The Gospel According to Hugo Cockley

September 3, 2004

Controversial Terror Thingy

It was the best news I’d heard in a long time: the war on terror isn’t winnable! Just as I had finally succumbed to optimism and allowed myself to suspend disbelief and ignore the constant suicide attacks, terrorist alert warnings, and the idea that the entire world seems to hate America; just as I had finally accepted that, yes, soon we will have erased all the hate for our country with guns and bombs and have won the war on terror, GW, the cowboy that he is, rode in and saved my day.

For a minute, I was really starting to get depressed; it really did seem like all the success we are having in Iraq – the power we haven’t restored, the torture we give out to common criminals so terrorists everywhere will come to love how Democracy and freedom work in America, the constant mortar and suicide attacks against our troops by loving, welcoming Iraqi citizens – was really terrifying the terrorists, such that the 72 virgins they believe are waiting for them in heaven must have seemed more like whores, and they would give up their weapons and join the sickening cause of freedom any day now.

God, that would have been a sad day for chaos lovers everywhere. But then the President gave his interview to Matt Lauer and brought a smile to my face. For a second… Because I, as any thinking person would and should at this point, immediately began to doubt this claim, as I considered its source. Coming from a man with either a tendency to lie (as people like Michael Moore believe) or who is so totally uninformed that a chimpanzee has a better understanding of the world (what I believe), such a beautiful, chaos-affirming statement, I realized, had to be taken with a grain of salt. I mean this is the same man that so famously insisted Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (it didn’t), that promised America would never be stuck “nation-building” under his watch (uh, what are we doing in Iraq?), that he was a “compassionate conservative” (millions more are in poverty and have lost health care since he became president).

True to form, the very next day the President flip-flopped and gave a speech insisting the war on terror is winnable. I don’t know what John Kerry is thinking – maybe he’s jealous that God produced a bigger flip-flopper than himself; maybe he’s licking his lips at the opportunity to trash Bush for being a hypocrite. All I know is that I’d really like an honest answer: are we or are we not going to win this war on terror?

If there’s one thing I hate, it’s a chaos tease; so if we win this war on terrorism, I’m going to be pissed. It will have been a bigger tease than the Cold War, if only because George Bush showed so much potential for fucking up the world. Pre-emptive strikes? Two wars in two years? Millions of job losses, rising poverty, Enron, Haliburton, the Patriot Act, drilling in Alaska, and, most importantly, the constant threat of biological or nuclear attack – I was going to bed every night a happy man. The Apocalypse seemed right around the corner.

But now I don’t know. The promise of war with North Korea and Iran seems to have dissipated. You hardly ever hear them mentioned by the government anymore, when just a couple of years ago they were being proclaimed as part of the really cool sounding Axis of Evil. Did they give up their weapons, stop supporting terrorism, suddenly become our friends? And at the Republican Convention all I heard were optimists droning on about how great everything is, how the economy is doing better, how we’re on the verge of creating a democracy in the Middle East. With the Terminator on the job, as he apparently is, given Arnold’s speech at the convention, how could I ever doubt these optimistic proclamations?

All I can say is thank God for Russia and thank God for hurricanes…

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