Dateline: New Orleans. As floodwaters still give the city the ambiance of "taking a sauna in a high-crime drainage ditch", according to humorist PJ O'Rourke, the National Guard has been called out to quell, well, something or other in the wake of a television appearance by Ray Nagin. "This is our line in the sand," said the city's head publicity hound, "We're saying we're not going any further. Also, it's Bush's fault."
The mood of the troops on the street was one of bewilderment. "I'm not sure what the governor thinks a mechanized infantry company is supposed to do here," said Captain Jablonski, commander of Alpha Company of the 323rd, standing on a street corner in the French Quarter, "but we'll try to carry out the mission anywa... Hang on," and then he shouted into his handset "Fire mission: Jaywalkers in the open, adjust fire, over." Shells from howitzers began bursting down Bourbon Street as he turned back to our reporter. "Anyway," he said with a shrug, "It's all pretty damn confusing."
The orders to deploy came on the heels of the shooting death of five juveniles in what police suspect was a drug deal gone sour. Mayor Anthony Williams, of Washington DC, is watching the proceedings with interest. "I never realized that you can get all these soldiers to play with just because some dope dealer ganks another one. Hell, that happens all the time here. Maybe I can get them to let me use Predator drones on DUIs." Mayor Shirley Franklin of Atlanta was said to be considering calling in airstrikes from the F/A-18's based at the Naval Air Station in Marietta as part of a proposed urban renewal project, but was biding her time until a properly tearjerking crime would let her plead for military assistance.