Once the PETA people recover from the system shock of yesterday's "International Eat an Animal for PETA Day", I'm sure they'll be all over this:
Pigeons to help protect U.S. Marines
On Friday, the Marines got a new avian force -- a company of pigeons.
The birds are meant to be the military equivalent of a canary in a coal mine. During a possible invasion of Iraq, they are to ride with a caretaker in armored vehicles. If they start to get sick, it could indicate a chemical attack and give the Marines a chance to put on their gas masks.
Apparently the small flock of chickens previously put into service has not fared well - 42 out of 43 have died.
One chicken, nicknamed "Turkey Thunder," was rescued from the coop by the 3rd Battalion, 11th Regiment. It now lives in a tent with Marines from the artillery battalion, though it appeared to have a little cough Friday night.
Lt. Col. Michael Belcher, commanding officer of the 3rd Battalion, does not blame his Marines for the deaths. The chickens looked a little piqued that first day, and he believes the birds' death warrants were signed long before they ever moved to Living Support Area 7.
But he wanted to do everything possible to make sure their pigeon replacements did not meet the same fate.
"They get bottled water," he told Frawley, who was charged with finding "pigeon qualified personnel" to care for the birds. "I don't want them spooked."
Belcher held out hope that if all goes well, the birds could receive a most honorable discharge.
"We'll release them in Baghdad," he said. "Like doves."
I wonder if PETA will write a nice letter to President Bush asking him to leave the pigeons out of it - like the one they sent to Arafat after the Donkey Bomb.
Sounds like things are heating up in Iraq. Aside from the obvious comments made by President Bush and the Prime Ministers of Great Britian and Spain today, I noted the following:
Dangerous Time to Be in Baghdad, Powell Says
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Sunday that journalists and others should consider leaving Baghdad not just for the dangers of a possible U.S.-led attack but also because Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein could take them hostage.
At first, it struck me as ODD that anyone should have to point out something that I have found rather obvious for quite some time: being in Iraq in general is probably not a smart move. But then again, I'm not a journalist looking to become the next Bernard Shaw, commenting on the situation by the glow of an incoming missile.
"I think it is a dangerous time in Baghdad and each person in Baghdad whether a news person, inspector or in some other capacity, has to take a look at whether or not it is not time to leave," Powell said in an interview with CNN's "Late Edition." "It is a judgment each of them will have to make not just for the threat of potential military action, but from the threat of Saddam Hussein taking them as hostages."
To steal a scene from Animal House:
"If I were you, I'd be . . . "
"Leaving . . . what a good idea!"
The suitcases are packed. I haven't gone through the final checklist yet, but I can tell the trip is getting close. How do I know?
New dive toes!