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Dear World
March 6, 2002
By Patricia Hartland

Dear World,

How are you? I am fine, more or less, except for a little arthritis in the knees, but I don't let it slow me down. I thought it was about time to write; I know you haven't heard much from me since the media consolidated into a couple of corporate empires. They have a lot on their minds, what with getting rid of the Fairness Doctrine and gutting the FCC and pursuing increasingly monopolistic mergers and all, so it's not surprising they haven't been relaying much about me and other ordinary American citizens.

Anyway, I'm doing okay, although things are looking a little dicey on the economic front. My brother got "permanently laid off" from his job at Goodyear. The weather has been pretty screwy lately, too. I'm worried about global warming, and really frustrated that my government isn't making progress on it. And, since I'm on the subject, let me reiterate my apologies for the way Mr. Bush flipped the bird at you on the Kyoto treaty. Yes, we do face a lot of challenges bringing our pollution under control in such a heavily industrialized country, but that's no excuse for bad manners, and I'm sorry.

I hear you're worried about what we're up to with the "War on Terror" (or Terra, as Mr. Bush calls it- kind of ironic, isn't it?) And, by the way, thanks for your warm outpourings of sympathy and support as we were reeling from the horror of 9/11. Really thank you. It brought tears to my eyes, hearing how many of you came out and held vigils, sent messages, prayed, and all the other ways you showed support. It was an awful time for me and your actions meant a lot.

So anyway, the "War on Terror." Believe me, I'm as worried as you are. I honestly thought we were going to send in some commando units, supported by a major but temporary troop deployment, clean out bin Laden and the al-quaeda guys, and then concentrate on helping Afghanistan form a stable government. I figured we'd leave a detachment on deployment there to help Mr. Karzai get his act together, but then focus on economic and social aid to make some amends for whatever damage we'd have to do in nailing the terrorists.

Anyway, that's all I meant when I told Mr. Bush I was behind him in going after terror. Oh, I figured we'd probably do things to follow up on the rest of the al-quaeda threat, but after your generous offers of help I assumed we'd be working jointly with you. I figured we'd be doing things like sharing intelligence, planning small-scale commando operations and maybe taking out a few key leaders here and there. If we were all working together on it, sharing information and stuff, it looked like we'd have a pretty good chance of success.

So no, I have no idea where Mr. Bush came up with that "axis of evil" stuff. I know that we have long-standing disagreements with some of you, and I'm far from approving of how some of you behave at home and in public, but I don't think that was very helpful. You've mentioned that I'm kind of na´ve about the complexities of geopolitical interaction, and I guess you're right, but even I can see that was silly.

Um, Columbia? Listen, I know you guys are in major crisis, but can I offer a little advice? Don't take any help from my government, okay? Especially military help. Talk to President Luong and the people of VietNam if you don't believe me. It's really, really, really not worth it. It's not that I don't want to see things get better for you guys. I do, honest. I think if you had some functioning infrastructure and a few alternatives to coca growing things would probably improve a lot, but you'll have to get rid of the drug lords, first.

You get it? You'll have to get rid of them. I'm sorry, I know they have most of the weapons and almost all the money. I know it'll cost you plenty in lives and terror and pain. And I know that a lot of your troubles can be traced to my government's misguided actions and ridiculous drug policies. I'm really awfully sorry about it.. If they'd asked me, I would have told them to keep out of your business, except maybe offering humanitarian aid, and forget about the stupid "drug war," but they don't ask me.

Anyway, I'm thinking about you, Columbia, and praying that you find a way out of your troubles. I've told my government before, and I'll certainly tell them again, we need to cut you a lot of breaks on the economic and humanitarian aid front. But please tell them "no thank you" on the aircraft and weapons, and send those bozos from MPRI home. They don't represent me; they don't represent my government. They may be American citizens, but their only real loyalty is to the money they're making off your deaths, the loss of your homes, the rape of your natural resources.

Well, I better go now. I promised my husband I'd get the basement cleaned out if he'd do the garage this weekend, and I'm not about to let him off the hook. I'll write again, we'll try to stay in touch this time, okay? Thanks for all the news you've been sending. I scan the Internet for it eagerly. And special thanks to you BBC guys - you're a lifeline. Anyway, best to everyone until next time.

Your friend,
Patricia Hartland
American Citizen

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