Why are we in Iraq?* | OPINION: Peter Eichenberger | Indy Week
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Why are we in Iraq?* 

Monday. A day. I humped up into the BB&T, across from the PR, pulled around the building and had to stop short.

As I maneuvered the clunky old Golf around a polished BMW 5 series berthed in the freaking middle of the parking lot lane, I recalled: First, that if you happen to smack a car parked such as this one, there are no legal repercussions; and second, the time when, back in the nascent punk days, Staten Island Robert coaxed a Corvette into one of the last two spaces with his Malibu amid several costly crunches.

I stepped out of the Golf and approached the bank. Hello, who's this, the owner? Sandy, bristly haircut, N.C. State Golf shirt, 6-foot-3, 220 or so.

"Hey, Nice parking job there."

Wolfpack spun around. "You have anything else to say?""Well, um, I guess you coulda totally blocked the road, but no." I stepped inside the bank and did my business. Back out, in the parking lot, hoo boy, here it comes, climbing out of his fascist vunderkar.

Mr. Big. He strode up and loomed menacingly.

"You got anything else to say to me?"

"No, sir. I've said it."

The guy kept up his woof.

"What? You gonna kick my ass?"

He glanced around, the tastefully low-profile crucifix dancing nervously on a chain around his phone-pole sized neck. "No one here knows me," he says—except for the bank tellers in the window he had just exited and the astonished guy watching from 20 feet away. Muscles, sure. But Gawdzilla didn't have dick for brains.

"I haven't got all day." I turned and strode toward the VW. "Have a good one, dork." A half-hour later, when I checked my e-mail, was when I learned yet another Ramboed-out ding-dong had dusted 33 people in Virginia.

What ails you people? I hear it all the time, that we are blessed to live in the best place to live in the world, but you know, besides Yukons and Plasmas. I don't see it much. I've been around some. Behavior like Meathead's is an anomaly. I have never seen anything like that anywhere else, period. Here? As with Blacksburg, fairly common.

Eric Haney, co-founder of Delta Force, and significant others have announced that we have no substantive enemies left, just rag-tag Third World hot spots. Frustrated by the same psychological need to respond to the oceans of propaganda, to make everything fit, we clearly have targeted ourselves.

Just open one of your newspapers—front to back, acts committed by people who think they have the "highest standard of living," in the world, reduced to shooting, raping, robbing their fellow citizens, often over nothing more than the crawly stuff inside their heads. Rudeness, greed, tailgaters, littering, disdain for the less fortunate. Three hundred million nations of one, all elbowing up a mythical pile to a top that can never be attained. Suckers.

The few statistics in which the United States rises toward the top in the First World are often those no one would want. Child mortality, obesity, gunshot deaths, hunger, untreated disease, yada yada yada, and all you get is this "God helps those who help themselves" to the dwindling resources of this dying ball of mud, exemplified by this overfed bully, proudly wearing the symbol of the dominant faith upon whom it was founded but that Jesus Bar Abbas, would have trouble recognizing. God help us. I have no answers. There are none. The only way is to begin to recognize the symptoms of this diseased culture and consciously work to counter them in what you do, to live by example instead of mouthing, repeating the empty fatuous slogans that pour from your TVs and newspapers. None of it seems to be practiced.

As I cranked the VeeDub, ding-dong pulled in behind, blocking me. Now the bloated, privileged moron committed a crime. At this point I was going to turn the car off, walk into the bank and get my witnesses together. Serendipitously, the driver in front backed out of his space. I leaned out the window, gave Meathead a big ole debutant wave.

"BYE," I hollered giddily and puttered off. He pulled through the space, following me. What if I were to accelerate to 50 in front of Fire Station Five and nail the brakes? Then, after the boys at the station crunched through the bits of glass and plastic, stay in the driver's seat and moan for the ambulance. But I had a day to do. I picked up my asshole repellent and punched 9-1-1. Boom, gone. Works every time.

*Apologies to Norman Mailer

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