WASHINGTON, Sept 28 - In the wake of devastation wrought by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Bush administration today announced a dramatic shift in national security policy.

“While our attention was focused on fighting evildoers,” said the president. “Our country was attacked by a new enemy, Mother Nature.”

“But from now on America will be prepared,” said Bush. “To you Mother Nature, I say ‘Bring it on!'”

The President announced that he will ask Congress for an additional $200 Billion in military spending for the new 'War on Nature'.

“Nature is not an enemy you always see coming,” said Bush. “She's wiley. Crafty. She changes tactics daily. One day she can attack you head on, using big angry bears, next time she will use something sly and hiding in the shadows, waiting to attack, like volcanoes.”

The announcement comes on the same day a new security report was released by the Rand Corporation, a conservative think tank. The document, entitled “Bears, Bees, and Brambles: The Enemy Within” lists over 48,000 possible threats to Homeland Security posed by natural forces. Threats listed include Hurricanes, Earthquakes, Falling Rocks and, Wet, Slippery Grass.

When asked how the War on Nature might affect the War on Terror, the president responded. “Well, it turns out there are bigger threats in the world than Osama Bin Laden. For example, gigantic falling trees. Or, how about big wild elephants. Have you see the size of them? They're huge.”

Other senior members of the administration were on hand to elaborate on the President’s remarks. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice provided the starkest picture yet of threat. “This time it is the very Earth itself that is threatening us,” stated Rice. “It is as if we are all living on one giant improvised explosive device.” To which she added: “Be afraid. Be very afraid.”

The Justice Department has also released a comprehensive list of organizations it has deemed “Natural Suspects,” alleged to have provided aid to Mother Earth. The list includes mainstream environmental groups such as the Sierra Club and World Wildlife Fund as well as more radical groups like the Earth Liberation Front and Greenpeace. Within hours Senate lawmakers introduced a bill that would allow police to wiretap plant nurseries and greenhouses across the country, which they claimed were a “breeding ground for Nature's footsoldiers."

When asked how the Pentagon will meet the new security challenge, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stated: “Well, there are things you think you know, and then there are things that are known only to the knower. In other words, if you don't know what I know, you'll just have to take my word for it.”

Vice President Dick Cheney, speaking from an undisclosed location, urged Americans to be patient in the War on Nature: “Mother Earth will not go down without a fight. She may throw more hurricanes at us. She may melt her polar icecaps and try to flood our cities. She may let in UV rays to burn us, or use acid rain. But we will not be deterred from our present course.”

“Realistically, the War on Nature will not be over in a day. It may take up to two, maybe three hundred years,” he said. “But in the end, we will stand victorious, above her smoldering, empty shell of a planet.”

--Joe Protester (gg) - 05--