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"Already reeling from severe economic sanctions, the once-proud nation of Libraria now braces for a military invasion that Bush administration insiders describe as long overdue.
â€œWeâ€™ve given them every opportunity to comply with inspections,â€? said Homeland Security director Tom Ridge, referring to Article 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act. â€œBut radical elements in Libraria have mocked the sanctions. Theyâ€™ve shredded records, theyâ€™ve purged computer files. This will not stand.â€?President Bush, during his press conference on Wednesday, stressed the urgency of the threat posed by Librarians. â€œWe know they are hiding something. And I promise the American people we will find it. Whatever it is.â€?
Analysts observe that the Bush administrationâ€™s policy differences with Libraria run deep. The presidentâ€™s key advisors have long decried the countryâ€™s economic system, saying privately that it borders on socialism. Richard Kidd, economist with the conservative Heritage Foundation, summed up the objections of many close to the administration: â€œThe whole place is an irresponsible free-for-all where nearly every commodity is furnished, even for the lazy and the unproductive. Libraria has been notoriously slow,â€? Kidd says, â€œto embrace the realities of the new global capitalism.â€?
The president indicated that regime change will bring â€œAmerican valuesâ€? to the rogue state. â€œThere are some good people in Libraria, right-thinking people,â€? Bush acknowledged during his press briefing. â€œSome Librarians do understand the importance of branding, corporate partnering, all those kinds of advanced economic theories. And we will work with those leaders, to restore fairness and common sense to Libraria.â€? But the US will have to make a strong case for the invasion if it hopes to win the support of a skeptical United Nations.
On Thursday, Secretary of State Colin Powellâ€™s dramatic 90-minute presentation before the UN Security Council cited intelligence reports of Librarian violations of Section 215 and showed alarming photos of â€œhighly suspicious packagesâ€? found in breakroom refrigerators throughout Libraria. Powell, who once accepted a $70,000 fee to share his wisdom with citizens of the embattled nation, concluded, â€œI have dealt with these people. I understand how they think. And I can tell you: we will be doing the world a favor by toppling this regime.â€? Moderate members of the Security Council have resisted the use of force, advocating instead continuation of the UNâ€™s controversial Food-for-Fines program.
Military experts agree that US troops will face few obstacles to a swift and decisive takeover. Although Libraria has an impressive infrastructure of fortresses and bunkers, many constructed of solid brick, most are now staffed by skeleton crews during dwindling hours of operation. Further, pointed out Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in a briefing last week, â€œmany of their most seasoned soldiers are afflicted with incontinence and failing eyesight.â€? Younger recruits, Rumsfeld says, are forced to work at low pay with little job security. â€œWe donâ€™t expect much resistance from them. Theyâ€™re apt to greet us with flowers and whimsical greeting cards. Those ones that you pass around and get everybody to sign.â€?
The US action, dubbed Operation Authority Control, has been years in the planning. On some fronts, the invasion has already begun. The footing of the impending ground assault was laid in April of this year when a secret team of US â€œcyber operativesâ€? infiltrated Librariaâ€™s Information Ministry in order to wreak havoc with its website, a mission Rumsfeld described as a â€œresounding success.â€?
Speculation has already turned to governance of a post-invasion Libraria. While the administration has said publicly that its goal is to have Librarians install their own leaders in accord with US aims for the region, an interim transition government remains a certainty. It will be headed, insiders say, by retired Lt. General Barnson Noble. â€œBarneyâ€™s a good man,â€? Bush told reporters Wednesday. â€œHeâ€™s got the kind of no-nonsense management style that you need in a place like Libraria, and he understands free-market principles. Barney will run things with a firm hand, an invisible hand. Weâ€™re in agreement on this. Weâ€™ll make sure that Libraria is run like a business.â€?"