Foster?" a reporter asked. "Isn't
he a Republican?"
Rumsfeld smiled. "We're really not sure anymore, after the
November election," he said, "and anyway, his term will be
up soon. And if you don't think Mary Landrieu knows about
the Tobasco plant, you are more na´ve than even I could imagine."
Later, at a briefing on the latest addition to the growing
list of places the United States will attack, Press Secretary
Ari Fleischer was asked if President Bush had visited Louisiana.
Fleischer replied, "He thinks he may have been there when
he was governor of Texas, but he isn't sure when. I think
right now it's somewhat murky."
"Louisiana has a lot of oil, Ari," Helen Thomas asserted.
My understanding is that it has 18 petroleum refineries, 27,250
producing wells, and is home to two of our four strategic
oil reserves. Do you want us to believe that the proposed
attack on Louisiana isn't part of the White House's plan to
confiscate oil on a world-wide basis?"
"Helen, it's certainly true that Louisiana has a crude oil
reserve of 529 million barrels of oil, but the president has
no interest in that. What he does have an interest in is the
security of the American people, and that security cannot
be maintained unless Louisiana is disarmed of its stash of
With that remark, Fleischer ended the news conference. Later,
however, reporters had a chance to talk with President Bush,
who invited some of them to the golf course.
Asked if he thought an attack on Louisiana would be hard
to sell to the American people, the president replied that
American citizens were becoming more and more suspicious of
the motives of foreign countries, and that they would not
hesitate to do whatever was necessary to protect national
security. When told that Louisiana was one of the fifty states,
Bush nodded and said "God bless America."
Asked about allegations that the White House wanted to attack
Louisiana for its oil, Bush turned and faced the group.
"I can assure you," he said, "I know all about the allegations.
They are crawling around all the swamps in Louisiana. Some
of them are ten feet long. Make no mistake: we will hunt them
down, and we will bring them to justice."
The reporter reminded President Bush that Texas had even
larger oil reserves than Louisiana. "Can we expect a future
attack on Texas, too?"
The President turned toward the second hole. "Now watch this
drive," he said, then, turning and winking, added, "Don't
mess with Texas."