Have a secure Christmas and police state New Year

As I waited in line at my local U.S. post office today, I read a notice
announcing the end of "Operation Dear Abby." Evidently, in happier
times the post office would send packages to soldiers overseas
without any specific person identified as the recipient; if one addressed
a gift to "Operation Dear Abby" or to "Any Servicemember," the
item would be paired with a soldier chosen at random. The flier on
the wall said that the program had been scrapped in response to
"security" concerns.

A recent story in an Illinois newspaper reports Pentagon fears that "terrorists
would use [Operation Dear Abby]...to dump chemical or biological toxins into
the military mail."

"It's not that we don't want things to go to our soldiers," said
Lt. Col. Alicia Tate-Nadeau.

"It's an issue of force protection, of keeping them out of harm."

.... This holiday season, Defense officials are discouraging the
shipment of any bulk mail items, even from family members or
loved ones.

"'America has had a strong tradition of sending cards and packages
to troops, but in this case, whenever we do that, it poses a security
risk and bogs down the shipping system, so that it takes longer
to send things like replacement pieces of equipment,' she said."

* * * * * * * * * * *

Soon to appear on the North Chatham post office bulletin board:

If you spot a bearded man in a red suit coming down your chimny,
notify authorities immediately! It's likely an "enemy combatant."