Gallipoli For Dummies

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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 5000 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
Columbia, you might even 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 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 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 by 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 the 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.

October
20, 2004

Adam
Engel [send him mail]
is the author of numerous articles, essays, poems and stories, both
online and off. His long fiction, Topiary, will be published
by Dandelion Books in 2005.

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