Friday, December 15, 2006

Curious George Grows Curiouser and Curiouser

A guest post by Mark W. Bradley

Now that the arduously compiled findings of the Iraq Study Group have been presented to a grateful nation (and summarily discarded by our decider-in-chief), the American people find themselves eagerly anticipating the next glorious chapter in what is beginning to look like the 21st Century’s answer to the Hundred Years War. Aside from President Bush’s pessimistic projections as to the probable duration of the current conflict, however, it would be a mistake to draw further comparisons between it and the aforementioned medieval war between England and France. The “Dark Lord” Richard Cheney, for example, can hardly be compared to the 14th Century’s “Black Prince” Edward Plantagenet, who was probably responsible for the snuffing of no more than 12,000 innocent lives across the entire length and breadth of France. For the vice-president, that’s nothing more than a moderately successful holiday weekend.

Yet inasmuch as our court-appointed war president is determined to seek any and all expert advice that bolsters his predetermined course of action in the Middle East, it is clearly the patriotic duty of every American to fall-in-line behind the administration and help provide the necessary “facts on the ground” to justify this policy as expeditiously as possible, so that our government can get on with the difficult work of killing everyone in the world who disagrees with it.

With this can-do spirit in mind, I recently asked the 8th graders at the middle school where I teach to come up with as many “facts” as possible to support the president’s strategery in Iraq. I assured the students from the outset that no idea, regardless of how ludicrous it appeared on the surface, would be rejected out-of-hand. I encouraged them to “think outside the box”, and promised extra credit for those who came up with ideas that transcended the bounds of conventional reality.

So without further ado, here are the results of our school’s exhaustive search for a “New Way Forward” in Iraq. A sampling of the proposed solutions contained in this historic document are presented below in simple “Q and A” format, which the children felt would be most user-friendly to the president. Since the spelling and syntax of junior high students tends to be a bit confusing to the uninitiated, I have taken the liberty of paraphrasing a few excerpts from the report:

“How to Win the War in Iraq Without Loosing it at the Same Time”
The Students of James Buchanan Middle School
(excerpt from page 7):

Q: The results of the 2006 elections strongly indicate that the American people are in favor of withdrawing our troops from Iraq as soon as possible. How can the president accomplish this goal without seeming to reverse his ongoing policy?

A: President Bush can withdraw any number of troops he chooses from Iraq and still have a force large enough to kill everybody in the country. In fact, the more troops he withdraws, the more he’ll have there! All he has to do is make sure that when he subtracts troops from the total, he subtracts a negative number. For example, if he starts out with a force level of 150,000 troops and then subtracts (-50,000), he’ll still have 200,000 in Iraq! (Thanks to Mrs. Probity’s algebra class for a very creative solution to this thorny problem.)

(excerpt from page 9):

Q: Some people say that the armed forces of the United States just can’t sustain current force levels without resorting to a military draft. If that’s true, who should be the first in line to serve?

A: One of the biggest obstacles to victory our country faces in Iraq is the so-called “peace movement” here at home. What with all the defeat-o-crat candidates swept into office during the recent elections, it’s a wonder our president can accomplish anything at all. In order to prevent similar outcomes in future elections, we propose that single women should be the first demographic targeted by any conscription effort. After all, they constitute the largest and most reliable voting block the Democrat Party has in its “cut and run” arsenal. The more of them you send to Iraq, the fewer will be left behind to undermine the war effort at home. (Kudos to Coach Dunderhead and the Boys’ Wrestling Team for this excellent suggestion.)

(excerpt from page 14):

Q: What innovative military strategies should the Pentagon adopt to insure a positive outcome for the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan?

A: The real problem here has been that the generals in charge keep looking for a “new” military solution in the Middle East, when they should be looking at an “old” one. Let’s face it, the last successful invasion of Afghanistan by Westerners was accomplished by Alexander the Great of Macedon in 330 B.C. Why not employ (with certain modifications) the tactics he used? Imagine a twelve-mile long phalanx of female aerobics instructors dressed in horsehair-crested helmets, leotards and leather shields advancing with their finely-honed javelins on a defenseless army of bewildered Talibani. What could the misogynistic miscreants do but flee in terror? In all likelihood, the entire country would be pacified in a matter of weeks, and we would be free to redeploy our Amazon Warriors to out-terrorize the terroristic enemies of freedom on the rubble-strewn streets of Baghdad. (Answer courtesy of Mrs. Petulana Bellacosa’s world history class.)

If you (or any member of your family) find these arguments compelling, perhaps you (or they) should consider a career with the State Department or the DOD. To obtain copies of the complete report, please contact our new vice-principal, Mr. John Bolton, c/o James Buchanan Middle School, 911 Deadend Street, Carthage, TX.

Mark W. Bradley is a schoolteacher and political satirist in Sacramento, California. He can be contacted at:


Blogger RoseCovered Glasses said...

There are good points in your article. I would like to supplement them with some information:

I am a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran who recently retired after 36 years of working in the Defense Industrial Complex on many of the weapons systems being used by our forces as we speak.

If you are interested in a view of the inside of the Pentagon procurement process from Vietnam to Iraq please check the posting at my blog entitled, “Odyssey of Armaments”

The Pentagon is a giant, incredibly complex establishment, budgeted in excess of $500B per year. The Rumsfelds, the Administrations and the Congressmen come and go but the real machinery of policy and procurement keeps grinding away, presenting the politicos who arrive with detail and alternatives slanted to perpetuate itself.

How can any newcomer, be he a President, a Congressman or even the Sec. Def. to be - Mr. Gates- understand such complexity, particularly if heretofore he has not had the clearance to get the full details?

Answer- he can’t. Therefore he accepts the alternatives provided by the career establishment that never goes away and he hopes he makes the right choices. Or he is influenced by a lobbyist or two representing companies in his district or special interest groups.

From a practical standpoint, policy and war decisions are made far below the levels of the talking heads who take the heat or the credit for the results.

This situation is unfortunate but it is absolute fact. Take it from one who has been to war and worked in the establishment.

This giant policy making and war machine will eventually come apart and have to be put back together to operate smaller, leaner and on less fuel. But that won’t happen until it hits a brick wall at high speed.

We will then have to run a Volkswagen instead of a Caddy and get along somehow. We better start practicing now and get off our high horse. Our golden aura in the world is beginning to dull from arrogance.

8:20 AM  
Anonymous mark w bradley said...

rosecovered glasses:

Thank you for sharing your unique insight into the inner workings of the mega-bureaucracy that is the Pentagon. I, for one, plan to educate myself further by reading your "Odyssey of Armaments" as soon as I finish posting this comment!

8:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rather than waste classroom time indoctrinating your charges with your foolish political views, why not teach them the rudiments of the English language? (I think we know the answer.)

6:19 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Anonymous--I don't think WE do, please elaborate.

Is it possible that my failure to grasp your point has something to do with YOU not paying close enough attention in your high school English class for YOU to have the cognitive ability to recognize satire? I think WE know the answer to that.

1:06 AM  
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5:05 AM  

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