Sweatpants for Everyone!

Sweatpants for Everyone!

by Mark Driver

Now, on CNN, it’s the reality television show we’ve all been waiting for, Buried by America! That’s right! Who will survive allied attempts to put every minor Iraqi official out of his misery? Watch as real families competitively scramble out from underneath the wreckage of their homes, cry over the loss of what meager earthly possessions they owned, rub the sleepy-dust out of their eyes, and grieve over the mangled corpses of last week’s losers. Oh oh! An informant just told Central Command that Saddam is having high tea with your neighbor. Smile for the audience, you’ve just been Buried by America! Follow the cameras, cleverly hidden in bombs, as they fall into some wacky places. The public market? Whoops! A journalist hotel? That camera looked like a scud launcher. Your neighborhood mosque? Zing! There was probably some artillery in there anyway! The drama increases as we decide … who loses? Who wins? Who will enjoy liberation? Who will be Buried by America? Buried by America, you can’t run … and you can’t hide either. Only on CNN—real journalism, real fast.

Before our latest war, I was totally planning on moving to Afghanistan. Because we invaded it, kicked the Taliban’s ass, and, just like we promised, we rebuilt the entire country and turned it into a shining example of American goodwill and Western democratic ideals. We totally finished the job, just like we promised, because we’re the Greatest Nation on Earth, and totally true to our word. Women can play rock ‘n’ roll music in the streets now, so it’s gotta be a great place to be, right? New roads, modern hospitals, well-stocked grocery stores, the Internet in every classroom. That was the deal we made. We liberated the poor, embattled Afghani people from the evil Taliban terrorists and ushered in a new era of the modern Afghanistan, where everyone eats, everyone votes, and everyone lives in nice condos in the complete safety and peace that we enjoy over here in America. Right? That’s what they sold us, right? Right. So I’m thinking Kabul has gotta be like Miami by now, or at least like Tucson or Santa Fe. I’m a real fan of the desert lifestyle and I enjoy exotic foods like curry powder and beans, so I think it’ll be perfect. I was sort of worried about them not having cable yet, but I’ve been hearing great things about this Direct TV stuff. The thing is, though, I’ve got so many questions to ask about relocating, and I’ve been having serious problems getting anyone on the phone over there. The Bureau of Tourism doesn’t seem to be picking up when I call, which is just plain weird. You’d think they’d want my business, you know?

But now, I’m not so sure about moving to Afghanistan. I’m watching CNN, and I’m thinking that Iraq is looking pretty nice. Parties in the streets. I sorta wish I was an Iraqi right about now, you know? About to get all liberated and shit. What does that feel like? I wonder. Maybe like a cluster bomb going off in your pants while you’re trying to buy a bag of lentils? Searching for your arm in the rubble of your former house? The thrill of looting 40 shower curtains from the Sheraton, settling some old scores with the folks you owe money to, giving a peace sign to a liberating marine until his back is turned and then flipping him off?

I’ll bet you can totally smell the democracy in that thin desert air. Or wait. Is that your fiancé and her little brother turned into a black-and-red aerosol spray by a trigger-happy eighteen-year-old kid from Buttfuck, New Mexico who thought he saw a blue wire hanging out of her jacket while y’all passed through the checkpoint?

Oops! Well that’s the messy truth of war, sir. It’s chaotic as heck! Chicks get in the way! We had a suicide bomber down the street last week, can’t be too careful. Those Iraqis. What a bunch of dirty fighters! They pretend to surrender! They put rocket launchers in daycare centers! They use car bombs! And human shields! They sure don’t defend their homes against a far-superior invading army fairly! I tell you, liberating Iraq is way more work than we thought it would be. We’re making a pretty big mess over here. But still. We had to go in. It had to be this way. It was impossible to do it any other way. We have to be here, lovingly and physically, because we needed:

To get weapons of mass destruction. Which, apparently, Saddam was so eager to use on Americans, he didn’t even use them on a MOTHERFUCKING INVADING ARMY.

OK, we invaded because of them. So where are they?

“We found some! Oh wait, that’s Purina goat chow. Over here, I found some! Oops, that’s a camel. Oh! Oh! Oh! These missiles could be loaded with chemical suits and … hey! What’s that over there?”

Enjoy these news reports?

“Reportedly, a possible army spokesman says that potential soldiers may have found a suspicious substance which could possibly be used in the probable manufacture of suspected chemical weapons. ‘It could be Sarin or it could be mustard gas or it could be VX gas or it could be anthrax or it could be Purina goat chow. We’re just not sure at this point.’ Sarin gas was used by terrorists in Japan in 1995 and injured over 5,000 people!”

Prediction of a near-future Bush press conference: “Top-secret intelligence shows us that Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction have been moved by terrorists to (Syria, Iran, Libya, Venezuela) and it is our duty to track those weapons down and keep them out of the hands of the terrorists to protect Americans and avoid another 9/11. Therefore, we are dispatching a military force …”

To fight worldwide terrorism. Because, after all, it would be terrible to see the innocent people of a major world capitol subjected to the horrors of bombs and destruction (currently 1000+ Iraqi civilians dead, thousands more injured). Now, what was that Iraqi terrorist link again? Oh yeah, someone saw an Al-Qaeda guy buying flashlight batteries in Basra seven years ago. Good enough for me. And I still remember when the anthrax attacks happened a few years ago. A reporter asked Bush if he thought it was Saddam, and Bush said “I wouldn’t put it past him.” Mere coincidence? Don’t be naïve.

To liberate people. Well, the ones who aren’t machine-gunned at checkpoints, torn apart by cruise missiles, accidentally bombed by F14s, ravaged by dehydration and starvation, or killed in the joyful looting celebrations of free people. I tell you one thing, these liberated Iraqis—they’re certainly good at looting. They’ll make some kick-ass capitalists.

All these great reasons pasted together by those unbiased, hard-hitting, scrolling CNN Headlines.

Bush: Victory is near … Rumsfeld: Iraq almost liberated … Wolfowitz: Don’t laugh, Syria, you’re next-U S A! U S A! … Cheney: I am about to get so much richer … Blair: Deary me, I seem to have attached my lorry to quite the sticky wicket …

And, hmm. Is anyone in the US reporting the fact that the Carlyle Group, with BUSHES AND BINLADENS(!!!) pulling the strings, has been given the contract to rebuild much of Iraq? That Cheney’s old company is literally drowning in preferred military contracts? That the folks who sold us on the necessity of war are now reaping huge rewards, sailing their yachts on oceans of Iraqi blood? Cashing in on our dead sons and daughters, friends, husbands, wives, mothers, and fathers?

Those smug fuckers. Those smug fuckers know they can pull this shit off because my fellow citizens, one-third of whom are clinically obese, have ceased to function as citizens. Logic has ebbed its flow. Critical thinking is difficult. Vigilance is uncomfortable. Courage does not exist. A nation apathetically distracted by shiny objects that glow in the dark, we are successfully terrified by one manufactured crisis after another, and grab desperately for the expensive solutions that are systematically offered by our concerned masters. We are socially engineered to be subservient, docile, and absolutely controllable. The unified spectacle of media has been seamlessly crafted to present a reality that does not exist, but feels more real than actual life. More enjoyable than our own messy and isolated existences. Laughable kowtowing to corrupt authority has slowly been honed into de facto common sense, the complexity of world affairs reduced to ESPN one-liners and bumper stickers sloganry, dogmatic worship of “leaders” dressed up as “True Americanism,” perfectly exemplified by those sheep across the nation who are being successfully organized by Clear Channel radio’s corporate board and wowed with shiny banners, radio personalities, free coffee, and complimentary flags … and still think they’re being patriots.

“Clear Channel reports today that a pro-war rally organized by a local conservative Clear Channel station WKKK was a great success and attended by at least three people but possibly ten thousand people who support Bush and the war and support the soldiers and America. Jackbooted corporate officers of Clear Channel then orchestrated a smashing of nine Dixie Chicks records, failed to rewind a used videotape of Michael Moore’s Canadian Bacon, and burned fourteen copies of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheight 451 for good measure. Said a fat man with mirrored sunglasses and a beard, ‘We have soldiers fighting for the right for people to hold differing opinions, opinions which we at home wish to exclude and punish.’ Great American country artist Toby Keith, who phoned his support into the rally, said, ‘I just hate seeing traitors like the Dixie Chicks try to cash in on being all political. I also love America and support its foreign policy of decimating far-away brown people in the name of liberating them. Um … my dad was in the army. Y’all can get my new record, Branson Uber Alles, at Wal-Mart.’ There was further talk of melting down France’s 1876 gift of the Statue of Liberty into an enormous aqua pick-up truck and dropping it from a B1 bomber onto the Eiffel Tower, because thatz wut you git when you mess wit duh Ewe, Ess, Aye.”

And somewhere across America, a local news crew converges on the open driver-side window of a red Ford Tundra containing one saggy-necked motorist temporarily inconvenienced by an anti-war protest. “I’ve got ice cream in the trunk,” she says, tears pouring from underneath enormous rose lenses.

So yes, Iraq. Here I come. Hello new neighbors! Oh, to be you! The TV says that there will be a short period of readjustment before you are completely liberated, because these things are very complicated. Don’t fret. You can use this time to re-teach yourself to walk and to practice feeding yourself without the tube (I know how that cheap Russian rubber keeps closing up on you, but chin up, American plastic is on the way!). Keep that physical therapy going and who knows, you might be a prosperous citizen of the next great nation. Think of Japan! Jobs aplenty! Sweatpants for everyone! I can even teach you a little helpful English, “would you like to Super-Size your Coke and fries?” There, now you have job training too! Oh, we’re going to be the best of friends! I can’t wait to see who the next dictator we install will be. Can you? Will it be another Pinochet? How do you feel about Shahs? Whoever he is, one thing’s for sure … he’s gonna love America!

Yes, cheer up young Achmed. Lots of women would love a husband without arms or legs and only half a face. I know no one asked you to be a martyr, but hey, freedom has its price. And that price was you. Hang in there, little buddy. I know you can’t see it from your blood-soaked cot, but they’re pulling down the statues outside. Here I come, and here comes freedom! Life’s about to get great!