The Next Front … Watch Yer Back.
The Next Front … Watch Yer Back.
by Mark Driver
Yes, it’s a reoccurring theme: language is amazing. Slippery fun. Useful. Endlessly manipulatable. Marketing executives know this. So does corporate PR. So do governments. Those in authority have to continually sell fantasy in order to survive, to justify our reliance on their systems, and so they are liars, white washers, exaggerators, and conmen of the highest order. From newspaperman William Randolph Hearst’s bragging about single-handedly starting the Spanish-American War with fabricated stories designed to sell newspapers (“You provide the pictures,” he told a reporter in Cuba, “and I’ll provide the war.”) to a few months ago, when Colin Powell described, with a straight face, over 150 known chemical and biological weapon factories that were somehow chugging towards the total annihilation of North America. If you’re in a position of power, you maintain that power by being creating fear. You fabricate and twist. You create illusions. You confuse and conquer. You present a unified front. You use the innate (and inane) respect that many people have for authority, and you ram your schemes down their trusting throats.
I currently earn a majority of my living as a writer, producing blurbs and taglines for a museum in an attempt to increase attendance, attract donors, and publicize events. I do by best to manipulate people, using words to peak their interest, create emotional wants, play on their weaknesses, make cheap inroads into their guilty consciences. True, working as Minister of Information at an art museum is a rather benign position, but I’m good at what I do. I understand the game. You paint a picture of how people want their lives to be. You become their dream version of reality. You pretend you’re able to give them everything they want. Come to the museum! Yes, you will become cultured. You will be able to hold intelligent conversations. You will be inspired. Respectable. You will mix with the sort of people you wish you had dinner parties with. You will meet that special someone, a civilized, thoughtful, worldly person that will take you away from your drab day-to-day misery. As a good parent, don’t you owe it to your children to expose them to art, especially in today’s culturally deprived society, where television ruins minds and art programs have been cut from schools? Where will they be exposed to the greatness of the ages, to witness the highest echelons of human achievement? You don’t want them ending up on Jerry Springer, do you?
And so it goes.
Car commercials show the cute, happy couple winding down the scenic mountain road, holding hands and singing along with the radio, because they know that we want to be those people. Attractive, in love, and having fun adventures. They’re not going to show some ugly guy, hungover, in bumper-to-bumper traffic with a pile of fast food wrappers in the back, on the way to a job that bores the piss out of him, because reality doesn’t sell cars. It doesn’t sell wars either.
And if you’re not used to the business, you can get persuaded and emotionally aroused by official statements that sound correct-but under the slightest bit of analysis, actually make very little sense at all. Faulty conclusions are easily accepted when poor schooling and lousy nutrition have gummed up your thought process. Por ejemplo, US troops capture Abul Abbas, a terrorist involved in the hijacking of the Achille Lauro a few years back. Abbas happened to be captured in Baghdad, a city of 5 million people, which made some jackass in a uniform with a microphone in front of him say, “this is further proof of Saddam’s involvement with terrorism.” Which sounds right and, because you’re an idiot, you just sort of accept it. “Oh, terrorists. Good thing we invaded.” But if you’re in the top 1% of Americans who haven’t been whipped into a frothy, terrified mass of gullibility, you laugh and laugh and laugh. Because a statement like that? THAT’S FUNNY! “Further proof”? Where’s any proof? (Well, uh, we found a terrorist training camp south of Baghdad. Oops, no wait, that was just a Shiite kibbutz. At the Pleasure Palace, we found a day planner with Osama Bin Laden’s phone number in it. Well, we think it’s his phone number …) And I suppose it logically follows that since terrorist Jabbu Adawa had an apartment in Patterson, New Jersey, this gives further evidence to support to the fact that New Jersey Governor James McGreevey is an Al-Qaeda kingpin, and now it’s time to start bombing Patterson as potential Al-Qaeda headquarters.
So, in the spirit of official statements given by the US authorities, I’ve gone ahead and written a speech for Ari Fleischer, using the jumps in logic and retarded language of the current administration to depict the next obvious step in the United States of America’s perpetual and infinite War on Terrorism. Let’s join the speech, already in progress …
Members of the press, fellow Americans,
We live in troubled times. Shadowy regimes move against the interests of America, at home and abroad, and it is the duty for us, as Americans, to meet these challenges head on, to make the world safe for freedom, safe for families, and safe for democracy.
We have a new target in our War on Terrorism: the United States. This administration has received information that The United States of America is in current possession of weapons of mass destruction, a complex network of chemical, biological, and nuclear armaments, capable of killing the entire free world many times over. America has boldly demonstrated these weapons through many well-publicized tests, global weapons sales, and spreading of their manufacturing technology to terrorists, corrupt regimes, and rogue nations world-wide. Not only is the United States the largest possessor of weapons of mass destruction, itis the only country to have used nuclear weapons of mass destruction, on a fellow member nation of the UN, Japan, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 350,000 innocent civilians, certainly the largest terrorist attack in history.
The United States is a rogue nation that has, in its short and brutal history, consistently shown its belligerent nature, bringing war to peace-loving peoples of Britain, France, Spain, Iraq, Cambodia, Vietnam, Somalia, Afghanistan, Panama, Mexico, Grenada, Nicaragua, Cuba, the Philippines, Korea, Laos, Guatemala, and countless others. The United States is a nation that has shown little respect for international human rights, consistently flaunted international law, refused to sign international pollution controls, and has supported rogue terrorist regimes in Argentina, Iran, Nicaragua, Panama, South Africa, Haiti, Indonesia, Afghanistan, and until the mid-80s, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. In fact, the United States trained many Al-Qaeda operatives, including terrorist Osama Bin Laden, during Afghanistan’s war against the Soviet Union. A nation that provides training for terrorists is a nation that must be dealt with in the most serious of terms.
We know that there are terrorist cells training within the borders of the United States. Places like Michigan, Florida, and New Jersey harbor and protect countless terrorist groups, and serve as headquarters for fundraising operations that spread terror worldwide. A nation that harbors such evil must be brought to justice.
On the battlefront, the United States has provided enemy combatants who have taken up arms against United States soldiers. John Walker Lindh is but one of many soldiers whom the United States has allowed to cross its border and take up arms against the United States. We cannot allow a country that supplies soldiers and terrorists to continue forward in their quest to spread terror and endanger American servicemen and their families.
The United States currently allows international criminals to cross its borders freely, along with illegally documented workers, many of whom are ripe for involvement in terrorist plots. Illegal drugs, which are a major funding source for terrorist groups, also flow freely across its borders, clearly demonstrating unwillingness of the United States to stop activities that create support for terrorist acts like those of 9/11, terrorist acts that injure and endanger the American way of life. Do you know that right now, I can walk to any corner of any metropolitan city in America and buy heroin? And where does a large amount of heroin come from? The Middle East-proving further US ties to rogue elements in that region.
Domestically, the current bloodthirsty regime of the United States came to power by demonstrable fraud, a systematic disenfranchisement of democratic values organized by the ruling candidate’s family. The current regime has systematically looted a once prosperous nation’s economy, squandering billions of dollars in military armaments while an estimated one-fifth of its children go hungry. This junta has actively gutted social programs that benefit general citizenry, adopted national policies based in fanatical religious fundamentalism, exploded the nation’s indebtedness to creditors, and undertaken a fiscal policy that benefits the ruling elite at the cost of hard-working American families.
Corporate-controlled state television has been working hand-in-hand with military and governmental agencies to squelch serious dissent through a large-scale war of nationalist propaganda aimed at its own people. Internal domestic protests have been met with state-sponsored police violence, sweeping illegal arrests, chemical agents, and potentially lethal weapons. Increasingly draconian laws have put citizens under constant secret governmental surveillance and allow the current regime countless methods of intimidation and harassment.
For too long, the American people have suffered under a culture of fear, lies, exploitation, hard labor, state-sponsored violence, poverty, and racism. We can no longer turn our backs on their fates. The United States of America, in conjunction with coalition forces, must liberate the people of The United States of America from the clutches of the current regime of terror, so that democracy and Western ideals may once again overtake the historic Land of the Free. Civilized people of the world must agree that the United States is a demonstrable threat to the freedom-loving people of the United States and to freedom-loving people worldwide. We cannot stand by in silence as this rogue nation threatens our families, our livelihoods, our places of worship.
In a last attempt at peace, the United States has given the United States 48 hours to give up all weapons of mass destruction. We do not expect compliance. We, the people of The United States, are peacemakers, and we cannot have peace in a world run by dictators, corrupt regimes, and rogue nations who flaunt international law and UN regulations, attacking sovereign nations under false pretenses that result in the deaths of innocent women and children. Aircraft carriers are currently off the Atlantic coast, in striking distance. The liberation of New York City and Washington DC will soon begin, with the rest of the country following suit. We believe the American people will meet our liberation forces with smiles, dancing, and music in the streets. God bless us all, and God bless America.
We will not be taking any questions at this time.
And to answer a few emails …
Don’t you think the Iraqi people are now better off than when they lived under Saddam?
Well, the ones not among the now thousands of dead (iraqibodycount.com) might be, it depends what happens next. The people of Iran were far worse off after the British “liberated” them. We don’t exactly have a sunny record when it comes to installing our rulers. Usually it’s someone easily as brutal as the last guy, but at least he’s “our guy.” Regardless, “Iraqi liberation” came at the cost of a complete undermining of our democratic system. The administration’s justification for immediate war has proven to be a false pretense, obviously and purposely fabricated. Ignoring that means it’s open season on the world. Anything can be justified. I mean, I could run out into the street with my shotgun right now and kill every drug dealer, junkie, and bum on my block. Crime will go down for a while. That’s a good thing, right? Ends justify the means, right? If we, in our minds, can accept this, then the tradition and values of this great nation have been dealt a far more damaging blow than a bunch of third-world idiots with body-bombs could ever deliver. Fuck Baghdad. Rebuild Detroit.
What makes you think you have the inside track on truth? How can you be so smug about potential chemical and biological terrorist attacks?
Don’t listen to me. Listen to the Bush Administration, which has admitted to overblowing the threat of WMDs to sell morons like you on this war. We were showing the world how powerful we were. How they better look out for us. “Yeah, but they had to trick us, in order to save us.” Puhleeze. Overlords go home, and take your sheep with you.
Hey dipshit, when are you gonna stop going on about the stupid war and write another story that someone actually wants to read, like you getting drunk and falling in a hole or something?
Never fear, my blissful brother, Operation Escapist Drivel has been given the green light, and the production experts in the studio have already begun working on my next column, which will make zero references to Bush, butchered Iraqi babies, starvation, genital herpes, or anything real that actually matters.
Which one had the mustache, Hall or Oates?
Oates. And may God have mercy on our souls.
What the hell is up with your book? It’s taking forever, you shithead!
Look, I don’t know how many of you have ever written a book before, but IT TAKES A LONG TIME. This thing is 350 pages long! When you hear about some prodigy churning out a masterpiece in 3 months, that writer IS A FREAK. I’m currently fortunate enough to be able to work on it every day, and as of this writing, the final edit is 57% done. Progress is being made. When I finish, I’m handing it off to Sir Rodney (who actually edited many fine titles in the Conan series while starving in New York), and he’s gonna do the editor thing on the book’s ass. Then I’m gonna read through it one more time, then I’m gonna have it printed. So fuck you. And thank you for caring.