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Bush: Baghdad Nuclear Explosion "Sign of Coalition Success"
October 30, 2003
Satire by David Albrecht

WASHINGTON - 30 October, 2003. Baghdad, the heart of Middle Eastern civilization for thousands of years, was largely obliterated by a thermonuclear explosion yesterday. Experts believe that the death toll may rise to one million or more in the first use of nuclear weapons by a terrorist group, and emphasize that these are conservative casualty estimates.

No organization has claimed responsibility for the attack, though many believe that it is the work of Osama bin Laden, possibly using a strategic multi-stage weapon smuggled from the former Soviet Union's weapons stockpiles.

With an initial fireball estimated at two miles in diameter, central Baghdad has been obliterated, and firestorms are now engulfing many of the surviving suburbs. The flash of the explosion, which came at 9:54 AM local time, was seen as far away as Tikrit and Kuwait City, at which time all communications with Baghdad stopped.

President Bush, however, remained upbeat in his assessment of the situation in Iraq. "This cowardly attack is proof that our efforts in the region are having good success. You see, these terrorists hate freedom. They hate our freedom. They hate the new-found freedoms of the liberated people of Iraq."

Taking time out from his Camp David meeting with Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, Bush took a few moments to speak to the press, and to address critics in Congress. Many members of both parties have now stated that resources they believe were wasted hunting for Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction might have been better utilized seeking to block attacks such as this morning's lethal blast.

The president, however, disagreed: "Some people might think that we've lost the war on terrorism. Well I'll tell you this - whoever set off this nuclear bomb is no longer a threat to the security of the United States - and you can bank on that." American resolve, Mr. Bush stated, will not break: "We're in a long fight. There may be setbacks. But if this attack tells us anything, it tells us that the evil ones are responding to all the good work we're doing in Iraq. An attack of this size can only be considered a sign of the success of our coalition - a success those who hate freedom consider a threat."

Financial markets worldwide reeled at the news of the bombing. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones lost 897 points before the NYSE suspended trading, and the NASDAQ was down 282 by the end of the day. All major foreign markets slumped by at least 25%.

However, Secretary of the Treasury John Snow pointed out that, in his words: "There's really no need to panic - in this low interest-rate environment, we're looking at minimal disruption once the first shock subsides." Snow also pointed out that recent durable-goods orders are up and mortgage rates remain low. He also spoke of new opportunities in companies making bottled water, prosthetic limbs and home generators.

He also stated that "now is a good time to invest" in the lead mining business. President Bush also sounded bullish, noting that "The economy's still recovering and productivity looks good."

When asked whether changes would be made in his national security team, he noted that Condoleeza Rice, the National Security Advisor, would continue to shoulder the lion's share of Iraq policy formation. "Condi's already my unsticker, and I guess now she'll be my decontaminator," the president added with laugh.

The president also still plans to visit a newly reopened school in the Basra area as part of his upcoming visit to Iraq, though White House officials were uncertain just when all radioactive debris could be removed, or when electricity would be restored.

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