Hello, Boobus Americanus. It's been almost two years since we last spoke. You've gotten yourself into all sorts of mischief since then. War, environmental meltdown, economic distress. You're a mess. All because you follow THE MAN, even though THE MAN, in HIS current incarnation, is a coterie of fanatics, Chicken Hawks, religious zealots, liars, dual-loyalists and outright traitors.
The first order of business really should be that $400 Billion of YOUR tax money HE and his Congressional YESMEN are spending on a military that exists not to defend your home, but attack HIS enemies. In this case, all those nukes, at least 5,000 stored away complete with missiles to deliver them, might serve you well. For a couple of billion dollars, keep 'em oiled and shiny and ready to launch and I guarantee you no one -- except those pesky terrorists -would bother to attack you. If you pulled your $400 Billion military out of all the places in the world it shouldn't be present and stopped giving away military "gift packages" to countries like Israel and Colombia, you might find that even the terrorists wouldn't bother you. Then all you'd need is a coast guard and the organized militias they talk about in the Constitution.
Plenty of guns in America, and plenty of folks who know how to use them. No, I don't think you'd have to worry about enemies at least for a couple of years if you just kept up your mega-death arsenal strictly for security purposes and stayed the hell out of other peoples' business. But that's beyond your comprehension, your development, which stopped at the fifth grade or so. America is GOOD and it needs all that dough to do GOOD DEEDS in the world like blow up foreign citizens to liberate them from their own evil dictators. Of course they'd rather be blown to bits by us than live under repression, as we define it. That goes without saying.
Well, no matter. The fact that $400 billion dollars spent on health care, education, alternative energy sources, environmental clean up, public transportation, or just GIVEN BACK to the tax payers Uncle Sam stole it from would go a long way to solving many of our problems at home is irrelevant. We have no say in the matter. THE MAN wants what HE wants and what HE wants is your tax money to build his mighty military. You don't think HE'D pay for it HIMSELF do you? (though, according to Kevin Phillips, Wealth and Democracy, HE might actually have the means.)
Okay, let's pretend that whole “support our troops” mantra is not a cynical ploy to get Boobus Americanus to shut up while THE MAN sends American "boys and girls" to invade and occupy foreign countries. Let's pretend these troops are protecting the East Coast from an imminent attack from the combined forces of Iceland and Greenland, while simultaneously others are sent to defend the West Coast from that Rogue State Aggressor, Tahiti.
Why are veterans losing benefits? Why are troops unfortunate enough to be wounded in action losing combat pay and money sent to their families? Why on earth is the “mightiest military in history” so lacking in “support” for its own troops that families and friends of those troops have to pitch in to buy the proper body armor? Is this 21st Century America or 15th century Poland? $400 billion dollars and the troops aren't even supplied with the "best gear" to do the job (of defending the “Homeland” from two-pronged invasion from Tahiti on the West and the Greenland-Iceland Axis on the East).
Well, to be honest, I don't know much about military history, other than that Sherman invented the modern slash and burn style of warfare (glamorized in the burning of Atlanta scene from “Gone with the Wind”) and that Napoleon had a teeny, tiny little dinky, which might, had psychoanalysis been around in his day, have explained a lot of things.
But I do know that an ill-equipped army is called "rag-tag." Now, some rag tag armies have done remarkable things, because the soldiers believed in the cause they were fighting for, namely, their home, friends, family and freedom. Washington's men had no shoes at Valley Forge, and the Spartans were massively outnumbered by Persians at Thermopylae. And I'm sure if our troops really were protecting us from a two-front war with Tahiti on the West and the Greenland-Iceland axis on the East, they'd be as motivated as any team, real or imagined, Knute Rockne put on the field for Notre Dame, ready to win one for “The Gipper,” whether in flack jackets or pajamas.
But in reality, THE MAN sent “our troops” to invade two foreign countries, Afghanistan and Iraq, for no discernible purpose other than to secure oil, military bases and other corporate/government goodies that have nothing to do with the safety of mom and her frozen apple pie (to be defrosted, nuked, and lathered with canned whip cream when "Johnny and Janey" come marching home again, hurrah).
$400 billion plus extra for the Iraq scam -- including no-bid contracts for Halliburton and other BuschCo sponsors -- and people must literally support our troops with store bought equipment? How can THE MAN get away with that without sparking a mass rebellion? Even Hitler and Stalin spared no expense when it came to the sacred cow of the military.
I'll tell you, Boobus, if you don't already know -- I know you're kind of slow on the uptake. THEY, THE MAN, the ones who control you and your momma and yer little dog too, know that all they have to do is wave a flag, play a brassy tune by Souza, and accuse you of being "unpatriotic" and you'll let them get away with murder. Not merely murdering sub-human foreigners, but your own sons and daughters.
But something happened last week, something extraordinary. An entire Platoon said NO. Threatened with imminent extinction because, according to them, the blessed military higher ups were going to send them to battle in old, shoddy vehicles, they refused to be suckers. YOU supported our troops when they bombed Baghdad to bits, and you supported them when they raped prisoners in Abu Ghraib. Will you support these troops, who refused to be sent naked to battle? Remember that movie, Gallipoli, starring Mel "Jesus and me are Mishbucha" Gibson, when Australian troops were fighting a battle that had nothing to do with protecting Australia but everything to do with protecting British interests during WWI? They were out-manned and out-gunned by the Turks -- again, what argument could they have possibly had with Turkey? Ever look at the proximity of the two countries on a map?-- but because of the arrogance of their British superiors, who knew the situation but would rather Australians die en masse than allow the Empire to be humiliated mere Turks, sent them into a wall of machine gun fire and like obedient little Boobus Australiani, they went (except for Mel, who asked himself, "What would Jesus do?" in such a situation and hence, survived to fight more worthwhile battles against drug dealers on the streets of L.A. and British Imperialists in Scotland.
This platoon that said "No" was not composed of lefty academics or pesky, "liberal" journalists. Most of them, from what I've read, were "plain folks" from down south where, I'm told, they take the military and their roles in it quite seriously. An entire platoon. Not one "chicken hawk" or a clique of shirkers, but an entire platoon of seventeen soldiers decided to face arrest rather than die needlessly because THE MAN doesn't support our troops.
I'm not sure what this means, Boobus, but I know it's something, something big. How can we the people support our troops if the goddamn $400+ Billion army can't -- or won't? Well, as I said, my knowledge of military history boils down to Sherman's marauders and the size of Napoleon's pizzle. But this one, this renegade platoon thing, sure is a thinker.
Why don't YOU figure it out.
Adam Engel is the author of numerous articles, essays, poems and stories, both online and off. His long fiction, TOPIARY will be published in 2005 by Dandelion Books. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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