Our reader Brian Rudnick: Open Letter to President Bush

Listening to your speech I felt very reassured that my vote in last year's Presidential election was the right one

After all you're doing for the Afghan people when are they going to start thanking US? My niece loves those astronaut-like food rations you're air dropping along with the bombs and the Afghans are getting their food packs for free! Ditto for the crank-up short wave radios you're air dropping; isn't it funny that their radios pick up only one channel, Voice of America, I think, but the one I had to buy at Radio Shack seems to pick up everything but that channel? At my foster daughter's urging I'm doing my patriotic duty to help keep the economy going by buying, buying, buying. I bought the aforementioned radio and have been buying truckloads of canned food to replenish our Y2K supply and maybe to help out the neighbors in a pinch. I only wish I had been "with it" enough like other Americans to buy some stock in Bayer before "Got Cipro?" became as popular as "Got Milk?" Another thing I like about this war is hearing John Philip Sousa marching band songs while shopping in Kmart! I even took out my neglected trumpet when I got home.

For the first time in weeks I tried to get back to my normal routine and decided to watch "Mystery," one of my favorite shows on PBS. I was a little ticked off when I learned the broadcast had been preempted - by you! But listening to your speech I felt very reassured that my vote in last year's Presidential election was the right one. And now that US is becoming good buddies with the military dictator of Pakistan, I realize just how open your mind is! You sounded really excited when you announced that this is the first war of the 21st Century. US being smack in the middle of this first war is just part of what it means to say "Keep America First!" I am concerned, however, that with some of these bombs costing $600,000 each, we might not be getting enough "bang for our buck" especially when you compare it with the cost of a box of box cutters. I know that you're relying on the good counsel of your advisors and even picked one of our own from Pennsylvania, former Governor Tom Ridge for Director of Homeland Security. I applaud you on the choice of "Homeland"; it is gender-neutral unlike "Fatherland." Here in Pennsylvania I felt much safer upon learning that the airports at Harrisburg and Lancaster were shut down to guard against some jerk taking out the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant. Might someone in your office check out the Limerick nuclear power plant- the towers of this one I can see from near my home in Philadelphia!? Also, it's great how you're reaching out to Muslims and saying nice things about Islam. Don't you think we could really get this message across by replacing "IN GOD WE TRUST' on the next roll of money that's printed with "IN ALLAH WE TRUST'. After the war, maybe the Afghan cotton industry can be retooled to produce American flags for sale to US! And I have one last idea: where the World Trade Center towers once stood, let's make a hollow to express the hollowness of our hearts and the hollowness of our heads in the aftermath of September 11. You terrify me.

Brian Rudnick Philadelphia, Pennsylvania October 23, 2001

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