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you talkin to us, punk?
the us military takes it on the road
by trey askew

Hey, what happened to all my war coverage? Am I the only one that misses watching CNN and their breathtaking pictures of 3am Baghdad? Now all I’m left with are the silly antics of "American Idol" or the mystery men of "Mr. Personality." Even "Survivor" is over, so I can’t begin to get into that little gem. Pretty soon CNN will catch on to the fact that we’ve amassed a projected budget deficit of $300 billion for 2003 and a trade deficit of $43 billion. You know what that means? 3am coverage of Allen Greenspan’s bedroom window and we can’t have that.

So what do we do to solve this problem? War baby war! That’s right, war. We were at the same point after the Gulf War when George Bush lost reelection in 1992 when America realized that 12 years of defense spending that amassed a $290 billion debt was probably a bad idea. Who wants to think about that? You know George Jr. surely doesn’t. So war is the likely conclusion to keep America looking out instead of in! Besides, we didn’t just break all our toys out for a three-week scrimmage. That was the pre-season warm up. We knocked the rust off and evaluated the rookies. Time to hit the regular season with a vengeance!

Opening Day: Syria
A team with tenacity and heart, they’ll be tough to beat. Ok, just kidding since we’re playing with actual gear and they are strapping on oven mitts and cardboard. The pre-season provided us with a long land border (a.k.a Iraq) on which to attack. At their flank they’ve got the Mediterranean Sea. And in Syria’s back yard? Israel. I see a clean sweep in this series.

Game Two: Lebanon
After putting up a McDonald’s in Damascus, it’s off on the race to Israel. Who here isn’t tired of hearing about the Golan Heights being bombed to smithereens? You know what that place needs? Strip malls. Let them fight over white sales at the J.C. Penney’s instead of religion. The Hizballah brothers have been known to play dirty on defense so we’ll have to watch out for them trying to take out our players early. This should be more of a tune-up game than anything else on the schedule after beating Syria.

Game Three: Jordan
Continuing our “Free Israel” party we complete the job with Jordan. Who needs the whole West Bank/East Bank rivalry? I think we all learned a lot from Tupac and Biggie’s deaths to know that we all must learn to get along. I know Jordan’s a hometown favorite of many in the region but I think the visitors still get the edge. Besides, the ruler is a Hussein and we can always get our band to play that “They are a Terrorist” song to rally behind.

Week Four: Bye.
Some rallied hard to add Libya in this slot. Yes, they are an old rivalry but sanctions for years have quenched some of their fire trying to burn us. And an offensive in Africa seems frivolous and hardly worth the effort at this time. I think we all remember Somalia (or at least the movie Black Hawk Down). The real “terrorist” threat is east and we’ve got to move the troops.

Game Five: Iran
Iran is the first big game on the schedule. Motivated by Allah, the Iranians cannot be taken lightly. Remember, the CIA gave them some of our plays back in the 70's when we wanted them to beat Iraq. Some of the veterans on our team will talk about the game of ’79 where we took a beating by a bunch of students. Students mind you. Luckily disco disappeared and in ’81 we came back to win. Tough, but a must win for the home team (that’s us!)

With Iran under our belt we’re solid in the middle east with control of vital trade routes in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. We’ve also got a foothold on the Mediterranean. Not bad for this point in the season.

Game Six: North Korea
I know what you were thinking. What about the Stans man? Well, we’ve already been to Afghanistan. What has Uzbek, Kazak, Kyrgyz, or Tajik done to you mister? Nothing. And Pakistan is already battling India and just couldn’t fit us in this year. I know it breaks with basic RISK strategy but move on. So off to the Yellow Sea it is!

North Korea talks almost as good a game as the Americans. You’ve got to give them that. Kim Jong-Il basically said, “We got your stinking weapons of mass destruction....right here Mr. Bush!” Brass my friend, solid brass. The North Koreans are motivated and well trained. While malnutrition and starvation could be a concern for them they’ll be more than ready for the game we bring. Do they actually have nuclear capabilities and something stronger than surgical hoses and a bra to launch them? We’re not sure. Could be the dark horse on the schedule. Should be fun to watch. If we’re lucky, the Iraqi Minister of Information will be in P’yongyang with a camera crew nearby.

That should carry us up to August when football starts again and the new network television fodder arrives. Just in time too. The pacific rim offers few others that we could label terrorist nations so attacking them may actually cause a world backlash. So we sit back and relish in the cultural victory as Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Wal-Mart entrench themselves in our wake.

A winning record assured, we send in the Cub Scouts to officially claim Canada as the 51st state.

Writer’s Note: The events and most of this story are made up. Any relation to actual fact is pure luck on my part! And as the song goes, “War...what is it good for...absolutely nothing.”


Trey is one lazy bastard when it comes to writing. It's amazing he even got this much out before distraction set in.

more about trey askew


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topic: general
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tracey kelley
5.23.03 @ 12:36a

Let them fight over white sales at the J.C. Penny’s instead of religion.


Oh. A-hem. Sorry.

matt morin
5.23.03 @ 2:15a

The sad thing is, Bush isn't even good at war. No Osama. No Al-Qaida. No Saddam. No anything.

His next great idea: "I know! I'll sign a tax cut,"...forgetting that his last tax cut did diddly squat.

He's already going down as the worst president this country has ever had.

russ carr
5.23.03 @ 1:38p

...and moving on...

North Korea talks a lot of smack, but while their bench is long, it sure ain't deep. Kim Jong Il has the best hair since Quin Snyder, but face it -- he's still a rookie coach with an unproven squad.

A reasonable end to the season comes in The Philippines. Call it the Pentagon's answer to the Pro Bowl. Sure, by this point no one's really watching, but it's a chance for our boys to catch some sun and an extra paycheck without much effort.

matt morin
5.23.03 @ 1:55p

Sorry Russ, wouldn't want to get into a serious discussion about politics or anything now would we?

Trey makes a half dozen great points in his opening two paragraphs and you want to crack jokes about people's hair.

erik myers
5.23.03 @ 2:03p

Jesus. Lighten up, Matt.

It's a funny column. We can rehash every argument we've ever had about G.W., or we can move on and enjoy the humor of seeing the whole war deal as a sporting event.

So.. moving on..

I think it's important to remember that Canada would have to come in as 13 states.

Or maybe 12 states and Quebec. We could let them secede and go for them, next.

matt morin
5.23.03 @ 2:07p

Wow. You actually just said "enjoy the humor of seeing the whole war deal as a sporting event."


erik myers
5.23.03 @ 2:09p

It's humor.

Get a clue!

Funny! Laugh! Ha ha!

russ carr
5.23.03 @ 3:01p

Doubles tourney? US and Canada vs. Quebec and France?

jael mchenry
5.23.03 @ 3:04p

Quebec and France vs. the Williams Sisters?

matt morin
5.23.03 @ 3:12p

It's humor. Get a clue! Funny! Laugh! Ha ha!

Yeah, sorry if I don't find the humor in war. Frankly, it's both scary and sad that you do.

But don't waste your time on me. Why not just go to the Al Jezeera site and laugh your ass off to those pictures of kids with their heads blown off. Or better yet, go hang out at all the funerals for U.S. soldiers who died in Iraq and crack jokes in the back of the church.

jael mchenry
5.23.03 @ 3:16p

Laugh or cry. Personal choice. Personally, I do both.

russ carr
5.23.03 @ 3:21p

Ah, but...Quebec and France vs. Ditka?

jael mchenry
5.23.03 @ 3:25p


tracey kelley
5.23.03 @ 11:26p

Your sympathy over war is well and fine, Matt, but I don't see you at the Red Cross or in the Peace Corps or at the USO or, for that matter, enlisted in any of the armed forces or the National Guard.

Listening to NPR only takes a body so far.

Not that I sympathize with Bush, mind you, but if you want to talk trash on a President' military mishaps, I have 3 military friends who served under Clinton during the Bosnian and Haitian "peacekeeping" efforts. I'm sure they have a few stories about misguided efforts by a Commander in Chief you'll enjoy hearing.

All that being said, Trey's column is hysterical. And satirical.

matt morin
5.24.03 @ 12:28a

Where did I ever say I was "for" Clinton's military actions?

And you're right, you don't see me twice a year donating blood - because you're not here in SF to see me do it.

Just because I'm not enlisted dosen't make my point any less valid - joking about war is a fucked up thing to do.

I doubt all your friends who have actually been in a war would find it all that funny.

heather millen
5.24.03 @ 12:37a

We send in the Cub Scouts to officially claim Canada as the 51st state.

Beautiful. Just beautiful.

And Matt, sweetie, lighten up. It's Friday night, kid!

trey askew
5.24.03 @ 12:06p

Ditka! Loved that stuff. And Canada we'd definitely take as all or nothing with the exception of Quebec. Those kids would probably justify a TVA type public works program to break off the land they occupy and let it float to France.

mike julianelle
5.24.03 @ 1:26p

War is necessary. Thins out the population. Less women for Matt to sift through.

eloise young
5.25.03 @ 12:48a

Satire frequently has to be barbed with humor in order to burst the propaganda balloons and wake up the audience. That's how it works - and how it can get under the radar screen to nudge and prod where straightforward seriousness can get blocked by bias, prejudice or straight control.

I find this piece an effective way to deliver a questioning of who is in control of foreign and military policy in the US right now, and whether the motivation behind it may be as shallow as that of sports media. Congratulations, Trey!

We should probably excuse Matt just this once, he's not feeling well and who can really see the funny side of things when stuck in bed with flu anyway? Get well soon, Matt!

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