The Bush White House has reached what might be called a crisis point; it is in danger of running out of foreign enemies. This is more important than you might think. The administration's doctrine of preemptive unilateralism (outlined in its report to Congress entitled "The National Security Strategy of the United States of America") is based on attacking first and asking questions later; it visualizes a world made up of potential enemies who need to be dealt with before they can do damage, and it requires a steady supply of military targets.
That hasn't been a problem up to now; we've warmed up nicely with Afghanistan, and we're about to hit Iraq. Iran will likely follow, eliminating two-thirds of the proclaimed "Axis of Evil," but thereafter, things become problematical. North Korea, the third member of the original evil axis, has nukes, and a key corollary of the Bush doctrine is that America doesn't risk nuclear confrontations in its pursuit of evil. So, the administration faces a quandary: namely, where to strike next.
A doctrine based on eliminating evil threats is pointless without evildoers. New objects of our wrath have to be found, and soon. Ideally, the selectees should be non-Muslim and non-Arab, since balance is a consideration in compiling any proper list of America's enemies; we need to be evenhanded in our approach. With that in mind, here's a suggestion: Let's invade Canada!
The arguments for turning our attention to the Great White North are surprisingly numerous. For starters, no less an authority than that great political philosopher Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's Hardball, has described Canada as a socialist country, whose values differ from ours and whose leaders habitually make sarcastic cracks about our revered Republican presidents. If that weren't enough, Canadians persist in running a government-operated, single-payer health-care system that makes our beloved marketplace system look bad by comparison; we can't allow our HMOs to be continually humiliated in this fashion. Canadians also flaunt their anti-capitalist attitudes by regulating retail drug prices, which costs our public-spirited pharmaceutical companies money and forces elderly Americans on fixed incomes to endure long bus rides north to fill their prescriptions; it's little short of criminal.
There's more. In an obvious attempt to mock our smoothly functioning melting pot, Canada has made itself officially bilingual, spreading an un-American ethos of minority entitlements in the process. And what is its second language? French! It turns out that over a quarter of Canadians are of French descent, and we all know what that means: anti-American from the get-go. What's more, Canada won't clean up its lax immigration policies and supervise its borders as we have done through our efficient Immigration and Naturalization Service. The Canadian-American border, with its miles of unpatrolled wilderness, is a clear threat to our national security; it's an open invitation to French-speaking Al-Qaeda operatives on snowshoes and snowmobiles.
I could go on and on. Canadians won't institute capital punishment, despite our insistence that it would reduce their soaring crime rate to low US levels. Canadians don't like handguns, either; they actually regulate them! This is obvious evidence they can't be trusted. Any country unwilling to tolerate a few thousand shootings a year is no friend of ours. That isn't all. Canada has adopted the metric system, probably just to annoy us. And now it wants to ease its marijuana laws. What's next, the creation of a social safety net? This nonsense just has to stop.
No bill of particulars on why we should invade Canada would be complete, of course, without mentioning how Canada is undermining American culture. Canadians are endlessly harping about the negative influence of American movies, books, and television on their national sovereignty, but no one ever comments on how Canadians are burrowing from within, shaping America's popular culture in any number of nefarious ways, inculcating their insidious brand of commonsensical compromise with an insufferable politeness and literate understatement that masks their true intentions. Particularly disturbing are all those Canadian performers -- the Joni Mitchells, Dan Aykroyds, and David Steinbergs -- popping up all over our entertainment venues, infecting our children with their irreverent dry humor and penchant for folk music. And then there is the biggest cultural mole of all, Peter Jennings, boring into the bowels of our journalistic establishment. His unwillingness to emulate the Fox network's "fair and balanced" news coverage makes him the greatest threat from north of the border since Robert MacNeil left PBS.
For years, Canada was content to quietly let sleeper cells do its work in America, but lately the autocrats of Ottawa have become more open and brazen. First, they whined about not receiving proper recognition from President Bush during last year's State of the Union address for their support in the wake of 9/11; they even claimed to be our best friends (a likely story). Then, they had the bad taste to complain when American pilots bombed their troops in Afghanistan. As one of our generals said, the American military doesn't make mistakes; if we bombed them, there must have been a good reason. Anyway, we did eventually apologize, so what's the fuss?
Those episodes pale by comparison to what's been happening recently, however. Canada has clearly upped the ante on provocation. Witness the October capture at a border crossing between Maine and Quebec of a dangerous Canadian agent disguised as a hunter. The culprit, Michael Jalbert by name, was apprehended as he entered sovereign American territory to (supposedly) purchase gasoline. A shotgun in the back window of his pickup truck gave away the perpetrator, who, it seems, had been convicted of breaking and entering a decade earlier. He received probation then, but our alert border officials saw him for what he was, an inadmissible alien in possession of a firearm seeking illegal entry into the U.S. Penalty: up to 10 years in prison. Canada naturally protested, and Secretary of State Colin Powell (What a wimp!) negotiated the probable terrorist's release. Nevertheless, Canadians know we're watching.
Then there was the celebrated moron incident at November's NATO summit in Prague. An aide to Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, one Françoise Ducros (note the French names), referred to our commander in chief, President Bush, as a "moron" because of his desire to attack Iraq. This is ridiculous; we wouldn't have elected the man (oops!), if he were a moron. Chrétien disavowed the remark, of course, saying of the president, "He is a friend of mine; he is not a moron at all." But we know what he was really thinking.
It's apparent, in short, that we need to take action. It will be relatively easy to annex Canada; it has no nukes. It will also be in our national interest; the country has things we need, such as abundant oil and water. So, let's add Canada to the Axis of Evil and get our bombers into the air. It's time to fry some Canadian bacon and exact sweet revenge for all those John Candy movies. (Just kidding, Canadians.)
Wayne O'Leary is a resident of Orono, Maine. [Eds. Note: As Michael Moore points out in Bowling for Columbine, there are seven million guns loose in Canada, with 22% of households armed, though 95% are hunting rifles, while there are 192 million guns in private US hands, in 48% of US households. The murder rate in Canada was 1.8 per 100,000 residents in 2001, less than one-third of the 5.6 murders per 100,000 in the USA, according to their respective departments of justice.]