Thursday, November 18, 2004

Crank Time in Fallujah: The Death of Fun

There wasn't a moment of laughter today, just the sounds of doom and violence and failure - a steady drip of death alarms over the wire: from the television news, on the talk radio shows, in email alerts, in the sky, but mostly from an aura of unreeling funk in the air. The world has been consumed by the death of fun, unraveling at its feet, shrinking, deflating, draining away in the shadows of night like gripping a fist of liquid metal. Open your hand and the substance races between your fingers in an instant, leaving a cold and poisonous sheen on the skin.

On the very day that Lt. General John Sattler, commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at Fallujah, boldly predicted that the U.S. offensive in Fallujah has “broken the back of the insurgency” in Iraq, disobedient members of the opposition were not watching CNN and began attacking the governor's office in Mosul amid increasing bloodshed in the northern countryside.

Speaking as if he were addressing the Iraqis directly and sounding more and more like the 1972 edition of Westmoreland in Saigon, the general was quick to add, “Now you are scattered. … You’ve been flushed from your hide-out. You have no friends in the area you move into. You must make new contacts.”

“Each and every time we can force these individuals to go to new locations, expand their circle of friends — if you want to call it that — to include some that they don’t know and they don’t trust, they’ll bring in rookies, more junior people that will, in fact, make mistakes. And that’s why I mentioned that this has disrupted them, I believe — my personal belief — across the country. This is going to make it very hard for them to operate. And I’m hoping that we’ll continue to breathe down their neck,” Sattler said.

Sattler also indicated that 51 U.S. troops had been killed during the offensive with another 425 wounded. He said eight Iraqi government troops had been killed along with 43 more wounded. He said about 1,200 insurgents were killed, and that U.S. forces hold about 1,025 prisoners.

Nobody needs this, of course - but apparently some delirious schizoids want this dismemberment parade to continue, and from the very beginning in 2001, there were a few of us who had vibes that September 11th was the end of American life as we knew it. No common urge for reason or basic nature could have persuaded the war puppets that their huge, desperate and loosely crafted ship of fools already barking for blood would not be welcomed with anything but glee, ecstacy and gratitude by Hell's despotic family. The World Trade Center was but an appetizer and Fallujah has become Charlie Manson's tossed salad, while the Administration trots out a never-ending supply of Barbie-doll Squeaky Fromme's to tangle the scent with implants and bleached teeth.

* * *

The satellite keeps beaming the pig-like screaches every twenty or thirty minutes, bracketed by bursts of automatic gunfire on MSNBC - with embedded reporters surrounded at all times by hundreds of paranoid reservist troops with a license to kill at anytime, or anybody, for any reason because the operation has been sanctioned by supreme practitioners of Faith. Those are the truly violent ones, and always the most dangerous because they absolve the gore-stained fanatics of guilt.

But that's not what's in the cards for me, dog. It's why I live near the ocean in a blue state with a flag on my porch and thick, crystal techno samples grinding it out on my glassy Harman-Kardons. Guess some of us are born under a good sign, and it's commerical-free entertainment. Some would say it's God's pervasive plan - at least those would be the words that Dubya would use - and that is also why I am addicted to proving this theory wrong. Sooner or later, the bastard children of the religious right and the terminally braindead wing of the ultra-conservative movement will crash into the rocks. It might take another attack from Osama Bin Laden or a spin-off from the original series, but it will happen. Who really ever knows how these things will play out in advance? Still, one thing is for certain: it is a terribly piss-poor idea to commit wide-scale combat operations without having a tremendously colorful bogeyman to chase around the planet.

Sooner or later the merciless combatants are lined up at the gates of The Hague or Nuremberg and executed for borderline stupidity - just ask the Serbian Office of Ethnic Cleansing.

At times like these, when the blitzkrieg drums start thundering to a Wagner-like crescendo and the trumpets howl for revenge, I often wonder how Caligula would have handled this mess. Sparkling crazy Caligula. He was a sleaze magnet for treachery at every turn, and his savage appetites were pure - or that's what is said about him and what history tells us, but it is also worth pointing out that he did not even make the top ten in favorite Roman emperors.

And neither would Dubya, according to most historians, and I should take them at their word. But this miserable little mutation will keep us at war for "a very long time" because he wants every gas pump filled and every sympathizer sent to the backwoods of regret.

Military officials and scholars will explain that five years is actually a short time in the span of most armed conflicts - which is not to be debated - but history also illustrates many of examples of how ten years of martial law and a wartime economy will feel like a lifetime to people under the age of thirty. These unlucky bastards were born in precisely the wrong time and will never know the concept of unlimited education, boundless opportunity and a true sense of freedom that comes with the irresponsibility of youth. Generation Z got the hot side of the tailpipe to suck and they are doomed to be the first American generation to arrive at the wholesale cost of "don't worry, be happy" and get handed a price tag marked up by their parents.

That is an extremely sordid tale for another time, and it will take twenty years for the disease to seep in. The last years of the 20th Century will seem like an endless orgy of happiness and looting compared to what's coming next. The game is up, people, and the scum ponds are rising. The time has come for loyal red state Americans to take up their arms and sacrifice, serve and kill the infidel - at least that Christian version of the infidel, known in fellowship programs as islamic heathens. But sacrifice is the word heard most in the halls of power, and nobody has yet to determine what it all means.

Military disinformation in network news will seem as predictable as the black kid getting ostracized on MTV's The Real World and the fifth guy on the transporter beam getting chomped up by an extra-terrestrial beast on Star Trek reruns. Censorship will be an artificial truth serum poured over breakfast cereal. The emergency broadcast system test pattern will be a night light for an entire generation out of range of a satellite dish. The next and last casualty will be the deep reality of manufactured truth. As Chuchill once said, "that is the first casualty of war," and it provides a glimpse at how serious this is going to get.

It will be a nasty, barn burner of a story to report, especially given the swamp-like treachery found in Washington politics - assuming that Dubya can sustain his constant need for humiliation which has yet to be fully gratified. The fate of the child preznut, in the end, will be nothing more than a muffled explosion from the White House announcing that another scumbag has been handed a death march back to the ranch - which for the rest of us will be a strange and suffocating orgasm of long awaited deliverance that will wind down instantly to rabid depression, like we were yanked back at the shirt collar just as the amusement was giving us a thrill.

Some things are unavoidable, regardless of party affiliation, and the selection and inside job that put Dubya back in the Oval Office is one of them. A petty crook who couldn't get elected junior pimp of Albania. They would whisk him off the streets and take away his pager and restrict him to the company of gypsies and - maybe - let him supervise needle exchange programs in the park. If we survive these next four years without becoming radioactive, chalk it up to blind luck.

But for now we are in a deep tunnel. It's been really dark, and it's going to stay that way for a while.


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