It took fifteen minutes over the weekend to demonstrate one of the most important reasons for Bombing Moe. The photos of Tomahawk missile launches and the pics of Libyan tracked artillery pieces with their turrets upside down blew everything else off the news. One can always count on one thing: The western media loves the entertainment value of watching the US military and all its great machines beating up pathetic opposition.
In obvious respects it's a repeat performance. Not a squeak of political opposition and immediate talk on the nobility of it and the alliance -- "a Coalition" -- forged to carry it out. Sunday morning, we even through in the tidbit that mighty Qatar would be taking part, presumably with a a couple armed yachts or French Mirages to sail and fly around the periphery of the action for show.
There's the usual pack of misdirection, this time from the Obama administration on how the US wouldn't be taking the lead. The pictures from Saturday night and Sunday morning put the claim in the trash. Odyssey Dawn is our property. A hundredweight of Tomahawks, B-2's, F-15's and F-16's, among other things, ruined the cover.
Really, think about that one. B-2's. Is that enough firepower reserved for Moe?
Anyway, back in 2003 I was writing a column called Weapon of the Week for the Village Voice. With only a little work, it's easy to rewrite one, entitled "The War Wanker," for this weekend.
And so ...
"Operation Odyssey Dawn" would not be complete without the combined power of war wankers. The wanker army, consisting of retired generals, TV reporters, administration fuglemen, and national pundits, stroke and soothe the polity with ... war glee.
The operation is conducted by suppressing pictures of horror -- mass blood and guts (the pictures of Moe's soldiers burned to crisps) -- or delivering only the most fleeting images of it. Into this void it jams stock US war tale-telling, the imagery of missile launches and bombs going off.
The stock tales:
• Odyssey Dawn will establish a 'no-fly' zone. Yeah right, nice try. It's the standard Pentagon method of overpowering a 98-pound weakling, including bombing his armor and transport as the opportunities present.
• U.S. forces are better equipped and trained than their adversaries.
Stupidly obvious. The U.S. faces an enemy that couldn't be more outmatched.
The war wanker dwells lovingly on wonder weapons from the land of the brave, prattling on from sanitized news production studios. Sunday morning, some retired Navy man -- now in investments -- went on about the Tomahawk missile.
The Tomahawk was "neat", he said. It could attack from any direction and hardly ever missed. Fabulous.
Another, Barry McCaffrey -- a regular from the last showings in 2003 -- was on MSNBC.
He said, "We're off to a good start."
"The B-2 has a huge shock value," McCaffrey added.
"This has been fascinating," contributed Jonathan Alter. "It is fascinating that Qatar has signed up ... This could be really helpful in the long term."
The best thing about the war wankers, however, are that they come cheap. Their salaries are less than the cost of machinery of destruction. However, they're still more than what the middle class, noticeably absent, earns.
Postscript: The President poked his head in from Brazil where he was pumping the value of free trade and 'jobs' for Americans, meaning those 'jobs' that are involved in making weapons for sale to ... Brazil.
"[Brazil's military] modernization plan includes holding a bidding for the purchase of 36 modern fighter-bombers in which the French firm Dassault Aviation's Rafale aircraft is in the running, along with the Gripen built by Sweden's Saab and the F-18 Super Hornet manufactured by the U.S. firm Boeing," reads a newspaper story here.
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