death walks the streets of New York

Breslin says it's in the faces of the people. But, no, it's not a reflection of memories of the the Trade Center destruction. It's the consciousness of the destruction yet to come.

On the streets yesterday, when greeting each other, people did it with no expression. Certainly, the cold had much to do with that, but this is a time when people do not smile anywhere.

You study the faces on television. I would not hire the press guy for the president, Ari Fleischer, for a job in a funeral parlor because he is too somber. I single him out because he is on TV a lot at this time.


But when you study faces anywhere, you can't find a smile.

The faces tell you the time in which you're living. The government is talking about a war with Iraq as if discussing a commuter train home. When we have the war, when we get the 101st Airborne in place, when the carrier group arrives, when the war starts at the end of February. The 8:42 to Long Beach.

The government talks about a war in terms of personal insults, deliberately keeping us waiting, by Saddam Hussein, of whom we're all sick and tired.

No one so far has talked about the number of people who will be killed in Iraq. We will lose great young people. Oh, there has to be tens of thousands of Iraq civilians killed. How can they bomb and invade without killing tens of thousands? Particularly those school children whose mothers dress them for the day and send them off to be blown apart by a smart bomb that turns dumb on the way down and hits a schoolhouse.

But death will not visit Iraq alone.
Of course, people display gloom. When you're in something this lousy it tells on everybody. The soul shows.

Bush talks about this war as if he is driving us to it on a one-way street. We bomb them. We flatten them under tank treads. What happens then? Why, America wins again! The Bush people want the thrill of the invasion news without having to read the casualty lists on the following days.

Neither he, nor anybody else, mentions the obvious fact that an attack on Iraq will cause a response someday. Maybe a month, a year, five years. They will come. And the only place they will attack is New York.

That came to mind naturally yesterday during a walk along the fence of the old World Trade Center site.

No suicide bomber wants to go Waco, Texas.

Nobody tries poison gas on Denver.

They can't wait to hit New York again.

And if there is one sure thing, this Bush and his southern Republicans will simply shuck off the news of anything happening to New York.

Thanks, Jimmy.