In today’s column, our Statue of Liberty once again gasses up her torch to answer two timely letters:
Dear Green Lady,
I am a gay soldier, trying to have safe sex at an air force base in Nevada. It is really rough here with that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy and all. Also I got assigned to pilot some of those drone planes that fly over Pakistan and are called “unmanned aerial vehicles.” You look on a computer screen and drop bombs by remote control.
So far they like me here because of my experience in high school as a video game champ, but I hate those drone missions. Even though those AUVs are scientifically designed to only obliterate Islamic extremists, you never know for sure who you’re hitting 7,000 miles away.
But since I found Billy, all that doesn’t matter so much. Now, when our drones light up the sky, I think about Billy, and it’s like him and me are playing “Call of Duty4: Modern Warfare” on my old Xbox360. So maybe this damn war might do some good after all.
What bugs me is that, even though me and Billy are doing a hell of a job, we could get kicked out of the military just cause we’re gay. That sounds like discrimination to me. How come the U.S. Armed Forces can’t allow us gays to be all that we can be — lovers and killers? Isn’t that our right as Americans, ma’am?
Wake up and smell the corpses, dear. No, wait. You can’t — they’re too far away. In any case, remember that your President’s first priority is to protect the nation. Three days after taking office, Mr. Obama ordered his first drone attack on Pakistan. Only months later did he announce that he wanted to repeal the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy.
To give your President a human-rights wake-up call from his war campaign, why not write him a little note on nice stationery? Remind him that, just like any other Americans, gueers in the military deserve their chance to kick a little Third World ass. If you hang in there long enough, I’ll wager that straight people everywhere will soon begin to see each of your missions as a surgical strike for gay and lesbian rights.
Dear Green Lady,
I would like to know please how to get bloodstains out of an Oriental carpet. The carpet has been in my family for generations, and I would hate to lose it. Two of my children were lying on it last night, listening to the radio, when the planes came again. This time, they hit our house. There was so much blood! They bombed the electrical generator and the water supply for our town, so that the fire, when it started, could not be put out. It raged all night and, when morning came, I saw that most of my family lay dead.
Then I noticed a little movement from under the carpet. I lifted it up, and there was my youngest daughter. She was still alive. I wrapped her in a piece of the carpet and carried her to the clinic. She might have lived if she received medical treatment. But the planes had bombed the clinic, too.
Now I must clean this carpet. It is the only thing of my family that I have left. The trouble is, there is all this blood. Everywhere, blood. Tell me, please, how does one get rid of the blood?
— A mother in Waziristan
Dear Islamic Extremist,
I don’t know what kind of low-grade media you’re getting over there. If you had access to Western TV, you would see that THERE IS NO BLOOD! Zip. I have been watching these wars for years now, and have yet to see any blood.
Like our President says, we want only peace and democracy for your backward, sinister country. And the best way to show people like you that we care is with a state-of-the-art military, working seamlessly with modern news outlets. Now, instead of massacred civilians, blackened villages, and little napalmed girls screaming naked in the street, you see well-groomed broadcasters in attractive fashions, talking about things. What you probably witnessed the other night was some old footage from the Vietnam War — with which this war has, of course, nothing in common.
Offhand, my guess is that you’ve fallen prey to the disinformation program of Al Jazeera, favored news source of Osama bin Laden. Perhaps they want you to confuse the term “carpet bombing” — which, thanks to the precision of computerized warfare is old hat — with the idea that someone actually bombed your carpet.
There is no — I repeat, NO — blood. Why don’t you buy yourself a Nintendo game, dear? Or better yet, relax with a news story about gays and lesbians trying to gain acceptance in the U.S. military.
Susie Day is Assistant Editor of Monthly Review.