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The Washington Post Company
Right On Target
By Art Buchwald
July 10, 2001
There is talk on Martha's Vineyard that the Navy is looking at Nantucket as a substitute for bombing and target practice on Vieques, Puerto Rico. A source who could not be named told me, "Nantucket is perfect for bombing and strafing. It has sandy beaches and the Navy is willing to buy the few houses on the island."
"Won't the residents be angry?"
"We'll only bomb the beaches and the town. The Marines will use their tanks to practice taking the harbor."
"It sounds good to the people living on Martha's Vineyard," I said.
"We are getting resistance from some of the natives on Nantucket. They want to know why the Navy doesn't use Martha's Vineyard instead." He continued, "Martha's Vineyard has too many people on it, and they don't want to be disturbed. Besides, the only good beach target is always crowded with topless bathers."
"Do you have any angry people trying to stop you by protesting the use of Nantucket for target practice?"
"Yes, the green people -- they are called green because they wear green pants with white whales on them -- have threatened to picket the area as soon as the shooting starts."
"That should make it fun," I said.
"But if they go on any property that is off-limits, they will be arrested and thrown into jail."
"Look," the man said. "We're not just setting up a shooting gallery. We have to test somewhere, and what makes Nantucket so attractive is that it is out to sea, and removed from the mainland. It's perfect for planting land mines."
"When do you think you will have it ready?"
"Well, President Bush has ordered Vieques closed in 2003, but I would say next August. The haggling over the real estate will begin soon. The people on the island have inflated ideas of what their houses are worth, and we must stay within the Pentagon budget. We also have to think of the taxpayers, who wouldn't want us to pay too much for the land."
"What can people on Martha's Vineyard do to make the people on Nantucket happy?"
"Treat them with respect and sympathy. Open up your homes to them. Take them clamming and let them know you care. As usual, someone has to be a political pawn in a situation like this, and better them than you. I have to go now and dredge the Nantucket Harbor."