Tom Purcell, 7/2/2007 [Archive]

If Washington Crossed The Delaware in 2007

If Washington Crossed the Delaware in 2007

By Tom Purcell

"Let me get this straight, Gen. Washington: You want us, the representatives of the Second Continental Congress, to fund a sneak attack on British troops starting on Christmas?"

"That is correct, sir. After we declared our independence from King George, he was most unhappy. He ordered his army to attack us. The Brits have made tremendous gains on our homeland."

"Gains, Washington?"

"Sir, whereas our Continental Army is something of a motley crew, the Brits are well-trained and well-funded. Their forces include Hessian mercenaries, professional fighters who are most skilled at the art of war."

"Your point, Washington?"

"The Brits beat us badly in Long Island, sir, forcing us to retreat to Manhattan. They beat us in Manhattan, causing us to retreat across the Hudson River into New Jersey. They beat us in New Jersey, forcing us to retreat across the Delaware River into Pennsylvania. It is there where my men are now encamped, sir. Our situation is desperate."

"What do you mean desperate, Washington?"

"We are on the verge of losing to the Brits, sir. The noble ideas and truths that our Declaration of Independence has advanced -- that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, including Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness -- are in danger."

"And the best you can come up with is a sneak attack?"

"Sir, the Hessians are known to drink and be merry on Christmas. We expect them to lay down their arms to partake in great merriment. By attacking them when they least expect it, we hope to beat them in New Jersey and turn the tides of this war in our favor."

"What exactly do you want from us, Washington?"

"Sir, my men are starving. Some are without shoes on their feet. The snow is falling and the temperature is unbearably cold. Yet all I ask is that you provide the additional resources we need to pull off the impossible."

"I see, Washington. It's government funding you're after. We'll consider providing such funding if you agree with our terms."

"Terms, sir?"

"You said your troops are comprised of men? Do you mean to tell us there are no women among your troops? That you are unaware of government diversity mandates, Washington!"

"Sir, I was barely able to assemble our ragtag group of soldiers as it was and I ... "

"And you say you're encamped along the Delaware River? I assume your men are cutting down trees and burning fires. Don't you care what your men are doing to the landscape, Washington? Do you have any idea what your carbon footprint is?"

"Carbon footprint?"

"And you're also ignorant of the Fair Labor Standards Act, Washington? Your men, employees of the government, are being worked well beyond the 40-hour work week. You pay them no overtime and now you want them to invade New Jersey on an official government holiday? Can you say 'lawsuits,' Washington?"

"Lawsuits, sir?"

"What's worse is that you intend to transport your troops across the Delaware on a series of boats! How could you not know that that stretch of river is home to the purple-bellied snorkel fish? And that the hibernation of this endangered species will be disturbed by your crossing!"

"The snorkel what, sir?"

"Look, Washington, I'm sure I speak on behalf of most of the representatives of this Congress and most Americans when I say this: Your war strategy has been prosecuted with great incompetence. We don't think we want to fund your lofty ideas anymore. We think it's time to bring the troops home."

"But we're at war, sir. This is no time for partisan politics. These are the times that try men's souls."

"Souls, Washington? Now you're trying to bring religion into it. You've lost your mind, Washington. You've gone bloody mad."

Tom Purcell is a humor columnist nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons. For comments to Tom, please email him at

RESTRICTIONS: 'Tom Purcell's column may not be reprinted in general circulation print media in Pennsylvania's Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, and Westmoreland Counties. It may appear only in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and its sister publications."

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