" . . . you've got to stand up for the imaginative world, the imaginative element in the human personality, because I think that's constantly threatened . . . People do have imagination and sensibilities, and I think that does need constant exposition." -- John Read

"To disseminate my subjective thoughts and ideas, I stealthily hide them in a cloak of entertaining storytelling, since the depth of my thinking, shallow at best, might be challenged by erudite experts." -- Curt Siodmak

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Winning the war: old, fat men vs. the Taliban

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I
I know all about combat -- I have seen "Stripes" at least 15 times.
I volunteer!

Me! Me! Me! Me! Me! I’ll go!

Look, this war on terror thing is not working, at least in central Asia. We beat up on the Taliban, leave -- and they come back. We bribe the inhabitants to be on our side, and they use the money to buy more weapons with which to kill us.

Meanwhile, this whole drone thing isn’t working. Remember how we killed Pakistan Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud last year? Oops, it turns out we didn’t, probably because he wasn’t disguised as a wedding or a funeral. (In July of 2009, the Brookings Institution reported that the ratio of civilian to militant deaths via Predator drone-launched Hellfire missiles is 10 to one. Not a great public relations move.)

This is by no means a slam against our enlisted people. Hey, I’ve worked for big companies – whether or not your bosses know what they’re doing, you have to follow orders, right? However, poor executive planning in civilian life usually leads merely to bad phone service or the cable guy never showing up – not the killing or maiming of the staff.

The only answer is sending out soldiers with nothing to lose. I’m talking about middle-aged men. Get us off the couch and into the fray!

Why? Let’s look at the facts:

  1. Biologically speaking, we are expendable. By the time we hit 45, we’ve probably procreated all we’re going to – unless we get incredibly, stupendously (un)lucky one night. Let’s face it -- if we were bees, our sexual organs would already have been ripped out of our bodies during intercourse. Ouch. In terms of advertising demographics, we don’t even exist.
  2. We love action movies. John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Charles Bronson, Bruce Willis, Sly, Arnold . . . Snake Plissken . . . these are our role models! We are the most likely age/sex group to do some ridiculous things with ammunition and explosives, with little regard for consequences. We could blow ourselves and everyone around us up at any time. It would be like having a bunch of suicide bombers on your team – only we’re just dumb. It all worked out in “Stripes,” didn’t it?
  3. Now that I can get access to espn.go.com just about anywhere, I am flexible about my location, and I feel I can say the same for my sports-loving brethren. And sistren.
  4. We are always alert! Always! At least, I am. I think it’s because I always have to pee. Or I can’t pee. Or I pee a little bit, all the time. That makes me grumpy! And alert! All the time!
  5. My middle-aged fuddy-duddiness leads me to just OOZE counterintuitive attack concepts. For instance – young soldiers play gangsta rap and heavy metal when they go into combat to get pumped and intimidate opponents. I prefer to dash into action with the lilting voice of Mel Torme crooning “Nice Work If You Can Get It” in my ears. In fact, I would prefer to blow the enemy away -- with the sweet stylings of award-winning tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano. (Actually, if I could find some terrorists who are into pre-electric Miles, we may have a peace process on our hands.)
  6. We don’t need basic training. Not because we are battle-ready; because we are incapable of being trained. Ask our wives. We do follow orders well, however, as we are leery of being bitched at.
  7. We are clean and sober, as our doctors have already told us to quit smoking and drinking. OK, maybe we need a little weed. OK, a lot of weed. And some acid. But none of the hard stuff.
  8. War is not for the young. The young should be home, having sex. Raising kids. At the very least, getting in over their heads with bad mortgages, as God intended. Ask, tell, gay, straight, I don’t care. (I draw the line at animals -- you cannot spoon with a cow. You cannot train a goat to get you a snack in the middle of the night. God knows I’ve tried.)

Ladies and gentlemen, follow my plan and the war will be over in weeks. Of course, we may all wind up speaking Pashto. Inshallah!

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