News today that Israel is preparing to vaccinate its entire population for small pox because America is about to attack Iraq.

So the logic of this seems to be that Saddam will lash out at Israel with whatever he's got if America attacks him -- as if an attack on Israel is an attack on America.

One supposes that Saddam will "small pox" Israel using the same technique that Hamas has employed to great effect: the walking, talking, seeing, scheming, human missile known as the suicide or homicide bomber. In this case, someone infected who just walks around in Israel like a small pox Johnny Appleseed, planting plague wherever he or she sets foot.

The Israelis are taking this seriously and everybody is getting a vaccine. So what about us?

Shortly after the anthrax attacks last year, the government ginned up some hand wringing about small pox and promptly ordered three hundred million small pox vaccine doses.

Now the bad news here is that some small number of people will actually get small pox from the vaccine and will likely die of a terrible brain fever. A very icky thing for a government to do.

But nonetheless the Israelis seem to be on to something that we ought to pay attention to.

If Saddam is attacked, he will doubtless strike back. How will that come? If he doesn't have his suitcase nukes yet, does that mean he won't lash back? I doubt it.

He will do something. And if it is a smallpox infected tourist getting on a plane in Barcelona, say, and getting off at JFK or Newark, or Denver, or Chicago, or Phoenix, or LAX -- or say dozens of such infected tourists going to all those places and more at once -- it could get very, very ugly here very fast.

And who's to say those Palestinian kids who are so anxious to blow themselves up wouldn't be willing to get sick to attack America? Dying is dying. Small pox is just a bit slower than a belt bomb.

I hope our smart guys are thinking about this. Evidently they are in Israel and we should too.

That's My Word.

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