United States military forces bombed the Amazon rainforest today, Pentagon officials said. The predawn assault targeted key habitats of several crucial wildlife species, thought to have been dug in for many years.
“Parrots hate freedom,” President Bush said in a press conference shortly after the first squadron of B-2s left a base in San Paolo. “We will locate those evildoers and smoke them out.”
At least 5,000 acres of dense forest have been leveled, and another 2,000 are currently burning, according to Brazilian authorities. A small number of animals were reported to have survived the initial strike, including jaguars, freshwater dolphins, and some rare snakes. However, helicopter-borne paratroopers subsequently swooped in and destroyed the survivors. There were no American casualties, although one Special Forces commando said a monkey dropped a coconut on his head.
“We don’t know how they got coconuts,” Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld said.
The Amazon offensive, called “Operation Courageous Bravery,” immediately follows the heavy strafing of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and, earlier this month, the Chicago Zoo. These previous strikes met with overwhelming public support in these patriotic times, although a minority of critics claim the Alaskan maneuver failed to uproot key caribou. Bush has suggested that additional troops might one day go in to explore the region’s vast network of caribou caves.
For now, though, the president said he was pleased with the success of the Amazon mission in eradicating rogue species. “Make no mistake,” Bush said, “this is a proud moment for American independence. We refuse to be terrorized by slothful sloths and spineless millipedes.”
Although the Amazon rainforest is known for its unusual abundance of insect life, Rumsfeld emphasized that millipedes and other operatives could well be functioning in other nations, too. Such operatives and the ecological niches that house them should consider themselves warned, the president said.
“In this new world, you’re either with America, or you’re with the tapirs,” Bush announced. “And if the Amazon region continues to harbor the enemy, then the Amazon is the enemy.”
At one point in the press conference, the president was asked whether the Amazon raid would yield significant new natural resources. “Let me say this,” Bush replied. “I am an American, and I was born an American.”
Rumsfeld and Bush later indicated that documentaries usually found on public television would now be screened by the government. “Giant Anteater: Gentle Edentate” will not be shown Thursday at 8 p.m. for fear that the footage could contain coded messages.
“Your standard anteater, for example, is a tricky species,” Bush said, pointing at a photograph taken by army intelligence. “Obviously they’d have us believe it’s just a matter of eating ants.”
Here the president grew serious. “Our victory will require patience and fortitude,” he said. “Exactly how much of each is difficult to say, because we don’t speak African, or the other Amazon languages. But know this: We’re aware of these species, and we’re standing tall today.”
Get Grist in your inbox