War & Pizza Hut, Volume 3: The End Of The American Empire

Iraq War Coffins

For previous entries, please see War & Pizza Hut: Volume 1 and War & Pizza Hut: Volume 2


The End Of The American Empire

My Grandfather was in the engine room when the kamikaze happened. Zero plane shrapnel sheered through the destroyer. South Pacific waters gushed inside. Naval protocol was to close the engine room hatch immediately to keep the ship from sinking more quickly, leaving other men trapped in the engine room. Fred should have been one of the other men. He was unconscious after an engine safety valve exploded into his neck.


A Marine scribbled the following on a whiteboard at the US military base in Ramadi, Iraq:

America Is Not At War

We almost don’t deserve our troops. As audaciously as they have served our country, we are nearly as oblivious to their sacrifice. Two-thirds of Americans cannot find Afghanistan or Iraq on a map. Much of the insulation is by government design. There is no draft today. The press was banned from covering incoming coffin ceremonies.

Unfortunately, war has become ambient noise for many Americans. It’s on in the background. A marketplace bombing in Baghdad. A suicide bomber in Peshawar. Quick clips delivered by solemn CNN or Fox News anchors before getting back to the “real news”: Octomom or Miley Cyrus’ Britney Spears-like trajectory. It’s a media Catch 22 of sorts. Call it escapist, but the networks only broadcast what the viewers want to see. And this summer, viewers want sneak-peeks for “Predators”, the movie, not the unmanned drones errantly gunning down Afghan civilians. The networks couldn’t force viewers to watch and, with Great Recession-induced shrinking bottom lines, they largely stopped trying.

The War on Terror is still too close for comfort for Hollywood. “Jarhead” and Oscar-winning “The Hurt Locker” came the closest in depicting the realities of modern war. The films depict testosterone-laden twenty-something males enduring weeks of stifling boredom, depression, and themselves for split seconds of combat. Perhaps the War On Terror’s most iconic satire will be the South Park Guys’ “Team America: World Police” anthem “America F— Yeah!”, lampooning the Bush Era’s rock ‘em sock ‘em, in-your-face war patriotism:

Thanks, in part, to American public apathy, Afghanistan will be the longest war in American history. Iraq, the 3rd longest. This is not a tribute to the resolve of our foes, but their cowardice. The Taliban slink back to their caves or schools to escape head-to-head battle with the most valiant, best-trained fighting force of all time. Historians point out its an insurgency 360 degrees since American Revolutionaries gunned down British Redcoats behind rocks walls at Concord and Lexington. The difference is two-fold: 1) The American Revolutionaries never used innocent women and children as human shields. 2) America fought to escape despotism in the name of Enlightenment, not to restore it and the Dark Ages. The British formations were an anachronism in the face of America’s guerrilla warfare. 230 years later, America’s massive M1 Abrams tanks are of little use in the snow-capped peaks of eastern Afghanistan and Waziristan.


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