by Robert Gaiek
This is an open letter to all female (turtles) republican voters to urge some caution in the weeks and months ahead. The males (peacocks) are preening feathers and stalking around hoping to soon seduce you into believing that nuclear war is once again a good idea. I use this barnyard analogy very cautiously, being married to a registered republican female voter, but it is the best I could come up with on short notice. I recently read a disturbing article in the Guardian entitled "U.S. Plan for New Nuclear Arsenal."
We learn that the "Bush administration is planning a secret meeting in August to discuss the construction of a new generation of nuclear weapons." The military and nuclear scientists would also decide "how to convince the American public that the new weapons are necessary." If you are already aware that "focus groups" brought you the duct tape and plastic folly, I should have your full attention by now.
It is my duty, as a reformed American Peacock, to let the turtles in on some secrets we usually don't like to reveal but are pretty obvious shortcomings we do our best to hide. First of all, it is helpful to hyphenate the word peacock. The first part of the word describes what we do a lot when we are afraid; the second part of the word gives a hint as to what governs most of our actions the rest of the time. It helps explain why we are so ready to guffaw loudly when old Rumsfeld really nails those French pussies (cats). The media has convinced us that the French are better lovers than fighters and we can only respond by pointing out that our guns are bigger--we feel that size not only matters, but it is all that matters. Our biggest fear is that a lady turtle will label us "girly boys." What could be worse?
When you hear the neocons in the Bush administration boast that we are the greatest superpower in the history of the world, it begs the question: why do we need a new generation of "nukes" to prove our manliness? Why does the deadliest killing machine the world has ever conceived need neutron bombs? When we brag that it will only take a few days to obliterate the pathetic Iraqi army, just why is it that they are so dangerous to our national security? But that's an issue of patriotism, right? A moral matter of bringing peace and freedom to the world; a matter of instilling our family values into a society that stubbornly refuses to accept Jesus as everyone's personal savior.
Well, lady turtles, the answer is cowardice; it is fear that we might get a bloody nose while we engage in long distance, high altitude (safe) slaughter. The administration that advocates abstinence rather than "safe sex" in turtle-peacock relations, boasts about our prowess when engaging in the "safe slaughter" of Iraqi teenagers. The "guns" on our tanks in the first Gulf War were so much bigger and longer than the "guns" on the Iraqi tanks; it was not even a sporting competition. With the added oomph! of depleted uranium shells, we turned those Arabs into crispy critters faster than you could say, "hold the French fries." As George Patton would say, "God, I love it so."
However, our greatest fear is to display cowardice. We can gain some insight regarding this reality in an old Seinfeld episode. George Costanza found himself at a birthday party for the son of one of his new girlfriends. When a small grease fire started in the kitchen, George trampled over kids and old ladies alike as he fought to be the first one out the door. All the peacocks in the audience guffawed, the laughing tempered by the secret fear that we might panic in the same way in a crisis. In reality, it explains why so many of us have Purple Hearts and Bronze or Silver Stars.The fear of appearing to be a coward is sometimes greater than the fear of dying. It also helps to explain why drill sergeants, early on, take raw recruits through a hands on exercise that requires one to repeat, "this is my rifle, this is my gun," alternating between grabbing crotch and rifle, just so you don't forget in combat.
Turtles For Enduring Peace
Maybe it's time the turtles take a more proactive role in formulating military and foreign policy. I know this will be difficult, but we desperately need your help. My own "turtle" has been strongly resisting, pulling in feet and head under the safety of the shell whenever I suggest that George Bush is just a wee bit out of control; that he is giving new meaning to the term "nuts." But then again, Bush never went through basic training and may not know the difference between rifle and gun. But who can teach him, now that the world is his classroom?
Bill Clinton, on the other hand, intuitively knew the difference. That may explain why Tom Friedman called him an American Idol in describing his visit to Germany several months ago, when the streets were filled with well-wishers professing their love and admiration for an American President and his fellow citizens. The recent weekend of peace marches provided a sharp contrast as to how the world views the current American president and his pal, the once popular Tony Blair.
A CBS poll conducted after the State of Disunion speech by Bush revealed that 97% of republicans just loved their cocky president. That means an awful lot of turtles are taken in by the preening of a wonderful guy you can trust to safely tuck you in at night, while spending countless billions to make modern warfare ever more violent and exciting for the small screen. This is all done with a vicious slicing of programs for social welfare and national security.
It is time to ask a very important question: do you feel safer than you did on, say, 9/21/01? Is it possible that the 21 people trampled in the Chicago nightclub died because a panicky peacock sprayed some mace at a group of people already semi-hysterical because of a phony orange alert? And how about that mentally deranged peacock in Seoul who dropped a lighter, igniting flammable liquid and killing 130 people in a subway fire? Will a coalition of the willing protect you and your children when it really counts? Will they protect you from homegrown anthrax and the next Tim McVeigh? You can argue yourself silly on that matter, but be very cautious about letting a zoo full of chickenhawk peacocks get hold of boutique nukes.
Let's not even talk about Osama bin Laden, the guy who started all this hysteria and promises to "die in the belly of the eagle," code for the martyrdom he has planned for American soil sometime this year. If you honestly believe the cocky Little Caesar in the White House can protect you with nukes, while alienating most of the civilized world, then you are a victim of abuse who can never seem to get enough (It feels so good when it stops). The little strutting peacock already warned you that he couldn't stop another terrorist attack--in a rare moment of truth. And for the turtles in Orange County, California, will the new version of star wars protect you from the nukes owned by the "little pygmy" in North Korea? The CIA claims he can already hit your gazebo if the wind is right.
The reality is that Kim Jong IL is a porn aficionado with a tremendously dangerous and powerful conventional military force. George Bush publicly insisted that he "loathes" the little guy and threatened to nuke him when he finishes off Saddam. The Korean dictator wants a face-off with Bush and an apology, along with a promise of non-aggression. Bush insists that it is not a crisis and it is up to China, Japan, and South Korea to do the appeasing. He is cocksure about all this and determined to never be called a Wimp.
As for my part, I sort of miss the days when we had a president who actually listened to the polls, instead of just trying to manipulate people to respond to polls in a pre-determined way. Think about it. I've been a peacock long enough to know that endurance counts. Give peace a chance for just a little longer--and make it last a generation. We can only achieve peace one generation at a time.
Bob Gaiek is an Army veteran living in
Lawrenceville, Georgia. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org