An ill wind blows this Christmas

Columnist : Albert Paschall

“Said the night wind to the little lamb
Do you see what I see?”

With those words a French poet and decorated veteran of World War II opened a children’s song 40 years ago this week. Noel Regney’s ‘Do you hear what I hear?’ became a classic within a year and has been recorded by more than 100 artists around the world.

Today what would the shepherd boy hear? The deadly beating of the drums of war. From the Euphrates River to the Yellow Sea the gates of hell-on-earth are getting ready to open and they threaten to make the night wind an ill one for all of us.

In Iraq, as the bogus UN weapons inspections continue what the United States is really looking for is the Baghdad barbarian’s poor man’s cruise missile. Made of plastic and wood, weighing less than 700 pounds, the Iraqi so-called sub-scud has a range of nearly 400 miles and flies under radar at speeds up to 800 miles an hour. It can hold a warhead charge of 50 pounds.

With a short launch path it could easily be fired from a cargo ship anchored outside Baltimore’s harbor just a few minutes by air from Harrisburg. If it were armed with a dirty bomb, a conventional charge wrapped with radioactive gas its potential for death is limited but the economic disruption it would cause as the state capital closed for years is incalculable. Armed with one of Sadam’s other potions, like smallpox, nobody can even guess how many will die. The butcher of Baghdad relishes downtown Tel Aviv as a target. Israeli, a long time member of the world’s nuclear club, has vowed immediate and punishing retaliation if it is targeted again by Iraqi missiles.

On the other side of the world it shouldn’t come as any surprise that North Korea’s demonic leadership never kept the promises it made to the Clinton administration in 1994 to stop producing nuclear weapons nor that the Clinton administration didn’t bother to see if they were being kept. North Korea’s second generation Taepo Dong missile has developed a launch range well in excess of 1,000 miles making Tokyo, Manila and Honolulutargets. Experts believe that North Korea’s nuclear program is well advanced and capable of producing bombs far larger than those that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki and that it won’t be long before Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle are on North Korean target rosters.

Ronald Reagan once said: “we’ll do everything we can for peace but we will never surrender for it.” When religious and political fanatics secure weapons whose only purpose is to destroy us we have no choices left. If left to evolve the Iraqi and North Korean weapons programs will leave no place on earth safe.

Forty years ago when Regney and his wife Gloria wrote ‘Do you hear what I hear?’ he didn’t imagine it being a children’s song. Terrified by the near-miss nuclear catastrophe of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis he wrote it as a prayer. With the ill winds of war blowing all over the world this Christmas his words have never rung with more truth: ‘pray for peace people everywhere’ hoping that someday before it’s too late the one God who made us all answers them.

Albert Paschall
Senior Commentator
The Lincoln Institute of Public Opinion Research, Inc.
[email protected]