The Last Gasps

Falling through the universe at the speed of life

By David Glenn Cox

John Steinbeck wrote, “it’s so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.” When the US shot down Admiral Yamamoto in 1943, the Japanese were left in a world of hurt. This was their Babe Ruth, Inspector Gadget and James Bond. The vacuum left behind was soon filled with a lot of little Generals and Admirals, wanting to be big Generals and Admirals. So, the focus of the war effort shifted, from winning the war to getting my share of the pie. There was no decider in chief, and everyone guarded their resources. Lest some disaster dreamed up by some incompetent, ruin their career. The Army didn’t trust the Navy and so on.

Who would have replaced George Washington, had he fallen off his horse and broken his neck in 1778? Jan & Dean had their little traffic accident and that was it for surf music, ditto Kurt Cobain. The gate swings both ways, Allied planners developed plans for murdering the Fuhrer. The plans were abandoned, when it was realized that murdering Hitler would only help the German military. Murdering Hitler would not only give the Germans something to fight for, but remove the biggest thorn from their military’s side. But once the Fuhrer took his dirt nap the structure fell apart.

After the events of September 11th Americans were in shock. Stunned into submission, angry that anyone could do to this country, what we see going on every day somewhere else. Vengeance was the order of the day; the Battleship Maine must be remembered. We’ve all seen the bar fight scene in Westerns, it doesn’t matter, just hit someone. They used our patriotism to achieve their political goals, regardless of who was responsible for the terrorist act. That’s another battlefield entirely.

I remember the day my George W. Bush, Fun Money check arrived. It was the first time, I’d earned enough to get the bigger fun money check. Burning off the treasury surplus, I opened the envelope (There was no direct deposit.) I looked at the check and told my wife, “Something is up. They don’t give you a check out of the clear blue sky, unless something is up.”  Well now we know what was up.

They would shout Saddam has weapons of Mass Destruction and whisper and “Afghanistan is helping him.” The Afghanistan case was always secondary, “promoting democracy blah, blah, blah. Building schools and infrastructure.” Have you ever heard of Detroit? “That’s Socialism! These people are poor and backward and uneducated.” Have you ever been to Mississippi?  It was time to remember the Maine, God and country and anyone who speaks agin it, are traitors. Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Baily Animal Crackers Patriotism. I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. Comes in assorted flavors Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.

Oh, golly gosh, geez Louise is my face red? He wasn’t hiding in Afghanistan, after all! What were we thinking? Here he was living in suburban Pakistan and silly us, we were looking in the wrong place! Well, at least he’s gone, everyone back to their posts. I was amused by the Neocons warning of increased Chinese influence in Afghanistan. By all means, be our guest! Let me give you a letter of introduction. Welcome to malfunction junction! Every country friend and foe alike, who has ever tried to help Afghanistan, or help themselves to Afghanistan, has ended up the worst for it.

Experts say that there is potentially a trillion dollars in mineral wealth in Afghanistan. I bet there is gold on the moon too! I wonder which would be easier to get at. The schools built will be abandoned, and fall into ruin and the Humvees will soon stall. If you can’t fix it with goat innards, you can’t fix it. American’s rub the sleep from their eyes, “What? We lost Afghanistan. How’d that happen?”

Americans don’t understand why people in third-world countries don’t want to be Americans, like them. “Look this could be Palm Springs if you people would just cooperate! We built you a shopping mall with trees and plastic plants. A Seven Eleven with a Squishy machine, and painted lines on the street and paved the parking lot!” The worst domestic dictator is better than the most benevolent foreigner.  

Imagine you are an Afghan, and you see Hamid Karzai doing his best Queen Elizabeth wave, with a cloak over his shoulders. Please! Please! Please! James Brown without the moves, a US puppet who hadn’t been to Afghanistan since 1957, smiling right at you. All of the Kings horses and all the kings’ men couldn’t make it right again. Conquering Afghanistan was easy, staying was impossible. We should have tried conquering the moon instead.

The Iraq/Afghanistan debacle, eventually weakened the Republican Party with the exit of Cheney/Bush. Twump won the nomination, and the rest is the end of the world history. Twump incited the imbeciles and lit a fire under the rednecks. But then, the last day came and Twump was out of the loop and the Republican stage grew dark. Though they tried to mimic their orange master, it just wasn’t the same. Meanwhile, out in the suburbs of Tobacco Rd. Estates. The hoosters in the hustings, have moved on with the next schmoe who sold nada, the next NASCAR race, the next beer buzz. Yeah, I remember him; he was great back in the day.

And now, the Republican stage is darker than it has ever been. A tremendous black hole opens sucking them in one by one. Lost without direction, they bump into each other aimlessly, saying ridiculous things for attention. Things like, the government doesn’t want to investigate cattle wormer as a Covid cure. Because they hate Donald Twump. The last gasps of a dying man, “It’s getting dark, I mean, you don’t need a mask.”

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