Fighting the War on Terra | Derek Jennings | Indy Week
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Fighting the War on Terra 

I've been misunderstanding and misunderestimating the president all this time. But after listening carefully to him in the recent debates, it hit me that what I was mistaking for his Yale accent was, in actuality, no mispronunciation or malapropism but a clear and concise statement of fact. I feel so stupid. As a member of our nation's ruling elite, it's only natural that our commander-in-chief would use Latin as part of such a weighty phrase. George W. Bush is leading us all in a "War On Terra." That's right, our very adversary is no less than the entire planet, itself. And here I was thinking we were kind of punking out by starting a war with Iraq after being attacked by al Qaeda. I now see my mistake clearly, and, consequently, have some bad parenting to undo. See, one of my sons was having trouble with a bully in grade school. Yeah, yeah, the books and school rules say that I should have counseled him to bring this to the attention of the authorities--his teacher, the principal and his parents--to resolve the matter. But then, I thought to myself, "WWWD? (What Would Dubya Do?)," and patterned my response accordingly. I told him, "Son, there are gonna be times in your life when you are attacked, and it's alright for you to be mad, and hurt. You are gonna feel bad and doubt yourself. When that happens, I want you to find some kid whose butt you kicked last year, and go stomp him out, just knock the snot out of 'im. And if your best friend is around, ask him to help you do it. Sure, you won't be pummeling the kid who sucker punched you this time, but seeing him with his eye all swole, and being carried to the nurse's office sends a powerful message of resolve and commitment to the rest of the playground that cannot be denied."

I now understand that I was missing the big picture. To me, it looked like we purposely invaded a country which did not even control two-thirds of its own airspace because it was just sitting there, looking, well É attackable (as opposed to the stateless terrorists whom we got tired of chasing around the mountains of Afghanistan). I recall reading the news only a few days into the Afghanistan War and being startled that our pilots were returning from bombing sorties complaining that they had already run out of things to blow up. I admit to being puzzled when we, with the blessing of almost the entire world to handle our biz in Tora Bora, didn't enter with our ground troops to finish the job, instead letting the Afghan equivalent of Manpower handle our terrorist fighting staffing needs. I feel extra bad for even thinking that way, since I wrote about that apparent major strategic lapse back in April, and now that flip-flopping John Kerry is on TV saying the same thing, betraying the same limited understanding. But Kerry isn't mature enough to admit that he was mistaken, as I do now.

See, in a War On Terror, it would make sense to go after terrorists when you have the sympathy and support of the rest of the world and have cornered one of their most nefarious leaders in the mountains. But not in a War On Terra. Duh. In a War On Terra, one doesn't want the sympathy or support of the world while fighting one little group of terrorists. It was important--critical--for us to exhaust the post-9/11 goodwill and spirit of cooperation as quickly and decisively as possible, to flush out our true enemies, namely everyone who wasn't "with" us. I mean, anyone can love America--good ol' lady liberty--when she's lookin' all sexy and democratic. The true test is will you still love her when she shaves off her principles, stops bathing her Bill of Rights, and walks around all 'flicted-looking with her freedoms hanging out? Yeah. Thought so. War On Terror. Hah! I was sooo wrong about this two years ago when I referred to the WOT as a holding company for several wholly owned subsidiaries including "Éthe War On Civil Liberties, the War On the Separation of Powers, the War On Government Accountability and the ever-profitable War On Dissent." I feel like going back in time and screaming at myself, "He's speaking Latin, dummy!" Man.

A War On Terror. That's not even really possible, what with "terror" actually being more of a concept than a thing that you can pick up a free-market assault rifle and shoot between the eyes or bludgeon with a spiked club like some stupid wild animal or environmentalist in the way of our Alaskan oil reserves. A literal "War On Terror" would be a "War on Intense Fear," and that's just plain silly. Why would we fight fear? Fear is our friend and most trusted ally in the War On Terra. People tend to shut up when Fear follows us into a room. It persuades a lot of us to vote. And it looks damn good in the color orange, as our buddy Tom Ridge is almost certain to remind us at least once more prior to the November elections.

What disturbs me the most these days is that, if the polls are any indication, around half of this country just doesn't "get it" regarding the War On Terra. I'm thinking we may need to just bulldoze Cuba (call it "Operation Guantanamo: Extreme Makeover") to make room for the millions of people who are obviously not with us but against us. It's gotten so bad that I've even heard folks characterize our president as, well, mentally lazy, because he admittedly doesn't read the newspapers and, reportedly, has his staff insulate him from negative news reports and contrary points of view. But when considered against the all-encompassing backdrop of the War On Terra, this Bush strategery makes perfect sense. He's not being lazy, he's being conservative, conserving his considerable mental faculties for the back-room heavy lifting required of someone bold enough to take on the entire planet. Plus, his eschewal of the media displays a cunning and keen intellect. Only a shrewd man, and one privy to the most top secret of intelligence reports, knows how important it is to guard one's brain from the commie-terrorist mind control rays transmitted through the liberal news media and the Internets. It takes a strong mind to lead the War On Terra, and one that is steadfast, shows resolve ... and commitment. You can't (sneer) change your mind and lead. Nobody's gonna trust a, a, uhh... mind changer. We need a president who is bold enough to propose a mission to Mars right after transforming the nation's largest ever budget surplus into its largest ever deficit. Bush knows that we are gonna win this War On Terra, and if we haven't gotten to Mars by that time, why, we'll have run out of enemies. Just the thought of Halliburton temporarily without a multi-billion dollar no-bid contract to overcharge our troops is enough to make Dick Cheney shed a single, black, petrochemical tear, like the Indian dude in the old anti-littering commercial.

"Terra" don't understand multi-syllables. You have to show resolve ... commitment ... and be firm. Speak. In. Small. Sentences. When. Ever. Possible. Changing your mind does not inspire our allies. And you definitely can't insult Poland. Poland is a ride or die nation. Poland has got our back. Ignore Poland at your peril. Y'see, that's the problem with mind changers. They always want to change their minds. And don't put facts in front of them. Heck. They'll want to draw conclusions. That's not what leaders do. A leader has his conclusions ahead of time; that's called foresight, and a leader will ... lead. This is what leaders do.

Leaders don't let facts, figures or opinions get in the way of leadership. They have no business in the conversation. You can't lead a War On Terra while saying that the economy hasn't created enough jobs this year to even keep up with the number of people entering the workforce due to the birth rate. That's a terrible thing to say. And it sends mexed missages to the people who really ought to be concerned with fighting Terra.

Now that I've seen the debates, I really feel like I understand the president much better than before. I now know why he had to go against most of the world regarding the Kyoto Treaty and the World Criminal Court, dismantle the Anti Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia, and why he currently is objecting to verification provisions in a nukeyalar non-proliferation treaty. Going along with all of that may have made him popular in the "halls of Europe," and who knows what they'd say in the actual rooms, but the appearance of diplomacy and non-unilateralism would have only served to weaken our resolve in the War On Terra. And you can't lead without resolve. And commitment. Plus, habitual mispronunciation of "nuclear" only reinforces the fact that we are determined to do things our own way. Now that I can really appreciate the big picture, see the War On Terra sharply and crisply, as if broadcast in high definition on a TV made somewhere-else-besides-here, I'm nervous about the future. It's not that I lack resolve. Or commitment. Or that I would, gasp, be a mind changer. It's just that I want everyone to see it like I do. While I don't own a few hundred TV stations that I can order to air propaganda films, like Sinclair Broadcasting, I nonetheless want to do something to help spread this freedom and democracy that the terrorists and liberals want to kill us for. So I'm asking all of you, readers, to talk to your friends and coworkers at the water cooler, at the Enron yard sale, or in your neighborhoods, and explain to them about the common misconception concerning the subject of our current war. Let them know that we are waging a raging war against the entire planet, the War On Terra. It will show your resolve. And commitment. It will take your concerted efforts to end the Bush Era--'scuse me--Error.

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