Tuesday, August 23, 2005

‘W’ and the ‘W’ Word

A piece by Matt Osborne whose piece Some Good Intelligence was well received by our readers.

After months of linguistic contortions by his subordinates, our president recently decided to put the ‘W’ back in ‘war.’ “Make no mistake,” he said, glowering and pointing his finger. “WE ARE AT WAR!” (Emphasis his.)

Funny, but I couldn’t tell there was a war on. You have to admit, it’s a bit confusing when your commander-in-chief gives press conferences in a golf shirt…from his Texas ranch…during his five-week vacation.

The ‘news’ is no help. The ‘war’ seems to occupy little time in the news anymore. I have no way to be sure, but I sense that Fox News has spent more time on Michael Jackson this summer than the rest of the world put together.

It’s also hard to take ‘war’ seriously when we have not been asked to contribute a blessed thing to any ‘war effort.’ No scrap-metal drives, no victory gardens, no war bonds – and definitely, no taxes.

In fact, I recently heard Brian Riedl, representing the influential, conservative Heritage Foundation, claim – I am not making this up – that tax cuts enacted in the last five years “make sense in peacetime.”

We have given George Bush wartime powers, but we are paying peacetime taxes.

To be fair, this is not the first time that Bush’s team has had trouble figuring out what to call our current state of affairs. On August 6 of last year, Bush declared that “we actually misnamed the war on terror. It ought to be ‘The Struggle Against Ideological Extremists Who Do Not Believe in Free Societies Who Happen To Use Terror as a Weapon To Try To Shake the Conscience of the Free World.”

What an acronym: ‘T.S.A.I.E.W.D.N.B.I.F.S.W.H.T.U.T.A.W.T.T.T.S.C.F.W.’ I have tried to pronounce this clever invention, but it sounds too much like the common noun for male cow manure.

Normally, such a gaffe would have been repeated eight million times on every news channel, but the sound bite was longer than eight seconds. Our attention spans couldn’t handle it, so Bush got a free pass from the “liberal” media. Newspapers didn’t pick up the story, either, since news editors would have torn up their AP manuals in despair over the headline.

The only people being asked to sacrifice anything are the soldiers. They are too few, have been ordered to do an impossibly big job, and to do it without any of the right equipment. They don’t even have enough armor. Armor would cost money, after all, and where would that come from? Budgets are tight these days.

Congress has decided to spend only $200 billion on shiny new Joint Strike Fighters for the Air Force. True, America would only have to give up twenty-seven of these – less than two squadrons – to replace all 19,000 soft-skinned humvees in Iraq with armored ones. But that would leave the US Air Force with only 2,373 Joint Strike Fighters to defend America. We can’t ask the impossible of our fighter jocks, can we?

Bush just signed the largest transportation bill in history, replete with pork projects for every Republican district. Don Young, Alaska’s sole representative in the House, is bringing home $1,000,000 to build a bridge to an island with fifty inhabitants. Yes, armored humvees would be too expensive in peacetime.

But we’re still at war. Right?

Actually, Bush has been pretty confused about this war-peace thing, too. On June 18, 2002, he said: “I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace.”

Yes, dear reader, this is the source of our confusion: ‘war’ is actually ‘peace.’ In fact, I believe that about sums up the situation. Perhaps this should be the new slogan, replacing ‘Global War on Terror’: WAR IS PEACE. Perhaps we should all learn to say it out loud, right now.

And while we repeat it, there is one small contribution we can make for the ‘war:’ we can surrender our freedom to the Patriot Act. See? Now we’re sacrificing. Don’t worry: you won’t miss freedom. In fact, it was really a form of slavery all along. Repeat after me: FREEDOM IS SLAVERY.

And though it may seem a digression, let’s go ahead and honor Our Divinely-Inspired Leader’s wishes by removing evolution from biology textbooks. Along with the Orwellian-titled ‘No Child Left Behind’ law, this will be GOOD for America! Repeat after me: IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

Repeat all of them together:

Don’t stop! Big Brother – er, Our Compassionate Commander – exhorts you not to stop. After all, The Esteemed Conservative told us in his inaugural address that the War on Terror “will be the concentrated work of generations.”

That’s generations, folks. As in, you’re not getting your freedom back. Or your children. Sorry, but that’s the way it is, from now on.

You there! Start chanting!

- Matt Osborne

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