With a defense budget...wait, let's cut with the bullshit: With a war budget of over $350 billion dollars per year, even a Soldier of Fortune subscriber might be wondering if we taxpayers are getting our money's worth. Is all the legal tender being funneled away from social programs making anyone except defense contractors feel safe? And who are the folks trusted with the responsibility of allotting that monumental sum?
I didn't exactly have to waste hours scouring exact expenditures to get the feeling that US decision makers fall into the Austin Powers/Maxwell Smart league.
Logging on to www.1stheadlines.com, I found an item from the British press that got me started. In the name of turning Hussein's people against him, the US Central Command is broadcasting anti-Saddam propaganda over Iraqi radio. Along with the following excerpts, I was going to take time to offer examples to show precisely how hypocritical the messages are. After re-reading them, I came to the conclusion that it'd be best to stand back let 'em be.
To the soldiers of Iraq:
"Since the beginning of time, there has been no profession more honorable than that of a soldier. Soldiers are decorated with awards and medals that show their achievements and mark their skills. The uniform of a soldier is an article that demands respect, and loyalty. Soldiers are the defenders of their people, and the protectors of women and children. A soldier is willing to sacrifice himself for his country and their way of life. Soldiers sacrifice their own personal freedoms to protect others. Saddam has tarnished this legacy. Saddam spews forth political rhetoric along with a false sense of national pride to deceive these men to serve his own unlawful purposes. Saddam does not wish the soldiers of Iraq to have the honor and dignity that their profession warrants. Saddam seeks only to exploit these brave men. Saddam uses the soldiers of Iraq not as protectors of the peace, but rather as his own personal bodyguards. Do not let Saddam tarnish the reputation of soldiers any longer. Saddam uses the military to persecute those who don't agree with his unjust agenda. Make the decision."
To the people of Iraq:
"Throughout the history of the world, mankind has shown a desire to progress and expand. Great leaders have built vast civilizations and empires that spanned continents. These leaders have sponsored education programs, paved vast roads, and built housing for the less fortunate. The leaders of the past have turned deserts into arable land, and created innovations which made life easier for their people. The great leaders of the past are known for their generosity and charity towards their own people, as well as their neighboring lands. In Afghanistan, once the Taliban was removed from power, the standard of living drastically improved. Relief aid is pouring into Afghanistan and is appropriately distributed. Schools are open and people all across Afghanistan are better off. However, there have been leaders who were not moved by charity and good will. These leaders were motivated solely by greed and power. Josef Stalin was one such leader. Stalin was set on world domination, and it was his regime that began nearly a half-century of brutal domination through Eastern Europe. Stalin oppressed his people as he ruled over his country with an iron fist. During his reign as a dictator, Stalin killed and imprisoned millions of his own people. Millions of others were forcefully displaced and ended up living many miles away from their own homes. This dictator cared nothing for his own people, he merely sought to exploit them to perpetuate his regime and flawed ideology. In the end, the world has paid a higher price for not stopping men like Stalin when they had the chance. Many millions of people have lost their lives needlessly under these oppressive regimes and in wars started by these leaders. The loss of life and the needless suffering could have been minimized had action been taken sooner. History has shown that appeasement of brutal domineering regimes only brings greater tragedy. Saddam too has a lust for power, and the world will stand up and put an end to the terror he imposes on others, before he destroys Iraq and crushes the hopes of its proud people."
(The website also printed samples of leaflets being dropped by the US and Britain over Iraq. After downloading the radio scripts, I went back for the leaflets but all mention of the scripts and leaflets had vanished. A call has been put in to Lt. Frank Drebin to investigate.)
With the Iraq situation obviously in good hands, the US still has a few billion or so leftover for use in the war on terror...what's next, a war on fear? I think I prefer anxiety or dread. And you can be certain the geniuses that run things are all over it. In fact, the January 5, 2003 New York Times gave us a inside look at the way super spies operate.
In a piece entitled, "On the Scent of Terrorists," reporter Nicholas Wade tells us that Darpa (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) is looking for "someone to develop a sniffing machine that can detect individuals by their body odor."
Ollie might call this a "neat idea."
Dubbing it, "the grand patron of exotic military arts" (although admitting that "not everything it does works") Wade explains that Darpa is soliciting "innovative proposals to (1) determine whether genetically-determined odortypes can be used to identify specific individuals, and if so (2) to develop the science and enabling technology for detecting and identifying specific individuals by such odortypes."
Wade himself does some soliciting...for "experts" to quote.
Dr. Gary Beauchamp, director of the Monell Chemical Sense Center in Philadelphia, noted "that odors can be detected through just a handful of molecules" and thus "the smells from a fugitive can linger for hours or days."
Peter Mombaerts of Rockefeller University: "The general idea is not that far-fetched or outrageous."
Armed with such unanimous, well-rounded support, Wade proffers an example of precisely how un-outrageous this plan is: "Supposing the C.I.A. had picked up an old jalabia worn by Ayman al-Zawahiri or Mullah Omar, perhaps it could waft the odors into Darpa's people sniffer and take the instrument on an interesting tour of the back country of Afghanistan or Yemen."
I just hope they invite Inspector Clousseau along for the ride...
Mickey Z. is the author of The Murdering of My Years: Artists and Activists Making Ends Meet (www.murderingofmyyears.com) and an editor at Wide Angle (www.wideangleny.com). He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.