Elfriede Jelinek


Translated from the German by

Lilian Friedberg © 2005-07

This Translation was sponsored by:

All rights whatsoever in this play and the translation are strictly reserved and application for permission for any use whatsoever, including performance rights, must be made in advance, prior to any such proposed use, to theater@rowohlt.de  Rowohlt Theater Verlag, Hamburgerstr. 17, 21465 Reinbek, Germany. No performance may be given unless a licence has first been obtained.





 (I don't know I don't know. Just stick a knit stocking cap on it, the kind with a tassel on top like my dad used to wear with his old overalls while building our little single-family home. Never seen anything uglier than that. I don’t know what kind of crime you’d have to commit or sentence you’d have to get to get stuck wearing something that ugly on your head. Cut off a knit stocking, tie it off at the top to form a sort of pompom, and stick it on your head. That's all folks.)

(Special thanks to Aeschylus and his The Persians, translated into German by Oskar Werner. May as well throw in a pinch of Nietzsche, if you like. But I didn’t write the rest of it either. It's not exactly the cat's pajamas--more the product of a press that's all dressed up like an emperor with no new clothes, a “product of bad parenting” as the German idiom goes.)


U.S. Game


Already the sun is breaking its way through, through and through, the sun, first messenger of doom, to the Lord what's his name again, everybody knows his name, already the army is breaking into the city, the army, mighty in mass but not in mettle, breaking its way through and through, the army, throttling through the hungry masses, thirsty masses, through the threat-filled city of people in its path, a force far too massive, too many in number, as evil as its deeds may be, its tolerance level is no small match, the city, very much at home, lying there in the desert, its inhabitants long since kiln-fired to an army of hardened clay. How now, after all this, how on Earth will we ever make it up to the people of Babylon? No matter what you say to them, all they can do is cry out for water, for water, for water, for food, for food. My son, my son, my two sons, my three sons, my four sons. All gone. All gone. Best would be both: food and water. Meals ready-to-eat, come on, get ‘em off the trucks, pick up the pace please, hurry it up before the people of this city, absent the sprays of water to cool their heads, start cracking skulls on the Lord’s chosen few and burst open a whole world of unhinged emotion known only to us, only to us in the West and a whole heat wave of hatred known only to them. We may be thirsty, too, yesirree, but at least we aren’t hate mongers, nosirree, which doesn’t mean we don’t have feelings--we do. But at least we don't let them show. We are not totally void of emotion, but what’s the point of letting your feelings show? Where do they come from, where do they go? Where do they lead? They lead us to liberate the people. So why are they all up in arms about it? They don’t want to be free? Or only to be free on the condition that they also be understood? Huh? What? Whatever is said, it’s always too much or too little. It would be naive to expect that you could say all you have to say in every word you say. So it’s best not to say anything for once. It’s better that way. We always speak in hope of being understood, and by people who wish us well--otherwise, there would be nothing to say to the cameras and microphones. We hide what is foreign to us. We only let others know what we want them to think about us, we never say what we’re really thinking. Huh? What? They don't want to be understood? So why do we bother? It's all the same to us. We’ll do whatever we want anyway. No, we don’t always get to do whatever we want. But it’s not like we get all up in arms over it. We’re go-getters alright! We just go in and grab whatever we want and are robbed of our senses whenever we don't get it. So where did all that oil go, unspent? Burning. Burning. Explosives set round the rigs where the oil wells up, where it goes up in flames and goes to waste. It’s impossible to imagine, and hard to foresee. And anyone who might manage to spare himself from drowning in that tear-soaked sea of salt, the least we shall do is to kill him. You can set fire to our homes, set fire to our icons, just keep your fires off our oil and our television sets, these are ours to keep, our altar—one that cannot disappear without a trace, for it is itself the trace! The tracer bullets that let us see in the dark. Let us see in the dark the way lightning strikes straight into the hailstorm of enemy fire. Oh yeah, and of course, there’s our depleted uranium stockpile, I was just looking for that because we are definitely going to need it. Let me explain why in simple terms: a missile draws energy from its velocity and mass. It can't just grab a Snickers bar, right. It can’t have an energy bar or a chocolate Easter egg as a pick-me-up, can’t refuel depleted energy that way, not the missile. How lucky for the missile—it doesn’t need food and it can’t eat. Lucky for the missile, but not for us: because this is precisely the point where its luck begins and ours runs out. The guns on the Humvees are small in diameter, barely 12 cm, see, so how the hell are we going get a decent hit out of that? Our problem is that we need to develop a high impact on a small target, and uranium is high in density, that’s its problem. And it becomes our problem, too, because it might make us sick in the process. In light of this war, I guess you could call that a boon for us, not a boondoggle. They’re no longer content with dashing together the bronze prows of their cumbersome seafaring galleys. But the uranium, now that really hits the spot! Hits the spot about like what this gentlemen just told us. The supply lines are up and running, but this guy doesn’t have to do any running himself. Still, I can't get it out of my head: Have the feelings really all died, every last one of them? Because you witnessed so much horror and suffering, or what or why? Every last one? So you did have some, and the others don't have any at all? Unbelievable! No, I can't believe it, they are still alive, aren’t they? No, I guess they aren’t. They are dead, better believe it. Maybe they’ve just never felt any of these emotions personally. Those who believe in God. But it’s not enough for them. They’re out to free the fatherland. But they can't because we alone resist the temptation that would only set us back, and we question religion and we question the stones and we question the sand and we question the water, we alone know God and have realized that we want nothing to do with Him, we who can lead no one into temptation, we who are tempted by images alone. As soon as we walk in the door to the house, the first thing we do is turn on the tube. Seductive eyewash. The show must go on. And it does. Immediately. They never leave us without a trace, these images of our deity that we see, the ones only we can see there on that glimmering screen. So we’ll just march in there and strip these people of their faith, and we’ll finally force these icons of ours down their throats, and that’ll be that. All’s well that ends well. Then these people will be washed up once and for all, these people who place no faith in the primacy of the individual, for any nation of people not founded on the primacy of the individual is a people that cannot exist as a nation of people. But they know who God is, God is what they know. And that’s the main thing. They don’t know anyone else, they don’t love anyone else, but they know who God is, God is what they know. They are strangers to emotion, but they know who some God is, God is who they claim to know. That’s what they say. And they know that this God is theirs. Well, they’re about to see our true colors. How much you want to bet they’ll soon make us into their Gods? No? Naw, I guess they won’t. Use it or lose it. Breaking through, through and through, all the King’s men menacing the cities, here they come, all the names we know, names we know and names we don’t, no matter, no matter whether it’s Arabia or whatever it’s called, that place is just teeming with names, names that everyone knows, not a name no one knows, not even someone who doesn’t know a single person in the world, Babylon is bursting with her share of blooming color and she’s not about to take it back. And the kingpins, commanders in chief, wearing their names on their sleeves, are carrying a heavy load with their golden chariots, it’s the cars, after all, that carry them, not the other way around, they just follow our vehicles around in their fuel trucks, and sometimes we get killed in the process. Thanks all the same, we’ll gladly, gladly take that gallon of liquid gold, use it to douse the flowery fraternal fruits of men that went forth and led us into Babylonian lands. What was I about to say? Oh. Anyone who threatens his neighbors is more fascinated by pride than by the fact that everyone is equal. Yeah. That’s a fact. Really. That’s why we’re finding them everywhere now, wherever they are, everywhere within reach of the King’s stringent edict. Maybe there are some who will flee them, but many more will follow in their footsteps. The British people, the American people, for example, who set out on their crusades. They’re the ones, hording the riches in their gold-gilded mansions. But of course they want even more. They always want even more. If you got it, you got it. If you got it, flaunt it. But not everyone who wants to will get some. Those who get some will not get it from the molly-coddled masses, and that is why they’ll get some. Winner takes all. Do you know the one I’m talking about? Have you ever heard the name of that corporation, Halliburton, and the name Cheney, the High Almighty Lord, scion of so-and-so or such-and-such, I know not what, son of a mother, or the mother of all sons I suppose, and he’s been battling emotional whirlwinds of wishy-washy weal and woe since the day he was born. Dick Cheney. But his weal and woe won’t win. Halliburton will win, the corporation that can even build cages in Cuba, well, even I could manage to build a cage if I had to, but it would barely be built tough enough to contain a rabbit, if that; they managed to build Corpus Christi in Texas, too. And the place sure lives up to its name! He’s just going to go out and rebuild everything, Lord of the Energy Industry, Lord Chairman of the Board, Lord of the Cooked Books, Lord of Cronyism. But Cronyism is an Arab thing. You can bet your bottom dollar on it: this company will come out the winner no matter who actually wins this war. Wait a minute, what about the Brits—those brave little limey lads who laid into that strange flesh, dug into it, worked it over, and of course, the favor was returned, you really hate to leave yourself in anyone’s debt, but sometimes there’s no way around it. They just hauled their buff buck-private asses on in there, like a walking mirage of the avenger incarnate, into a foreign land, where many of them bit the dust in the sands, and now you’re saying they’re not going to get anything out of it? Well. I told you so. They’ve got to get their contracts, and none too few. They haven’t gotten any yet. But they’re still negotiating hard. The construction companies will come running after the spectacular real estate, sister concubines and condominiums, two of a kind. They’ll come running, one after the other, with strict rules to determine who’s first in line. I told you so. They landed the deals, founded the fatherlands—by luck of the draw—no, it wasn’t luck, it was the law of the land: connections, lobbyists, family ties, tradition, who gives a hoot how, at any rate, the first ones in line got the fattest contracts. The purchase order is already blowing in the wind like a willow, but not a weeping one. First come, first served. Bush and Blair haggling over it in the English language at the summer retreat, Camp David—David, the little guy with the slingshot, you know the one I mean, and Goliath, the Leviathan, sacrifices made to the demon, deliver us from disaster and doom, there’s no way around it, what was I about to say, never mind, the British corporations don’t yet have their hand in the game, but Blair, of course, is out to get his fair share. That much is clear. He flew into a rage when he first heard about the Halliburton deal, but Bush subdued him, now he yokes them all before his chariot, Texas gold lust in his heart, bridling the blokes ‘bout their necks, but the corporate contracts are so arrayed, towering straight as the number one, with plenty of zeros behind it, yeah, it’s not exactly a yoke, only for his buddies, and that’s the kind of bling they’re all too happy to have draped around their necks, proud as peacocks—they bite their tongues, turn on a dime at the slightest tug of the reins on the bit, as long as the contracts keep coming. They bite their tongues. And we bite ours too. Anything they can do, we can do too. But Cheney does not bite his tongue. He doesn’t need to. He’s the Man. What he says goes. Now there he goes again, talking. But he doesn’t need to, the main thing is he’s still closer to the starting profit than near to the end. How’s the war going? It’s still closer to a beginning than near an end. Birds of a feather flock together. Yeah. Dick Cheney. He and his clan will do the rebuilding. To the tune of 100 billion dollaros, counting the money day in and day out, while time just keeps on ticking.

Oyvay, now I’m watching something really horrific, happening to parents, to women, even children and the elderly are getting hit by what’s happening--they’re the ones paying the price. Thank God this is the only one: the only price there is to pay, the only penance, the only payback in the world, calculated, carefully calculated, charged to the account of the tourist industry, which really can’t be saddled with this.

Stone panel from the North-West Palace of Ashurnasirpal II  883-859 bc
Stone panel from the North-West Palace of Ashurnasirpal II 883-859 bc

Already the golden army is breaking its way through, we can’t tell yet how many of them there are, and I think they’re deliberately not telling us, nor do we know exactly where they are, we know up to the minute where it is, where is it then, it’s in the wilderness, even though there is no such thing as wilderness here, the army, even despite its might and yet much too tiny, too tiny, when placed on the scale, it came up short, too short, the army, you shudder in dread just looking them in the eye, here’s lookin’ at you, kid, standing there now in the splendorous arms of their armor, should I sit here and count them myself, one by one, not even a TV show should expect me to do that, what, I don’t believe it, now there are another 1,000 parachute troopers in the north, and what is more, 100,000 to the south, but I’m not going to count any more than that, they want to be counted after all, so who’s going to count them, I don’t believe there are that many of them after all, the thousand troops where the rings of the ancient Turkish fortress stood could not stop them, a ring that will never again glitter golden, not even if we beseech them for days on end, hammering into their heads with all the zeal of an evangelical quill that they should not advance to the north, please, pretty please, do not, lest all hell break loose there, too. Please, people, just say you believe in God, in general, it can only work to your advantage now. Be Christ-like and Christian, because from now on, everything that is beyond good and Christian will be rendered impotent and godless, and where on earth shall we find the good soldiers, kind-hearted, ready to serve. I don’t know. I think the ground is too quicksand soft, the ground in the desert is far too soft, and in the water, where the two dolphins are at play in the quagmire, but not with each other, you can’t even see it, the ground. You can’t see the ground for the minefields. We’re looking for a few good mines to put on a poker face and play a good game in the name of good and evil. Mud. Military divers, mud, mines, mud. Diving blindly into the mud in the way nary a fish in the world would do, not by choice, the God of the sea throws us a line, a mine belt like a noose around the neck, so the food never makes landfall, in a meal, ready-to-eat wave, never reaches the forsaken shores of this land. Whatayagonna do? The country folk wait, the people of this nation are bursting with something, though not with signs of good health, and the hordes, oops, no, I mean herds, of the mighty Master of War marching his menfolk onward, headlong over the heads of the people. They’re shorn sheep in a flock with a seersucker shepherd to tell them which life to lead, not like the long-suffering animals, haplessly hurled into the arms of the weak. Patient lads they are, themselves still feckless, still unflecked by fame, unsullied by the spoils of war, but they’ll get theirs yet, that’s a done deal. They’ve already tied the bibs ‘bout their necks—to shield them from blows to the neck and secure them their fame. Wasn’t there a dam somewhere around here, built as a preventative measure? No they’ve flooded it, to prevent the advance. Just as well. Might as well just go somewhere else, might as well just get around it, it’s just part of our culture that we eventually get around to exercising a certain degree of force, no one can come within reach of our armed forces. And no one need come within reach because now the press travels with them, the troops, nestled in beside them, and their sensibilities might as well swell right along with our own, why the hell not. On the scene, live and in living-dead color as our sons plunder and pillage the city. Oh, and the finds to be found there! Eureka! Who is the shepherd leading this flock? The only man fit to be leader is one who liberates the people, lest no man shall become slave to another, no citizen subject to another man’s will. And how are their leaders supposed to contain them when these men come at them with brutal enemy force? Well, they’re bound to fight back. Of course. What else are they supposed to do? They fight back. I suppose what I’m saying might seem worrisome to the parents of those soldier-sons over there. So be it. In other places it’s poverty that drives people to extremes, here at least they have a mission to keep them off the streets and they’ve hit the road where they might have had a job to do, but now they’re on this road to nowhere, but we’re already there. We’re already there and sending home pictures which we cling to like postage stamps whose only purpose is to ship ‘em out: home, boys, to the home. We are the champions, the best of the best. Poster children of proficiency—otherwise there would be no point in posting the pictures. So we don’t have to get sent home ourselves. Sent to our home in the sand. May the forces of good prevail, and may victory soon be ours! We are the wall, and our yea-saying is the primordial intellectual act. Whenever we say the word, that’s when the beginning finally begins. We came, we saw, we conquered: wind ‘em up, slam ‘em down and ship ‘em out. Why is he intent on looting this city? We’ll tell him about it, and send him the pictures of booty to boot, just to be sure he understands what we’re trying to tell him.

Stone panel from the North-West Palace of Ashurnasirpal II -Nimrud- 883-859 BC
Stone panel from the North-West Palace of Ashurnasirpal II -Nimrud- 883-859 BC

As soon as high tide rushes in, we’ll get out of here, then we’ll be gone, washed up on the shore, I mean, stuck there in the sand, then we’ll come rushing in to put up a fight like good manly men. If we hadn’t come rushing in here, we wouldn’t have had to put up a fight. And now all these cities will be razed to the ground. Just like that. There they lie. The law’s been laid—driven into the ground—never to rise again because it’s not just that we rely on it—we’re literally lying on top of it and we’re not about to budge. God, will you come and bring us a new law so that we can finally, finally do something in Your name! We’re in the right, we’ve laid down the law. What can you say. We’re in the right.

Jesus: comparing him to God makes a mockery of the Jews, that’s what I think. It’s awful, and something we should never say again. Because Jesus is less than the Father. He is not the same as the Father, like Donald Rumsfeld and George W. Bush, and Richard Perle who’s gone now but still somehow there, he and a few others believe Jesus is with them, always at their side, along for the ride, the same guy even as he places his hand on his beautiful wife’s dark green pashmina shawl to protect her. He believes Jesus is with him, he believes Jesus is with them all, it’s the only way he feels safe, it’s the only way his wife feels safe. Only Jesus can protect us like this, just as this man, this president, protects his beautiful wife and off they go into the helicopter! Tripping lightly up the stairs. Light as a feather. But this makes me wonder, could it be that Jesus is really less than his father? Jesus is now greater than his father, or at least on a par with him, I say to no one in particular. The Father never revealed to him the full font of facts, well, excuse me, but whose fault was that? Should he have done so, should he have told him everything? Then Jesus might be asking himself, “what would George W. do?”, seriously. Jesus W. Bush is still refusing to let himself be called godlike, but we’ll convince him yet. He is a Son of God: but so can everyone else be a Son of God, or at least wish that they were. The Jews are so bizarre. But just listen here, you’ve done it often enough, people: They just assign this divine right of kinship to more than one one and only son. And yet there can only be one one and only in this unHoly Trinity. Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush. Well, if you ask me, I think there are probably quite a few more, and that sends the whole splendid structure of their religion into a crumbling, crash-and-burn tailspin. And brings the rest of us down right along with it. And then they’ve got the gall to contend that this not need imply that they’re all Gods themselves, but where are we supposed to come up with the third leg of the Trinity when we’re not dealing here with a deck of cards, but rather with map-reading in the lower decks of our tanks towering high above the sandy streets? In the Semitic languages, or so I’ve heard, the term “son” is extremely vague and open to ample interpretation, but that’s based on information from a single source, so, please, maybe it’s not even true.

And it wasn’t simply to satisfy our curiosity that we advanced so far to the south. We went south in order to solemnly bring these cities to their knees. So these people come at us in civilian dress waving white flags, y’see, they dare to wave white flags, then start shooting at us. They’re wrapped up in these wraps to keep the uniforms they’re wearing uniformly under wraps. And start shooting at us. Here we are, out there learning to walk on water, learning what it means to drive on desert sands, learning what it means to shoot from the air and now this! That’s just not right. It is not a justified war. It is an unjust war. The least you can say is that it’s being fought between unequal foes, that’s gotta be worth something. That much we know. That’s the least we can say. They’re showing us that much. They’re landing now, directly opposite the shoreline, hastily falling in line, the great army, Tomahawk-Terror-Troops, each one among them a little king, each one a subject to the high-and-mighty king, shit, how do I get from the winner’s circle to the land of losers, how do I get from the land of losers to the technology, which is what I really set out to get because, that, after all, is the real marvel of man—the human being is a piece of shit by comparison. No one would have put this much effort into manufacturing human beings, that much is a foregone conclusion, but this Tomahawk missile, it’s unbelievable: with its fully automated directional control system (just launch the thing, then forget about it). Not to mention the satellite global positioning navigation system, indeed, it’s better not to mention it, it’s too complicated, with its dynamically calibrated inertial navigation system, in addition to its terrain contour matching (TERCOM) radar guidance, but what are we going to do if the contours of one desert terrain are indistinguishable from those of another? What are we going to do if they end up landing somewhere in Saudi Arabia, where they really have no business landing? Yeah, just what are we going to do in that case? Well, at least the Tomahawk knows what it’s doing. That’s the main thing. Pinpoint accuracy (50% of targets hit within a 2m2 impact area!) achieved with a combination of several navigation and target recognition systems, and off it goes, really, off it goes, and it knows exactly where to go! You surely you cannot say the same for yourselves, folks. And your deployment range as human beings is for shit by comparison, too, which is no wonder when you think about the loveless way you were manufactured in the first place—prematurely and far too hastily at best, as I said, the deployment range is 1,600 km at 800 km/h, which isn’t all that great, but it doesn’t get any faster than that, what matters most is the accuracy, don’t you think, just get a load of that turbo-charged jet propulsion engine! Bet you’d like to get your hands on one of those, wouldn’t you? Unlike you, though, inclined as you are to often miss the target, the risk of this thing being shot down is kept minimal by the low-frequency radar profile (stealth) and low altitude flying at between 15 and 100 meters, we’ll hear more later about why that poses a risk (high angular velocity, short warning period), orders for less than 100 can be filled immediately, for the event that you need one right away, price per standard-equipped item (warhead not included, unfortunately, warhead not included, there’s an extra charge for that, thems the breaks): $650,000.

Tomahawk Cruise Missile

Bulk orders filled on request. If you’re not completely satisfied, they can be returned—unused, of course. That should go without saying. I could say a lot more about the directional control system, but I’ll save that for later. In the meantime, you can think about how many you’d like to purchase. You’d have to be a real bastard, Sir, if you just intend to wreck the whole thing, but if you really want to fuck it up, fuck up all this wonderful technology, then please fuck with the rear end, where the little wingy-things are attached, right there, see? Yep, that’s where. As usual, I set out to talk about the losers and end up all fired up here about the winners, but that’s what everyone wants, and that’s why I steer desperately in the opposite direction, but my steering wheel refuses to cooperate: in the opposite direction, I said! C’mon, get with the program! If I could just get around this one last bend, get it down on paper. And now I’m not even sure anymore who is allowed to say “we” in the war of words between “us” and “them”. And even as I’m busy wondering about that, then I get hit head on by this sand storm, just the kind of hit I really can’t take right now when I’m headed in the opposite direction, headed for the losers, on the losers’ stretch, a path that’s already been paved in asphalt just for me, for me alone, just so that I don’t dare take any other route. Wait a minute here, hold up, there are already hundreds of thousands lining that street, standing there screaming peace, peace. Guess I better get the hell out of here as fast as I can. I’m as much in the wrong place here as I am everywhere else, everywhere, in the wrong place. But what’s the big deal, in a world where even army tanks are wont to lose their way. I’ve gone as far West as the Greek God Helios went swindling--er, uh, dwindling—down; I mean he hasn’t yet joined the press corps after all. But they’ll be enlisting his services soon enough. We’re going to need Helios to improve the missile’s ability to see. Well, no, I guess we’ll need the cartographically-controlled ground radar (TERCOM) more, yeah, that’s just what we need. The only reason we need Helios now is to shine his light down so the missile can at least read its pre-programmed terrain contour map when it can’t even see the terrain itself and can’t distinguish one dune of sand from another. Sand sand sand. Oh boy. One grain of sand is a grain of sand is a grain of sand. That’s a fact. But Helios doesn’t do a damn bit of good, and the missile desperately compares the coordinates on its pre-programmed map with the most recent readings of its high-frequency radar, to no avail. Any deviations from the flight course are recognized and corrected. Or not. Or not. The basic principle behind it is that, within a few kilometers from the target area, the short-range radar target recognition system determines—with the aid of comparative data concerning the terrain and its contours—the precise area of impact, then it strikes that target! Boom! Missed! Missed again! And there’s no explanation for it. Nevertheless, they get off track all the time. And there’s no explanation for it, so I don’t have one, either—maybe you’ve got a better idea? They still can’t explain why it hit the Al Nasser Market in Baghdad when it had no business being anywhere near there. That’s really no way to do business. Something else has to blow here and I sure wish someone would tell us what because that was one heckuvajob, not bad. Doubts about the surgical strike capacities of the army? Naw, no doubts about the surgical strike capacities. We have more doubts about our enemy than about ourselves. He’s not where we suspected him to be. No wonder those Tomahawks sometimes end up getting off track when the enemy isn’t where he’s supposed to be. It’s only logical. And yet, we’ve made so many improvements to the technology! Unbelievable, that stupid idiot Miss Missile, how could she have possibly have flown straight into the marketplace! For hours on end we hammered that map into her head then she just flew right into the marketplace! A miss is as good as a mile, I guess! What did that darling little Tomahawk think she was going to go shopping for at that marketplace? Was she maybe just foraging for food? There’s not much left to be had at that market. What was she thinking, just up and flying in there? Amazing, when you think about the fact that every one of these missiles is smarter than a human being. About five of them have already just landed somewhere willy-nilly in the Saudi desert and to this day, no one knows why and to this day, they haven’t even gone off. But that’s one flight pattern that’s immediately been taken off the map. We can’t let those missiles get away with that without some form of punishment. Otherwise, they’ll just start doing it all the time. They’re not allowed to fly in that area anymore—they’re grounded, that’s that. What was that you say? Three of them even went down in Eastern Turkey? I’m sure it wasn’t as if they were supposed to be dropping tourists off there, those dipshits! Now that really takes the cake! But it sure doesn’t make War into a cakewalk, does it? Nosirree! You can’t have your cake and eat it, too, not if you’re War. War just can’t get enough of it. Not War. No, not War. All War wanted was the icing on the cake, and ended up getting a good swift kick in the ass instead.

What I really wanted was to rise like a shooting star, but I happen to be in the West. Whatyagonnado? So I’m sitting here waiting for the real storm to blow in in these next few days, and all I get is this lousy desert storm. And what these vehicles guzzle down, these souped-up golden chariots of theirs, I simply couldn’t, simply could not believe it, 2 gallons per mile per tank—converted into metric terms, that makes 450 liters per 100 kilometers. Now, you do the math, people. It’s about 400 kilometers from Kuwait to Baghdad. Yeah, it adds up. And what with all those drivers, dangers and dead man’s curves along the way. How am I supposed to make the curve here? It is the most important curve. It’s not like the northernmost curve of the Nürburg Ring that’s always been of particular interest to me even though it’s long since been dead as a doornail, but the dead are interesting people, too, and not just in wartime, no, not now, there will be time enough for that, and our timing is good, we’re still right on schedule, absolutely, we’d planned on being stuck sitting here for days on end, and what do you know, here we are, we’ve been stuck sitting here for days on end, 90 kilometers from Baghdad. They made it to Baghdad. Well, almost. Maybe we were simply too fast, we wouldn’t have had to be that fast, so it’s no wonder we’re at a standstill now. No wonder we’ve had to stop. We were too fast. Two of our dearly beloved domesticated dolphins on the foaming crests of waves rustling like leaves on treetops in the bay, ah, yes, we do so much like to find rest and respite with the animals. All you need to do is look at them and the relaxation effect is automatic. Flipper is your friend, ever so kind and gentle is he. Tricks he will do wherever he appears, oh, how we laugh whenever he’s near. He’s just a barrel of fun, without him there’s no fun in the sun, and, when he happens upon a landmine, it’s still all fun and games, D’oh!, haven’t I already said something about playing a good game? so what else is new, I’m always saying the same old, same old thing, and then he’s rewarded with a fish, Flipper, both Flippers, yippee! Makes him happy as a clam! See Flipper flip! Hard to believe that a fish could flip out like that, even though we’ve seen it all so many times before. But I think he’s about the only one who’s so flippin’ happy right about now. War is the only thing that’s just, that’s for damn sure. And it's safe to say that this one is just. But you sure as hell can't describe this situation as safe but not secure.

Stone panel from the North-West Palace of Ashurnasirpal II - Nimrud- 883-859 BC.
Stone panel from the North-West Palace of Ashurnasirpal II - Nimrud- 883-859 BC

The heavy tank is whisking away the People of Good Will, although you, folks, surely still hope for a chance to speak with them, wait a minute, you’ve got to wait out the press conference Tommy Franks is about to give us, and there’s precious little else he’s got to give us. But we’ve already got everything. There’s precious little else he’s got to give us, just this web of deception spun by his God and his gang of golden boys back home in the fatherland, indeed, this web of deception: what mortal man slips through? No mortal man slips through. But any number of lies have slipped through, he was powerless to prevent that from happening. Many are dead. And he was powerless to prevent those deaths, too. Today alone, another couple hundred corpses came along, tomorrow perhaps another thousand. I try to avoid using the name of God and say Heaven instead, and lo and behold, look what suddenly rains from the heavens, that is, when there doesn’t happen to be a sand storm blowing in at the wrong arrival time, the wrong departure gate, the wrong ascent stage of the flight. Please, folks, the point in raising a toast was not to make the glasses—or whatever—clank together; that’s not what rising to the occasion is all about. Nor was that what He—God, that is—had in mind, even though He may otherwise demand great things from us, this mounting death toll does not rank among them. Oh, but if you ask me, well, maybe that was indeed what he wanted. Otherwise, why are we doing this, if it’s not what He demands of us. We wouldn’t do it otherwise. Precisely. Great things demand that we remain silent about them or that we praise their greatness, that is: innocently, and with impunity. Ultimately, the Kingdom of God is here on Earth, it is within us, and it is never closed, it is open 24/7, it never closes its doors to business, and that is precisely what we need to get right now. The Kingdom and the Glory forever and ever. It is not within us. Please, people, do not come looking for us! We’ve already been had. We’ve already been had—we’ve already been had the moment we look ourselves in the eye.

Who would dare take that leap and hurtle himself headlong into the arms of salvation? Who? I guess we’re the ones who’ll have to do it. We come bearing death and salvation on our sleeves, but of course we can’t bring both death and salvation in one fell swoop, even you all should be able to get a handle on that. First things first--after all, the Easter bunny doesn’t bring his eggs at Christmas time, either—everything in its own time. For the seduction of brilliance can dazzle you into her net, way up there in the nest, where the bombs slip through the cracks of green-and-yellow baskets, ouch, there goes another one, and a child has lost half its face; over there, another one is completely blown away, how did that happen so fast? How did that happen? Sure, no human mortal can expect to escape the clutches of death, but one would hope he’d be entitled not to fall from the nest before his time, without ever having the chance to stand tall enough to touch the nests where mortal men are made, but not with love and care. Mortals. Who wish to be made immortal at the drop of a hat. Here you go, folks, a medal to pin on your chest because you died for this noble cause! Thank you. Much is made of men in those nests, but little made with love and care. That much is clear. No, that much is not clear—not anymore.

OK, so I’m going to tell it like it is: even though I do not hail from the clan of car owners, I nevertheless have a certain vested interest in oil, as a matter of principle. That’s why I’ve shrouded myself in black and my heart is torn apart by dread, for fear that we won’t be able to get any more of it. Or that it will get too expensive for us to afford, now that it’s already costing us more than we can afford. Or there will be too little of it. Or there will be too much of it, so much that no one can make any money off it. Because the subsidies will be cut off, and why won’t anyone subsidize me? Am I not worth it? No, I’m not worth it. I don’t even own a car. What else are we supposed to do to fuel the flames that keep us burning? What I find missing from the word oil is the concept of nature. It is a product of nature. It belongs to everybody. Nature belongs to everyone, unless of course, you don’t happen to own a house on Lake Wörther or maybe Lake Tahoe—one and the same, as far as I’m concerned, or at least it will be before long. If you don’t happen to own property there, your piece of nature’s pie is not as big—obviously. In any case, we’re all gung-ho on the notion that every last bit of nature ought to be handed over to us because we are the be-all and end-all of everything after all. Amen. But there are a few who are more than that. Except that sometimes less is more, ain’t that the truth. We have this concept called civilization, and we have a police force to enforce our rules, that’s all fine and good, but what about those sand niggers who are so ingenious that they don’t even see the need for culture because they once had one, long, long ago? Now they don’t want it anymore. Been there, done that, and now they don’t want it anymore. But they are sorely mistaken because there is nothing but us now. There is nothing but us. That’s the enormity of it. It frightens me, but we gotta do what we gotta do. Blessed are they that hear the Word of God and keep it. But did you ever think about the consequences, Luke? Why did you bother to write that, knowing no one would listen anyway? Not just hear it—but keep it! Oy vay! Oh yay! But all my fears, all your fears, folks, all the fears of god-fearing men—all for shit. Oil, too, is ultimately just for shit, too, it’s just that you can’t wipe it off your hands as easily when you’re done cleaning the spark plugs, I guess that’s something people don’t have to do anymore. It’s hard not to choke on that grimy old shit. This kind of customer and that may enter this city, but unlike the ancient city of Susa, this one is not devoid of human population. This kind of customer and that may gladly enter this city because advancements in the accuracy of inertial navigational systems in recent years have been so substantial that everyone wants to have at it. Now, with the differential global positioning system (DGPS), the exact positional coordinates can be re-calibrated at regular intervals, but again, I digress, and I’d love to go back to the city if only I knew how to get there. One thing I know for certain: This city is packed perfectly full to the brim with people—please don’t you ever forget that, folks. I know that and can forget about it. But you may not. This city is packed full. That boat is also packed with food, but it’s got to wait until that darling little dolphin has finished inspecting it—only then will it be allowed entry. It can’t hit the dock until it’s already hit the deck, at which point, it can be all decked out again, but not until after it’s been docked. Oh no, what a shame! no bones about it. No bones about it. They’re slaughtering each other just trying to get some of what little there is. A father slaughtering his son, a neighbor slaughtering his friend, another neighbor slaughters her own neighbor’s child to keep it from getting anything to eat so that she might feed herself instead. Despite all these tragedies: The desert will once again resound with the sweet refrains heralding the long awaited arrival of water and of food. Meanwhile, everywhere you go, the womanfolk is screaming, oh-woe-be-we, but they’re always screaming, no matter what’s going on, it’s all they know how to do, wailing, it seems, is the fate of their lot. It’s all they know how to do. They scream in wailing lamentation and tear their clothes to shreds, no, that’s not what they do, they don’t have enough clothes for that. Now there’s where I beg to differ. If I were them, I wouldn’t tear up my clothes either. My clothes mean everything to me. My clothes are my Everything. Hey, for anyone else, his kid might be his Everything, but I don’t have any kids. My wardrobe is all I have.

Everybody up and out—up on those tanks, down and out with those parachutes, wow. Oh, and I completely forgot to mention how much kerosene those Apaches need to fly didn’t I, or have I already said that? I don’t remember, at any rate, you just can’t imagine! They use up all that kerosene and end up crashing anyway. Just today, another one went down, three people on board dead, one of them wounded. It was an accident. This was not an accident. It’s the reason we need all this oil. And we sure do waste a lot of it, especially when these things end up going down when and where they aren’t supposed to. It defies the bounds of imagination, people, the quantities these things guzzle down, doesn’t matter what, as long as it’s a good crude oil product, diesel, whatever, main thing is to keep ‘em guzzling up that oil, there are very few who can so much as imagine it, but those are the ones who know how to do the math, and who have us figured out of their equations. Figured out. We who would refuse to be ruled by strangers and yet are strangers most of all unto ourselves. Look, people, the basic principle is that we are the only ones with any real principles: Ours is the only country where the individual counts anymore because every individual is an entity unto himself. There’s no way around it. It’s like a river in search of an end. But that doesn’t count because the river doesn’t have any way around it either. The only way it can flow is downhill. There’s no way for the river to flow uphill. Every human individual counts. Every human individual counts his money. Some count more, others count less. Dick Cheney counts more, we count less. Richard Perle doesn’t count anymore, but he still counts more than we do. Bailed out. On account of corporate conflict of interest. But no, wait, I do not believe that his interests are in conflict. At any rate: Have no fear, he is still with us in spirit. Even this man counts to us. He counts just as much as the least of men amongst us. So anyway. After all, the plane stays in the air long after the parachutist has bailed. But there are plenty of them left up there in heaven. And now here come a couple more. There are too many of them there. There are already too many of them here in this country. And they have too little. Of whatever. And that goes hand in hand with inconvenient unpleasantries like this desert storm. Actually, they would need a lot more, but they aren’t going to get it. Whatever it is. They’ll get as little as the lips of the sleeping touch water. We’ll just get rid of some of them. Put ‘em to sleep, forever. No matter whether you bother to count them or not, folks, because you don’t count enough to be counted in either! And if you don’t count enough to be taken into account, why bother to count the others in?

The Flood Tablet, relating part of the Epic of Gilgamesh -Nineveh 7th Century BC
The Flood Tablet, relating part of the Epic of Gilgamesh -Nineveh 7th Century BC

But with the way I roll, it only works when both are the same. But both people are different. This is the whole basis for our civilization—that people are different. But those sand niggers just don’t see it that way. They rise, one to a man, and aren’t even men yet. Will ya finally deal a deathblow in the war against the alpha-male type as a model for humanity! The very notion of Evil emanated from his instincts. From a Christianity that’s all dressed up with no place to go and would declare strength an evil thing. What bullshit. And how on Earth can anyone side with what is weak, what is base, what is misbegotten? I cannot take sides with that. Best I can do is dismiss it. Drop it like a hot potato. Forget the whole thing now and start anew. The real sin is in the Spirit, not the flesh. At least that’s what the Christians always say when they can’t come up with anything else, the Spirit may be a great temptation, but one we must resist. That’s why we are Christians, after all. To keep us from asking stupid questions. Just sit yourselves back down, folks, and don’t rock the boat we’re all in together, just quit rocking, quit rocking right now, there shall be no more rocking and rolling here! Why? Because I said so! This desert storm makes it almost impossible for us to deliver the bombs using laser navigation, we’ve got to use the satellite system, but wait, the ones we send to the market in Kuwait, those we’ll deliver using laser navigation, we’ll do that today just because we don’t have anything better to do and because the weather’s finally improved enough, but when the weather’s bad: satellite navigation is the way to go, no doubt about it, even those of you who are reporting on it without so much as a clue will have to agree! What else are we supposed to do? If the people who are supposed to stand up won’t stand up. If there is no enemy then everyone is the enemy, but none of them are standing up. Where is there any opposition here? Opposition, do you read me? What, there’s no one there? If there’s no opposition, then the place has to be completely cleared of people, people, because without any opposition, you haven’t even earned the right to call yourself a human being, not if you don’t have any opposition and won’t even allow for any. What are you stammering on about there? Someone told you there was opposition, you’ve actually just seen it with your own eyes, opposition, what opposition? Where? It can’t exactly be invisible like the Stealth Bomber! It’s got to be somewhere around here! You guys are plagued with organized moral degeneracy because no one stands up to oppose you! Someone should at least stand up and renounce the enemy’s ideals, don’t you think? And from there, it would be one small step for man but a giant leap for mankind, for that same someone to renounce his own ideals. You are really an idiot. You’ve slapped a morality tax on everything that fosters life and growth, how is anything ever supposed to live and grow that way. That’s precisely the point. Nothing does. Everything just keeps getting wrecked—it’s only logical. What you want is to make morality into the basic instinct and into a complete disavowal of life. But morality must be destroyed in order to liberate life. This is what the big guys want and what they are doing with the small fries now. We once had one of these moronic moralists rise up from the dead and walk, but here you can’t even get one single person to stand up! And we’ll make sure that’s a lesson they learn well! Have no fear, we’ll teach them that lesson yet! They should just stand right up as soon as they see us coming! Whosoever loveth us, followeth in our footsteps. Why isn’t anyone following us then? Rise up, stand up, march right up, folks, and join our ranks because of course anyone with half a lick of sense left wishes he could be one of us. It only makes sense, after all. We thought they’d be fleeing from them and flocking to us in swarms, like bees fall in line behind the Queen, but where is the man with the wisdom of a Queen Bee, where? Why isn’t anyone following anyone? Why do we follow only ourselves? Why aren’t they following us? We’re the Good Guys after all. We trudge and trudge, traipsing from one global coastline to the next, traipsing over continents, over incontinents, ouch!, over the bodies of children, of elders, of women, of runaway hits, of cripples. And of the blind, deaf and dumb: that goes without saying. If anyone’s got his sights set on us, then we’re the dummies. We’ll do better next time. The human animal is one helluva beast, must say, just by looking at him. The female of the species isn’t necessarily a helluva man, but sometimes it’s okay if she is. It’s quite okay if she is. Many’s the bed that’s been dampened with tears for want of a husband, women wear suffering on their sleeves, each in her own longing for her own special man, yes, even those women back home, whose husbands left them alone, lying in their beds. And what is that father saying, holding up the photograph for us to see? He was my only son. Look at his picture, Mr. President. My only son! I still can’t wrap my brain around it.

No, they’re not riding in here on white steeds, they’re marching, no cruising, no, marching—rank and file—those lovely little missiles, and, to the opponent, they represent a danger that is hard to calculate, but for me, lying here glued to the sleek design of my Lazy Boy, sleek the design of the recliner, not me, no danger here, not for me. Missiles, slinking in on foot, one foot in front of the other, left-left-left-right-left just ahead of the marksmen—who’s ever seen such a sight. Tactical missiles on the march. Left right to their own devices, poor things. They were told they had to strive for a positional accuracy of 5 meters, that under less favorable conditions deviations of up to 300 meters were allowed, and I’m speaking intentionally in terms of what is allowed, not of what should be, and in terms of the worst case scenario, but that never plays itself out, the worst case scenario, for example, in the event that the satellite reception is interrupted or completely cut off, in which case the drift in the inertial navigation system would remain completely uncorrected, oh jeez. You just can’t take anything seriously anymore once you’ve gotten the drift of that, or the seriousness of the situation suddenly begins to dawn on you in a way it’s long since been apparent to all the people they’ve shot down and who already know all that. They fiddle around with the flight trajectory we’ve programmed for them, these Tomahawks. They’re forbidden from engaging in hand-to-hand combat. That’s why they’re programmed. So they just steer clear of us and land somewhere else. I’d like to take this opportunity to interject something that just came to mind: O ye congregations of urban men, we adopt thee now, we people of the peace movement, we adopt thee now. O beloved Babylon, haven harboring riches and splendor galore—all the things you’ve long been unable to afford—no blood for oil, no money for food, nada, not a thing. I just wanted to throw that in there because I can’t think of anything better to say at the moment. Oh but the way all your fortune is being driven to ruin in one fell swoop, all the fruits of men’s labors hauled off in the fall. So many men laid to waste! What a waste—surely, I could have used the one or the other of them. My garden could have used it, or my walls, which need painting, could have used it too. And my bed sure could use something better than oh lonesome me. Oh woe is me, what a drag to be the world’s first prophet of pain! And so on and so forth. No one has ever seen anything this horrific, so there’s no reason for me to see it now, either, and no one else will see it and that’s that. But wait, hold up! There’s someone! And even though I’m hard-pressed to tell the whole truth about what’s come at it and at us: there it is—the Press! The barbarians’ army is being driven into the ground, and it’s all caught on camera. We may not be able to catch the drift, but the camera’s caught it. It catches on to what’s going on even more quickly than we do. Even though there’s almost too much going on, even though the advance is stalled at the moment.

How our little Lord Bush is doing? Fine, thank you. You can’t be serious about what I’m finding here, it’s got to be anything but. Serious. Seriously, somehow I always seem to find the seriousness lacking here. Where has it gone? You burdensome, burdensome burden of grief, have you made off with the seriousness? Aren’t you the one who brought it on in the first place? Come out with it already, who and where is complaint’s client? Who are the clients of corporate complaint? Sure, it’s all pretty much done for out there, well, ok, not quite, not yet, but soon. And we’ve all become clients. Consumers. Customer Kings. Well, now that we’re the consumers, it’s about time we get around to complaining!

Now for something completely different: someone actually witnessed the way a police officer took his most faithful follower, that pistol he’s packing, and shot at that thing, that thing, that thing, distracting it—that missile on the march—which is an absurdity in and of itself because if it can fly why would the missile be on the march anyway? It’s a lot faster to fly! Such a complicated machine, invented by such a huge team of people, a peerless example! I’ve already described what a task it was just describing it, but developing it, inventing it! Mankind is just as much a speck of dust as oil. So why do they have such a hard time getting along? Maybe they do get along after all. Suffer us, the wise men and women, that we should live to hear the likes of such suffering, but, so, too, such power of invention in people! It gives us hope. Can you imagine that a monster like that would seriously attempt to shoot down one of our myriad, multi-colored warheads with a measly little pistol? One of our beloved marching missiles simply shot down. Targeted from the rear, now that was on target. R.E.S.P.E.C.T. As revolting as it may seem, I have to concede: R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Maybe it was just coincidence. How mean is that. Can you imagine, folks, that anyone could be that mean. Now I may be critical of the virtue of human herd instincts, but I also reserve the right to go the extra mile and criticize this particular human individual. Do you know how much that Tomahawk cost? Well, I’ve already told you that, folks. It has a mother somewhere, too, many mothers and fathers even, no, I suppose it’s probably only got fathers to mourn its loss, they worked so long to develop it, and had their hearts set on its further development, and now, it’s shot to hell, this flying object that can outdo all the others! But that police officer sure didn’t take that into consideration in his lousy self-righteousness, he didn’t obey the law, he just made his own law, that stupid fuck! They are expressly forbidden from making up their own laws. We’re the only ones who can do that, and then only if we’re strong enough to keep our cool in judgment. The cities, littered with corpses of the deceased who died miserable deaths, alas, bodies milling aimlessly about, some on the run, others already shot down and dead. And he’s got the gall to shoot down a missile to top it off! As if there weren’t enough dead already, I mean, really! It’s bad enough that these missiles are going astray, now they’re getting shot at. And along comes this guy who has long since taken the concept of human existence defined by animosity between nations beyond the point absurdity, along comes this Untermensch with his little pistol and starts shooting at our missile marching faithfully onward as to war, can you believe it. It’s just marching along on its I’m-OK/you’re-OK way, minding its own business, a well-trained, well-oiled missile, it was brand spanking new, fresh from the wrapper—I swear on my word—and now this! Sure, I know it was only trained to destroy everything in its path, folks, but that’s no reason to go out and destroy it! There’s a whole squadron of death-choked drones drifting behind that one. They can’t shoot ‘em all down. Fortunately. I certainly couldn’t commit such an act of cruelty. Shooting straight into the underbellies of those innocent missiles as they’re marching merrily along. I take the strong man as my model for moral values, but these people don’t have any values, at least they don’t share ours. Just give it a shot—as a humble farmer or street cop on the corner who’s maybe just fled from his wife, try and shoot down a 6 meter long,1,300 kilo Tomahawk missile with computer-programmed radar guidance at its disposal—with a pistol, a lousy little pistol, people!—go ahead, just see how far you get! You’re bound to get shot down yourself before the missile escapes your line of fire. Those modern-day Ferentarii did a fine job, no complaints there. Nevertheless, I have a less-than-favorable opinion of them, one I’d rather not express for fear of what my neighbors are already threatening to do should I choose to come out and say it.

What a scream, dammitalltohell, horrors! What did you say your name was? You’re being hauled off to the police station on the spot. We’ll show you how much pain and suffering a human being can endure! You Freedom Rider, you! We forgot to forget about you! What have you done with the people’s prince, he hasn’t been seen on television for two days now, I’m sure of it, you’ve stolen him. I’m going shake you from sleep in your own house, demanding that you tell me right now just what you have done with our Commander in Chief, the people’s prince who—armed with the powerful scepter of political capital, left the sheep without a shepherd and orphaned in death! Hand him over, and I mean I now. Two days without seeing him on television. That does not cut the mustard, folks. That just does not cut the mustard! At least that’s what this man is saying. Those people are going to throw the dog shit right back in my yard the next time my dog leaves a pile of shit in theirs. This volatile cocktail of people, jeez, is there a cook in the house, all these people just don’t mix, that’s why it’s such an explosive mix, and you certainly can’t stomach it, it’s even overflowing into the street now. Everywhere. As if they had no place to call home. They’re all just hitting the streets, here, there, and every which where. I certainly would not allow for that if I were the State and already all dressed up for the victory parade. Some sick, others healthy. Well, then, we may as well join in the fun, we’ll just sit ourselves down now and have a sit-in on behalf of the underdogs. Let’s just sit down with due deliberation to contemplate how we might spare these poor people. Brazen as brass we’ll sit here in the middle of this road, where the weight of the water cannon has already won, but this is just a street brawl, no need to worry. And it’s our street after all. That’s the main thing. That’s the main street. The mean streets of strangers—they’re only caught by the uncompromising eye of the camera. The mean streets of strangers. Where the hell is our Lord Bush’s mother? And his daddy? O come let us bombard them with words befitting of kings, o come let us greet them with words that shock and awe since words are all we have to bombard them with. But they are armed with more than words. And, hey people, what have the others since picked up?

Stone panel from the North-West Palace of Ashurnasirpal II - Nimrud  883-859 BC
Stone panel from the North-West Palace of Ashurnasirpal II - Nimrud 883-859 BC

Have a look-see here next time you’ve got a moment to spare: There, there’s another farmer, really, is that really supposed to be a real farmer? I don’t believe it, he’s just disguised as a farmer, he’s really a secret agent for the Republican Guard, disguised as a farmer, how much you wanna bet? Buckle-belted farmer boys packing kalashnikovs and flintlock rifles. Lousy little run-of-the-mill rifles incapable of doing much more than ripping a hole in the underbelly. Posing for the cameras. Just goes to show how low down a good thinking man can go, but this one sank so low without ever having had his wits about him in the first place. But he’s got to have a look all the same. Without having a look at the troops, he’d have nothing to fear. These brutal bastards who shot down that beautiful Apache, now it’s just lying there in the sand, that poor Apache, not moving a muscle. And to think that it was once the height of glory. Now it’ll never get up again. Wanna bet? We haven’t yet plowed that farmer and his colleagues into the desert sands, a mistake, if you ask me, because he’s the one who took that flintlock rifle of his and just up and shot down that Tornado helicopter whose guardian angel turned its back on him. Apache, Tornado—what’s the big diff? And they nailed those three maintenance mechanics day before yesterday, too, poor guys. Led in here by these modern-day Hazarpats, commanders of a thousand men, then deserted the moment they foolhardily stepped away from the job. Only fire in self-defense. They’re not part of the combat troops, merely men in non-combat positions, in no position at all; just the opposite in fact--their position is to keep all the parts in position. To keep all the parts trued, true to their task. Do you see that composed look spreading its wings like a bird on his face, the make-believe look of a farmer, a fighter in disguise? But the guise just doesn’t fly because he’s lying through his teeth. He’s no farmer at all. Or have they put the farmers in place there as decoys, you can’t put anything past them, you know. I don’t even see a trace of pride on this face, glowing over the fact that he at least managed to liberate the ancient city from this one guy. There will be others to follow, but they won’t follow in his footsteps. I don’t buy it, I don’t think anyone will really follow in his footsteps! He disguised himself as a taxi driver, asking for help, an extremist by nature, that one, there’s nothing you can do about that, and then he just blew himself to smithereens and took four of our men along with him, to Gehenna, cursed be anyone who gets a chuckle out of that. Keep your own accounts in order! And see to it that you stop every time we order you to, or we’ll shoot. Keep your accounts in order and when we order you to, stop and come out with your hands up, then we’ll pat you down the way they do in a customs inspection or when you’re about to board a plane. They’re paying particular attention to suspicious behavior these days you know. And make sure whatever you’re wearing in this heat isn’t too bulky, because you could be hiding explosives under all that garb, and don’t you ever dare keep your hands in your pants pockets, you hear?! Every single person will be seen as our potential foe until we have determined that he is our friend. We certainly wouldn’t want the advantages we’ve gleaned from having conquered this city with our superiority—despite vehement resistance—slip through our hands. You people did precisely the right thing when you shot down those seven women and children in that minivan, I just want to take this opportunity to comment explicitly on that particular incident, because they didn’t stop, even after several warning shots, and that is not okay, not a shot, it’s not okay. It is your basic human right to be a complete fool, to know next to nothing about all there is to know, as far as I’m concerned you can think you’re God himself even though you know nothing, but when we tell you to stop, that means you stop. That means you stop! If even one of those Tomahawks can be stopped on a dime—and with something as simple as a flintrock rifle—well, then you people ought to be able to stop, too. No, don’t get the idea you can let me stop you from stopping. Just stop, that’ll do. If a machine can stop, so can you. Many a machine is yet to come flying in here to smash to smithereens the gold-gilded hideout of Baghdad’s Ras, aimed at total destruction of the palace, the palaces, a couple of them have already bit the dust, but the one targeted for today is the one where the King once whiled away hours in his boudoir, begetting his loving sons—only two of which we know about--explicitly rearing them to yield to temptation, o’ would that we might never have known them! On account of such egregiously brutal people, people who have yet to return to that place of humanity they once abandoned because at some point a young person’s got to get his own place after all, on account of these monsters, we’re all supposed to be wearing out our heartstrings for worry? Our hearts have already been at it for some time now and are still hard hit in all the right places. They’re ruthless brutes, Unmenschen. The spawn of hell. They’re murderers and rapists, that’s the brutal truth of the matter. I have personally seen, and heard and read--several times—the way they’ve murdered and raped. Now they won’t be doing that ever again. They won’t have time for it anymore. Now, suddenly, they’re demanding freedom. But they don’t want to grant anyone else the same. Marabouts, of the basest sort, because everyone who’s ever dealt with them is dead. And that’s the kind of crowning glory I don’t want to waste a word on, lest that word come in handy later on. Ruthless brutes, Unmenschen, the both of ‘em. No heroic epics for them! Death and disgrace to them! I’ve had it up to here with the fallout from these missiles, and I’ve had it up to here with these men and their murders. There’ll be no more of that now. Murder. Rape. We’ve got ‘em. We haven’t got ‘em yet. O come let us abhor them, o come let us abhor! You’ve got to keep repeating stuff like that or no one will ever believe a word you say. Dammit, enemies one and all! Beloved victims, how I honor your sacrifice! I can’t tell you more than that, either, but there’s proof of what they did to those people! Personally, I’d have just blown their brains out if I were suddenly standing face to face with them. I’m serious about that. We’re all serious about that. Fortunately they’re all far, far away. But this nagging suspicion of mine never fails to prevail. I'm convinced: they're criminals, the both of ‘em. Who can wash clean my instincts for self-preservation now? Where’s the spot remover? Cause I certainly could do without these instincts for self-preservation. What I need are maintenance mechanics, and I already miss the maintenance mechanics they nabbed the other day. I miss every single one of them. I miss every single human being, no matter how great or small, that’s what my conscience is telling me and that means I must be right and, with that, at least I’m a notch above the powerbrokers currently holding the strings—isn’t that just peachy?! But there’s no way I can possibly miss someone I don’t even know. Just because there’s a war underway doesn’t mean I have to fall apart over every one of the fallen. That’s what the mechanics were for, to keep us from falling apart and to keep all the moving parts in place. Even when they fall. Even when we fall. Families are torn apart in war. But mechanics stick together and so do the parts of the Apaches. Sure, mechanics are needed in peacetime, too, but the need’s not as urgent. Easy enough for me to say, I’m not a car owner. What we need in wartime is a whole maintenance team, which we of course have, but now there are these three men missing from that team, and we’re about to lose one whole female as well. They were parts of a team. Any one individual part of which would be missed. They should serve as a pathetic example for us, people, as pathetic as we ourselves are. Yes, that means you, too! Say it, people: who is dead? who is not yet dead? Their ringleader, for example. O’ bright day, wincing with light, that the heat of his hotness must burn even brighter here! And with the weight of this heavy gear, too. And then something brings you crashing to the ground, someone’s head hurtles hard into the unyielding sands. Finally, then, the blessed night. But even night should finally recede, night ‘tis too fearful a thing, please, let darksome night be passed. Let her give way. Preferably, get out of our way altogether. There is absolutely no possibility left for finding some hidden exit from this night burning bright as day. The whole planet is shrouded now in the blazing halo of night, it’s utterly absurd, night is destined to be darksome by design. So why is the night no longer dark? It’s terrible. It’s horrific. The least we might do is to send the solemn refrains of those barbarians crashing against the craggy rocks from whence they came, let the new song rebound in an echo. An echo of the World’s Masters. Everything burning bright. Great. Right on. Okay. So let’s dump all that into the dark abyss of misery. That’s a good place for it. That’s a good place for it. To me, there’s something missing here. I don’t know what. But I’m missing something.

So, the time for hesitation is past. Elsewhere they are hiding from the Tornados, but here, they need them, and they’re just wrecking the things, even though they’re still needed elsewhere, in places where people might fear them even much more. Heck, I don’t know. So there’s this ruler, you all already know who I mean, and all of his and his sons’ boundless wealth has been toppled, by us, thank you very much, folks, for allowing us to take care of that for you, for humanity’s sake, then, we’ll just topple the boundless wealth, reduce it to dust with one good swift kick, yepper Sir. Sir. Yes Sir. What manner of bliss has this diabolical human scourge ever created, not a damn thing, and yet, he made as if he’d created all this nothingness in concert with God’s advice, yeah, well, it’s his God after all, so that’s something he’ll just have to take up with Him. We come in the name of our God. We have our very own, of course we do. And that is why such great concern—manifold, unspeakable—inhabits my soul: Don’t the participants, all the participants, in this thing understand the costs involved? Wait a sec, let me look, can I find it somewhere here? OK, here’s what I find: GPS Global Positioning System, the directional system for these things, these thingamajig-thingies, grinding their hips, arms cocked akimbo, the satellite above it steers it in the right direction, and, at some point, the TERCOM system, too, leads to the objective, all these things, everything and anything—and I’ve already outlined this in detail anyway—can be made more efficient and improved upon, even the stitches on a shroud can be placed more accurately despite the fact that no one will ever see it, all I can see is that GPS is cheaper than TERCOM, that’s why the French prefer it after all. They sure don’t count their calories at the dinner table, but they count ever penny when it comes to positioning systems. It seems that programming TERCOM is more expensive, more precious than I ever dreamed my lover or my first born to be, whereas at the same time, in other parts of the world, one first born after the next is taken out. They don’t know a good thing when they see it. Children are the best. So that’s what we take out first. The children are worth taking out. They’re the most precious thing in the world, that’s why we take them out first. I hope they’re really worth it, too! There’s no written record here of exactly what all this is costing. Oh wait, here it is. I’d read it before, then misplaced it, now here it is again. Here’s the bill. No such thing as a free lunch. ‘Cept when it comes to death and taxes. That’ll cost you your life. Well excuse me, but what’s the price of that child? Honestly, I believe that kid has had it up to here, in every war, it’s that kid who pays, in every war, that kid is put on display, in every war, that kid gets held up before the cameras, no, it’s not always the same kid, you idiot, it’s always a different one, but it’s always the child, the universal child, who pays the price for extracting from us some emotional response, because we are extremist by nature, and harder to crack than an olive when it comes to extracting anything from us. Sure, we give it up for charity. But the only thing that can get us to give it up emotionally is a child, that one, to be precise, that kid who’s pretty much been had. All that blood. We take it in, in snapshots. So far so good. That much we can take. And we can take this kid, and that one too, just like Michael Jackson, the blind prophet, no, the ugly singer, said, I’ll take this chandelier and that Empire vase when he saw them in the shop. Hurry it up, you, head for the stairwell, now, forget about grabbing your stuff, there’s no time for that, but at least grab your kid! We already got one, the one we photographed, dripping with blood and blown apart, we’ve got it on the hard drive. We don’t need another one. So just grab your kid and go! You want to hang on to what you love, after all! You want to hang on to what you’d love even if you couldn’t afford it. But even if you take it with you, that child, we’ll still get it. And if we don’t get this one, we’ll get that one over there. Nopity, you can’t just leave your kid here like all your worldly goods, it’s better for us that you take the kid along, and you sure don’t want to make us keep looking forever, do you? Later, when we come looking to get it, you can’t claim that you just forgot to take it with you, that kid. No one would believe you. You’d never leave all your worldly goods behind, either, would you? You’ve got all your worldly goods on your person, don’t you? Looks like the kid’s still pretty small—at least as far as I can see based on a quick survey of the scene—a sight for sore eyes even if it doesn’t hit you right between the eyes. But I’d say that’s no reason to leave it behind, that kid, so that’s why we’re taking it. Naw, we’re not gonna take it after all, it’s too small. No, I guess we will take it. It’s the only one in sight at the moment. Why is it screaming its head off like that? You can hardly forget about it when it keeps screaming like that. So maybe it’s a good thing that it’s screaming. Now the British are going to see to it that the people get some water here—they dug a canal, the British, one that will be flooded with water once it arrives—because they want to restore some dignity to these people. That’s what the British guy is saying. They are hoping to restore dignity to the people by building this water canal, that’s their whole purpose in being here. I mean that’s the whole point of the British ever having been here in the first place. And yet, at the moment: still no drinking water and no food. We’re so sorry. But we’re clean out of water and fresh out of food. But there will be heaping helpings of epidemics to go around soon, more than enough. At least that’s something. There are many who don’t even have that. Who don’t even have the basic necessities. So it makes no sense to be clinging to that kid, either. That child is not going to save you. And you sure can’t do anything to save it, either. Should the child be spared, you’ll manage to spoil it by clinging to it for dear life like that. These protectors of yours, yes, you can just let go of that child, we’ll protect this child, too, we told you, we’ll protect your child, we’re doctors, why are you still clinging to that child for dear life? Night is watching them, with eyes as clear as day, for a change—otherwise they’re dark as dusk. The night can see whether you’ve taken the child along, and whither. Part of this child is missing, but we’ll take it off your hands. We’re not particular. We’re different. We, we, we all the way, here we come, we may come in different dress, drawn by some gravitational force, but at least that’s some kind of force, we’ve come all the way over here, and we won’t be pulling out of here until we’ve ferreted out precisely those people in this population who are in their prime, the physically fittest, most intellectually endowed, the bluest of blood, the most moneyed amongst them—that is, if they haven’t already stashed it somewhere, their money, before we could get our hands on them—until then, there’ll be no peace in this region, this religion. Every one of them. We’ll get every last one of them.

Let me throw this out there as an afterthought and hope my message gets through to you people—you wouldn’t believe how many different ways there are to die. The Soothsayer Sparrow looks back and maintains that there are many more than you could ever hope to imagine! So much bone, so much tissue, so many pussies, so much pussy, and countless, the ways they can be broken. The maintenance company is powerless. Everyone is powerless against this power. From the prime of life to nothing in two seconds flat. Mangling one miserable man, member by member, limb by limb, can you so much as imagine how many parts make up a man? Near the salty sea bed. Some poor soul got lost in the labyrinth of the future, and is looking back to see where he’s come from, what stuff he’s made of, whether he’s got the right stuff, and it’s only then that he realizes that you can topple a whole lot more at a Toppelware-Party. And he runs and runs and runs, but he’s running backwards, perhaps he’s got his face on backwards and is running in the wrong direction, but he’s running and running and running. One part of him runs hither, the other part runs yon. He’s lost his way, lost his face. This is just one example. The only reason I’m bringing it up is that I cannot let anyone off the hook, and certainly not anyone who’s got faces on both sides of his head and is running backward and forward all at the same time. Something like that doesn’t have a shot at staying alive. It is doomed to destruction. Destruction blows in tempestuous as the wind. What remains of the army. Part of it, glistening on an oil well, no, a water well, doesn’t matter which, another part dying of thirst. Yet another part gasping for breath in exhaustion, trudging ever onward, until some city, Basra, I believe, itself already depleted of food supplies, takes them in. But it’s pointless. Many, many are dying of hunger and of thirst, the two go hand-in-hand there, in matrimony wed, by patrimony led, same as it ever was. One part dies here, the other part there. So many human body parts, and yet there’s so little left of the human being. That’s my take. No wonder there’s so little left of him, when you take into account just how much we’ve taken from him. In order to bring on the moral values of supremacy, our own, of course, a litany of amoral values and forces must first be enlisted. Good thing we’ve got them. And then it’s all good, it’s all good. Many a man behind the one I see standing there, I mean, there are many men lined up behind this one, with God watching over him, with sand beneath his feet, he’s but one man among many, beneath himself, beside himself, left with nothing but himself, whatever. What in the world is more complicated than a human body looking forward to the future and backward to the past. A helicopter is a joke by comparison. And still, we, the ones who came along, butting in where we never should have, we who so seriously slipped up when all we set out to do was get a grip on ourselves and ended up getting others in our grip, we are even more ordinary people. And to think that we thought you couldn’t get much more ordinary than that. We’re all little Gods. We’re only human, and yet somehow extraordinary. We’re just ordinary people, no denyin’ it. But we’re extraordinarily well-equipped. Hardly anyone is at once as ordinary and extraordinary as we. And yet we came, to tidy up and to save. To sit at the right hand of the Almighty. The place on the left is already occupied by someone else, and he’ll get his due, too. We’re the kind who suffer from a lack of wealth, such is the usual way of the world, almost everyone suffers that same lack, unfortunately, I beg your pardon, with one exception: Dick Cheney, he’s not missing a single million, but, to the rest of us, he does seem to be missing in action, oops! no he’s not, there he is, right there, with that heart of his that’s missing a beat, yep, despite all his missteps and mistakes, we even miss him. Halliburton, such a lovely company. He does it all for this company alone! Because reconstruction is more important than destruction, that’s a universal human constant. And when it comes to reconstruction, Halliburton—that precious, high-priced corporate conglomerate is at your service, and those dipshit Brits can just turn a blind eye, yes, Sir. We have an excellent plan we intend to implement in record time. Who’s to say we can’t implement it? We’ll implement it alright, you can bet your bottom dollar on that. Those armchair Generals say it ain’t so, but we’re saying the right thing, stick with us, just don’t go getting too stuck on us, we cannot possibly drag you all along with us, and I say that knowing full well that modesty is the greatest danger. Enemies flung to the sea seek salvation on an island, but their efforts are in vain. 600 oil wells were ablaze in southern Iraq, but we had them under control and extinguished in record time, and that’s just the state of affairs as of today. Tomorrow we’ll be in another position altogether and much better positioned at that. But, good Lord, there are some places where things aren’t running as smoothly today. There are some places where they’re already running out of bombs. I say we issue a running curfew on bombs, and fast. So they’re staying with us after all. I knew it. And we’re seeing some gradual improvements on the weather front, too. Yes Sir.

One thing you won’t get a glimpse of here is a leafy green forest—that’s something you’ll have to plant yourself. And then you’ll have to decide who it belongs to in tedious deliberations. At least our partner and good friend Dick knows who his company belongs to. That’s more than you can say about yourselves, folks! You can’t so much as think straight! But he’s got more cash in his coffers than the forest would have trees if you’d ever get around to planting them so that there’s a forest in the first place. For the sake of providing the shade we’re so sorely lacking here. In my mind the house’s eye is its master’s presence, but Mr. Cheney need not be present in the company himself, this company is cashing in all on its own. After all, Dick can’t be everywhere. It’s enough for him to be wherever he happens to be. He’s not obliged to account for a single word or deed of whatever he does wherever the position of Führer works out for him. We can handle these perpetually reconstructed dreams pretty well, but what we absolutely cannot handle is the fact that the strong man is the most reprehensible of men, because he is dispensable, and whatever is dispensable is necessarily susceptible to becoming reprehensible and hence utterly dispensable.

You, on the other hand, Private Ryan, the one who must be saved, or whoever the hell you are, whatever the hell your name is, it’s hot as hell here, here where all there is to see is sand, sand, sand. The rich folk won’t send their children over here, that’s for sure, they’ll send them somewhere else, that much is clear. To the National Guard. In the best case scenario. In the most extreme case scenario. To school. In the worst case scenario. C’mon, here we are faced with the most extreme state of emergency and where are these children? Where are they, so that my son, for example, might be summoned to Iraqistan by dint of some modern-day arrière-ban? And then they go so far as to threaten him with total devastation! Can you believe it! A spokesman for the company where my son is, unfortunately, indispensable—he’d dreamed of becoming a soldier—but since he is, after all, a direct dispensation of my own personal bloodlines, he’s been indispensable from the very beginning. However, as he just reassured me, he would rather be a soldier , and were it not for the fact that this company cannot do without him, he would still today rather become a soldier, but the company is no longer making profits from this war because the company’s been profiting from the wages of an army waging war for much longer, and not by any means from this war alone. Many a war has been waged before. Thanks, Mr. Cheney, for telling us that now. In return, your wife will get a nice new dress, and she’ll get a grandchild or two, at least I presume so, even though I don’t know you from Adam. Profits turned from many more wars as well. But quite clearly from this one war where they remain out of sight, out of mind. Out of sight, out of mind—the living and the dead and the profiteers and profit peddlers and profit shredders. Yeah, well, you don’t always have to be so hard-hitting about the profits. Rake ‘em in, don’t break ‘em in. You can break in your opponent’s face, but not these spectacular sums of pure profit. It’s completely unfair to charge us with war profiteering on this war because we’ve profited from many another war. Ultimately, what is absolutely paramount is the reconstruction. But before the reconstruction can even begin the catastrophe has to become so burdensome and unbearable to the enemy that he breaks, that there’s a complete breakdown and everything’s flat busted to bits so that we can create something new, surely you can see the logic in that, can’t you? Seems to me, Mr. President, since this is the way it looks to me, you and your advisors are going to have to finally see the light on this. Iraqis, time-honored old troopers that you are, regardless of how old, who, the Iraqis or the advisors?, no matter whether they’re old or not, the burden of tough choices is on you alone, so advise me! Oh, so I guess it’s clearly the advisors I had in mind after all. I certainly don’t mean those poor guys from the maintenance company. That’s not who I have in mind. I am referring explicitly and exclusively to the old men here. They’re the ones who sent these young guys over here, and yet hold the rest of us captive, placating us as if we were women and children. As soon as my son got wind of it at the office, he wanted to rush right down there and sign up, voluntarily, but I wouldn’t allow it. We need people here at home, too. Let the rich send their kids, and they’re doing that, gladly, but they’re still holding many of them back. What parent isn’t happy once the kids have finally been sent off to camp and are out of their hair, they’re prepared to pay the price of any postage stamp, the parents of the rich, prepared to pay any price of admission, there’s no limit to their entitlement, but they don’t ship their children out and send them here. They hold them back. They never ship them out. What kind of monster would ship out his own children? Exactly! They’d rather send them off to complete some new management training degree on summer vacation, very good. Those are the tough choices they’re burdened with. They don’t need to keep any closer tabs on their children’s activities than that. Their kids attend this college or that. Here I’m just resting my case on one minor detail that caves beneath my weight. The army, rushing to bring in order, does not cave. In contrast to me, it does not cave in. Never. Slaughter is a horrific thing if you’re an animal, and you’re always an animal whenever slaughter comes into play. There’s no getting around that.

Cut. To the deep south, where we are now, but where there is nothing but a deep-sea port, which happens to be the only one, let’s get rid of it, we’ll take control of it, we’ve got to take control of it, it’s the only one around, no way around it, we’ve already got that one in the bag just because our pride makes us feel like it, oops, there’s someone actually shooting at us, no, the pride of a proud man mandates that he shoot, from one side to the other and back again. But these are just isolated shots, few and far between. They’re not sticking together anymore. Just shooting for the sheer audacity of it. What have we done with those domesticated dolphins of ours, now, when we could use them, they haven’t gone for a swim have they? Ah, there they are. They’re just animals anyway. But what we are in love with is the slavish yoke of the technology where we are the masters, but who are the slaves? We haven’t quite figured that out yet. The system, sent by others and making such a big to do about itself and making so many its of its own and eliminating so many other its and selves and well, anyway, the system is in a position to analyze the conditions of any given terrain and to guide the missile along a winding road you’d never attempt on foot because you’ve come to the end of your road map even as you attempt to navigate your own sexuality in as much detail as possible in your mind because walking is so pedestrian in and of itself, but that’s irrelevant to the road this projectile is on, it’s not marked on any map, nor does it need be, it flies as the crow flies, in the air in the air in the air. So. The way this missile walks the line is heaven sent, I mean, it’s simply heavenly by design, even though we’re the ones who sent it—after all, it does walk the line walk the line with utmost precision and at supersonic speed, just so you can follow it as it travels a distance of more than 1,600 kilometers to reach its target without being led by its mother’s hand straight to the hands of some  mother to wrench her child from her arms and her laundry from its basket and her dog from its leash and the garden from the gnome and the flesh from the fruit and the pumpkins from their patch, and everything right on target, targeted, steadfast and true, to hit the spot. Equipped with conventional weapons, they can transport 50 to 200 kilometers, oops, I mean kilograms of explosives. And all that, all that money, all that effort, just so that they can hit you, yes you, of all people, you! No one would go to such lengths to hit you, folks. Only us, only us. Quite the undertaking, incredible, especially when you could have been hit on the street just about anywhere else in the world. At the market square, for example, which they’ve now obliterated, too, but never mind that.

That 600,000-dollaro Might-Made-Meet-and-Right missile reaches a maximum cruising speed of 880 kilometers per hour, well, that’s not much, so you tell me how the discrepancies between these figures come about! Now, if such conflicting data manages to fall even into my hands, it’s no wonder that the missiles fall into the wrong hands, I said: subsonic speed because the speed of sound is greater, but the speed of light is even greater than you can imagine, those quarks are somehow faster, aren’t they? and all of them launched from ships or submarines that have been delivered expressly for the sake of doing all this for you? Aren’t you proud of yourselves now? Aren’t you proud of the way the world has taken notice? The whole world? Who in the world could possibly pull that off. Certainly not I. Even if I’d been born with wheels on my little feet, I mean, even if I’d had congenitally attached wheels and were some high-falutin’, winged messenger of doom instead of a lousy delivery man bringing you bad news per UPS, I still couldn’t pull that off, and I wouldn’t be that fast, for speed is relative, isn’t it, and this rate of speed is sufficient in any case, no matter what the occasion. Cruise missiles can be deployed anywhere, let’s say Iraq, Bosnia, Afghanistan and Kosovo, who knows where. I don’t want to get caught up in the details here at the last minute, but there are so few catches to get caught up on in the desert anyway. The Battle for Basra is about to begin, I forgot to check the time. And where have all these painstakingly detailed reports gotten me? Next to nowhere. My needs are modest. My aim is to overthrow the government and effect a complete reordering of everyone seeking a place in a new world order. O my. And on that note, my closet—which never has a word to say otherwise--pipes in here, asking whether the UN will be incorporated into this new order or not? I believe the Americans are saying they don’t want that. Why should they hand everything over, they’re V.I.P.s after all, each and every one of them. Meanwhile, the average family here will run out of supplies in about four to six weeks. They themselves have nowhere to run. That is, their supplies run out, albeit ever so slowly, but the family stays put. The supplies run out. We stay put. Nothing’s going to happen to them, those supplies.

If everyone is equal, there’s less pride to go around for each individual, but it turns into a single Pride Fest when people hold fast to their pride in shutting down emotion. Necessary evil. Necessary evil. So someone comes along driving his nation’s flock, one-if-by-land-two-if-by-sea fashion, no, not just one someone, one flock, two, even three someones driving their flocks, regardless how many, driving the flock onward like some nastyass kissing gaggle of Little Miss Gänseliesels. Eyes brimming with bloodlust, blood in their boots, blood in their eyes, blood in their pants, arms by the thousand, tanks by the thousand, each flock forges forward, following its Führer, to each his own Führer, hopefully, they won’t get their Führers confused, each to his own Führer who expresses his deepest sympathy for each individual member of his own flock, and all the more so when that individual is dead and brought home encased in a fine upholstered casket, a pillow case, a basket, still unconvinced by the case made for what he did, the poor little schmuck, but heeding his Master’s voice when it said: you’re my kinda guy, I hereby vest in you the responsibility for this tank and this aircraft, you’re a mechanic, after all, you poor little schmuck, and for that you get to attend your own funeral, live in the flesh. Your helmet dangles in solitary from a tree branch, and your comrades discretely weep, and they are engulfed by a salty oceanic wave like a piercing lament whenever they’re near enough to shore. Which they rarely are. Desert. The sand storm has subsided, visibility has improved again. Now they’re shooting at us! Yeah, they’re shooting at us! Look me in the eye, kid, let me remind you of your nationality so you can play the part accordingly, acting out your American or British or whatever your national identity in every last mannerism—that’s the best you’ve got to give. And if you can’t give it your best shot, you can just give up altogether if you like. Just give it up, man! Just relax, man! Place your trust in us! These are the only two countries that are acknowledged by the Coalition of the Willing which is a coalition simply because it only takes two to build a coalition. Three would be one too many. OK. We’ll add Australia to the mix. But Britain and the USA are the two acknowledged frontrunners in this coalition. They are of a piece. And they’re way ahead of the rest of the pack. Because you know, of course, that a mighty disaster might strike and, ultimately, we need a mighty bit of might to meet that potentiality. We’ll just bury the rest of those kids in the sand. But you are welcome to attend your own funeral because you got on board with our efforts to forge our forward advance into the country. Onward! Didn’t you say the God of War has nerves of steel? He’s got steady nerves alright, but not the kind that are strong as steel. So the only option we have left is a rural war and an urban war. The only difference being where they are staged. Where people disappear into thin air, like pipers playing some tune just learned at school, blowing like dust in the wind, like balmy breezes of discouraging words seldom heard. Like a desert wind. Crooning and crowing into the void, singing themselves into La-La-Land, blowing themselves blue in the face, whatever. And the cities’ outcasts—the poor who wouldn’t know a basement from a hole in the ground because they’ve already hit rock bottom, and the cities’ outcasts, mark my words, will be cast out on the curb without further ado. Well, why not go for one more surge, like a storm brewing at sea, we do have a sea here, but that one doesn’t count, the only thing that counts is this port, and there is only one here, what’s it called, what’s it called, I’ve got to run straight to the TV to find out what that port is called, where the people are perched on the foaming crests of waves rustling like leaves on treetops in the bay watching to see who’s coming from across the sea, these people, half-grown up kids in their fledgling years, oh, but they know why they’re here, gotta give ‘em credit for that, they know what kind of flimsy framework for civilization brought them sailing in here. And now they’re out to destroy it. And once again they’ve got to start from scratch, building on the nothingness from whence they come, so at least they know what they’re doing. Nothing from nothing. O you Rose of Stambul, even you have fallen from grace, you brazen little hussy! O but how you’ve fallen from our good graces! You never even had a chance to show your true colors like the freedom of speech we’ve got our undies in such a bunch about! How is anyone supposed to get in the mood for a good time here?

I beg your pardon, but in general, in the interest of contributing some culture to the mix here, something we sure could use: historical research should not seek to identify necessity as a factor with regard to means and purpose, that would really be going too far! The irrationality of coincidence is the rule, please, just take it from me. Today it’s their turn, tomorrow someone else’s. Whoever it may be. In the end, everyone. Everyone. The seas will be filled from shore to shore, and we’ll in turn empty them again. Here they come already, where are we supposed to put them all? The sum total of these events already represents the fundamental (real estate) interests of a nation that has acquired for itself a natural swimming pond or at least a little biotope, a wastewater treatment plant with a built-in detergent filtration system, a life of relative seclusion—goes without saying—and a vegetable garden where it can stroll around blind, deaf and dumb, until it sees in this new swimming pond a leaf tooling along there in the water like a tank in the desert, but in the water, and suddenly something is stopped in its tracks, no, not the tank, not us, the leaf, but it’s just a leaf that’s stopped in its tracks in the water. Stopped by a maelstrom. But the leaf just keeps going. Do you really believe that these people coming across the water have their wits about them enough to actually implement their plan?

A marble slab showing the musicians and attendants of Ashurbanipal
A marble slab showing the musicians and attendants of Ashurbanipal

Would you please be kind enough to tell me what’s wrong with this picture? I see that this woman is being turned back, but I can see no rhyme or reason to it. I see that these seven women and their children, I don’t know how many of which kind, have just been shot dead in that minivan. But I can see no rhyme or reason to it. They didn’t stop when they were told to. Their bodies weren’t clad in bronze. They were clad in something, but not in bronze. Otherwise they couldn’t have been hit so hard by all this. You’ve got to at least harden your heart if you don’t have the external claytronics to save your skin.

She’s probably just looking for some water or food, that woman, but she’s not following the rules very well, if you ask me. She’s got two children. Well, if I had two children, I’d put some rules in place and stick to them myself, that’s good for their education. I can see it in the expression on her face, the poor thing doesn’t have any rules to follow anymore. She sets her sights on the army, but that doesn’t still the hunger. She throws a scarf over her face, and we throw all our sackcloth bags over the heads of these prisoners, why, what for, only to make fools of them? That can’t be the only reason. Wasn’t it enough that we ran them all into the ground? No, that wasn’t enough. Surely she can’t so much as read, that woman, I secretly say to myself, no, I say it out loud. What’s wrong with this picture? I mean really? Of course pictures alone don’t tell the whole story, but they’re pretty important, what else do you want to be told about them? That’s like some kid coming to apply for a job. All those lovely plastic products we’ve got here! The rubber ducky in the inflatable kiddie pool, the swan swimming in the tub! No, that’s not a toy, keep your hands off it! It’s a toy bomb, and that thing over there, yeah, that, you can put your hands on that, it’s a domesticated dolphin trolling for mines. Now I won’t tell you he’s mistaken the nature of your game, but I will tell you that he’s been trained to play a good game and find these mines without laying a hand on them. And you’d best not lay a hand on that toy either. Otherwise we’ll all be blown to smithereens here. Then that poor little clever animal would be dead, too, and it can’t be replaced by just any old garden-variety serviceman, otherwise we’d have put him on the job in the first place. After all, we do have more servicemen than service-trained dolphins, we’ve also got service dogs trained to detect explosives, yeah, I completely forgot about that, and the men are trained to serve, too, and that didn’t even take as long, man isn’t as thick-skulled as the dolphin which, as far as I know, isn’t a fish, but rather a mammal, and the dog which I know for sure to be a mammal. Nor does he always need to be fed immediately afterward. He can just as soon wait. So we had this fish or whatever it is delivered and it cost a whole lot more than any human animal. We had it sent expressly from San Diego so it could help us out, and so you could sit back and watch. And while you sit there moved to tears by this show of nature on display, nature comes at us with a display all her own. Whenever we display a willingness to accommodate nature, nature accommodates us in turn. She strips the cities of foodstuffs, and it is human nature to then die of hunger and thirst. That is how nature would accommodate us. Not that such displays are always desirable at any given time. Sometimes she accommodates us by coming at us with a sand storm, creating confusing images in our minds because we cannot see who’s who. Friend or foe? Sometimes the friend is disguised as foe and the foe as friend, it’s not in very good taste, this disguise, if you ask me. Flaming hot, woven to an even louder hue and cry, this disguise, till it bursts into flames, people are screaming at the top of their lungs, and for a second, the old tapestry flares into view beneath the disguise: simply horrific! Simply horrific! We don’t ever want to see this pattern again, and we won’t have to, for it’s gone up in flames, and that’s all the thing’s good for anyway, which renders us unprotected, but it’s still better than this awful tapestry pattern. Fortunately, prevailing winds have us in the middle of a sandstorm and we don’t have to, no, we can’t even take a closer look at it anymore. At times these winds prevail, then again others. That man used to be of use, now he is of no use. But you can’t say the same for this tapestry. No one could put up with that pattern for long. It’s striking, unpleasantly striking. It strikes our eye, but more like a mote than a beam. It is what it is: a disguise, and now it’s gone anyway.

Do you really think nature is accommodating you by coming at you with a sandstorm, people? Do you really think these people are accommodating by their very nature and will thus simply surrender? Do you really believe they’re just dying to have the wind knocked out of them in the howling winds of this storm? No one would hear their last dying breath above the din! Scorching rays of the sun, like a ring around a campfire, causing a midlife meltdown in the course of a human life, snuffing it out in the heat, over, done, gone.

Yeah. Nature aids the adversary by coming at him with a sandstorm. Only to our detriment. And first and foremost to the detriment of our flight instruments! They’re not used to that. The sand flees from the ground, and where does it run to? It runs headlong into our engines where it’s really got no business being! Pilots come running, on the run now, only a few, drowned maybe in the Tigris, who cares, the Babylonian city groans in grief over the loss of the country’s precious youth who’ve rushed to the river post haste and are now shooting into it with their guns, but the old people are doing the same. They’re shooting into the water because they don’t have anything better to do. They’re always shooting. Maybe they’ll hit someone one of these times? No, they don’t hit anyone. Those pilots can stay underwater for a long time, but they’re probably not even there. I don’t see any oil slick forming. This is the truth. I’ll come crashing down hard on it like a God, which I sure as hell am not. There’s not a drop of oil on this water’s surface, even I can see that much.

Maybe we’ll get a taste of the real storm in the next few days, I’m working on it, I’m working on it already. I’m on it. I can’t write any faster than this. But I can do it faster than you, people, that’s for sure. What, you want I should depict the storm before it’s even hit? I can give it a shot, mega-multi-talented demon that I am, with my unrelenting way of pouncing on the facts and twisting them into some blast from the past, all the while calling to the fore those facts that still have an eye for the future. I’ll wring their necks yet, those facts. But first, here’s a question for you: Do you really think this religion is even worth fighting for like this? Now, just when I get to the part I consider worthy of discussion, along comes that dolphin again to distract me, as animals always manage to do for me, even when I’m on the verge of breaking the bonds of love and morals in one fell swoop. No matter what I’ve got in mind, the animals pay it no heed. Just ask my dog! He just got a fish himself, this fish or whatever it is. Look, we’re saving it for when we need it again later, in this little swimming pool here. Of course, aside from nourishment and water, there’s a need for many things, you need to use your head, that’s the least of things, but when you need it, you’ll see just how little it takes and the many rewarding results that can be obtained as a result. It’s enough that you think about all the conditions entailed so you can set the terms of your conditions here. I haven’t left much space for you to do that, I’ve done most of the talking. I always do most of the talking. I’m the one doing the talking here. Go do your talking somewhere else! I can always rely on the instability of your emotions and that’s exactly what I’m doing to curry favor with you now. Believe me! Answer me! What are this religion’s demands and what are the terms it has set? And that religion there? You telling me that one wants something, too? I want to know. Here you have a model of some house of God, but it’s very small, models are like that. Now please don’t go denouncing any Christians, any Jews, any Muslims or any Americans! And don’t deny anyone else or any other God whatsoever! Otherwise, we and the Americans will show you who’s boss! We always come as a package deal. Ick bin an American, aren’t we all? Maybe not right now, but in principle. C’mon, it’s a good thing in principle because one should always be open to foreign people and cultures and quick to take a liking to them. But I wouldn’t get into it with this American because he’s likely to get all up in your face and you’ll never have enough to throw back in his face! I know it. I can see that already. Whatever. He’ll decide for himself. People will take on everyone and anyone, and with gusto! as soon as life’s slings and arrows start tugging like a thorn in their sides and they can no longer simply thrust their hands into the print of the nails to deny the real truth even as it stares them in the face. Unfortunately, though, his number is showing up on the caller ID now, who’s that, a Jew, just what the doctor ordered! Poor slob!, so now there’s no more denial to be had, I can see his number right here. We’ll really have to track this guy down now. Track him down first, ask questions later, what does he believe, and that will be the last sin he shall ever remit. He’s used to being tracked down. So let’s start with him. What’s the truth? Please, will you tell me the truth, pretty please, just come out with it! I think the Jews are behind all this, they just never let up, my neighbors say the same thing, and they never let up, either, my neighbors on both sides, though they otherwise never take the same side, on this they point they do, and reach hither a hand to thrust it into my side before they go back inside. They’re always the target, the Jews. They’ve been down this road so many times they no longer so much as notice it’s happening to them. They are, after all, a very ancient people. OK, the Germans once again find themselves in the wrong climate and the wrong light, and, yes, we do hold it against them, but why should they do the Babylonians—of all people—the honor this time? No, they don’t have time for that now. They’re in the right. Didn’t you want to contribute something to this discussion, too? On the subject of solidarity among Jewish people, which is truly unbelievable, no wonder, if you consider how few of them are left, they’re bound to stick together, everyone gets that. Their basic idea is that, among themselves, it never so much as occurred to anyone to segregate people according each individual’s income. That’s what the thinker is thinking behind his brow as he sets the force of will into high gear. New Testament: Careful there! Don’t get the moral jitters! But the Jew, on the other hand, is a stranger to the notion of personal redemption after death. Everything happens in the here and now, otherwise you’d all already be dead. And once you’re dead, nothing else happens. A good idea. Makes a lot of sense to me. The primary motive for martyrs is sheer love of the law. But the martyrs, aren’t they the other guys? Aren’t they the ones who blow themselves up with the intent of taking as many others down with them as they can? Innocents? As a matter of principle, you should only take innocents down with you when you go, the guilty suffer such terrible things after death, it’s better to spare them. Though they’d be happy about getting a ride, they might not be altogether satisfied with what they find on arrival. You can’t rely on the dead. Death is a sure bet, but not the dead. Not even victims of murder. It’s awful. Any given God simply slams his most faithful followers into the grill of the pearly gates, squishes them like lice, tramples them to the ground. And all that just because He didn’t win this time! The only difference: my God is in the right. My God is a born-again Christian, and he can be born and reborn again and again, that’s the beauty of him being the Christian Christ. And what’s even better is that he can also employ the logic of the most unbelievable non-believers and the morality of the most unbelievable non-believers to prove that he is the only one who’s in the right and the only one whose law is right and to portray things as incontrovertible facts and, well, anyway. He can do anything. He can do anything, my God.

Scene from the Abu-Ghraib prison, Baghdad (2003/2004)

As far as I’m concerned, let everyone believe whatever he wants. I don’t even have a concept for what constitutes a person or an individual, how am I supposed to concern myself with what he may or may not believe? Jesus, for example, and his disciples were one because they loved each other the way a doe hind loves her fawn. The way we love our country. Everyone loves himself and his kind. Of course, he’s got to eat, drink and be merry, but let’s just leave that aside for now. One should be permitted to denounce Jews, too, if one is completely committed to Jesus, don’t you think? Yeah, that’s the thing to do, and it’s been done often enough, all the time, in fact. It’s established itself as tradition. But if you denounce Allah, just wait and see what happens. You’ll be wishing you’d never been born. And the person who tears you to shreds will be hard-pressed, hard-pressed indeed, to explain why. He’ll just blow you sky high! Shred you like a scrap of paper! Not a problem for him! So you want to take a stab at approaching this foreign God, in prayer, or by whatever means, and he comes along and has you obliterated at the hands of his most faithful follower, his biggest fan! Does He even know about that, this God? Does He even approve of it? No idea. But you’d best not do it: denounce Allah. Go ahead and denounce that other God, but not this one! And please, not mine either. Any other one, but not Allah and not mine. Doing it with either one of them will do you no good in the long run. And if there’s any god you don’t even know, no matter which god, don’t denounce him, I’m warning you explicitly. Otherwise, you’re really going to need some good connections to wriggle your way out of that one. Now we’re out of the water. Finally. Thank God. Now we’re out of it again. For a moment there, I wasn’t sure it was gonna work. Others are not. Outta there. We are out again. So, your execution failed to succeed again. I declare your execution a catastrophic success. Tune in tomorrow for more. We’re still closer to the beginning than near the end. And we know that better than God himself. He is the beginning and the end, but he’s a stranger onto himself. So, another 100,000 troops are on their way. I don’t know them either. Main thing is, they know each other and know they can rely on each other. And each one of them has two grubby little paws with which they pounce on the people of Babylon, and God knows those people deserve it. But God doesn’t know that. He knows everything. He knows it not. He knows everything. He knows it not. I swear to God, He told me personally that he knows it not. He complained that no one bothered to tell him. He knows how the Tomahawks function, and he’s about to find out how smart bombs function, it’s just that he hasn’t revealed that to me yet, but he doesn’t know yet what we’ve got planned. He knows what we’ve done to him. But he doesn’t know yet what we’ve got planned for the future. Even on April 1st, 2003, he still doesn’t know it.

Scene from the Abu-Ghraib prison, Baghdad (2003/2004)


from "The New Yorker"
Scene from the Abu-Ghraib prison, Baghdad (2003/2004)




So, now we’ve taken control of the airport, I can see that quite clearly from up here and can only confirm it. I’ve turned off the power supply. I don’t know whether we’ve dropped a graphite bomb here or whether they turned off the power supply themselves, that roaring current, that buzzing buddy of ours, but wait a minute, I can find that out any old time, all I have to do is inform myself. Just a second. Ask and ye shall receive. I, as God, do not see the problem in whether we’re satisfied with ourselves or not, but rather whether we’re ever satisfied with anything, whether we’ll ever be satisfied. That is the question. Here we have dropped all these cluster bombs, killed thousands of people—fruit vendors, newspaper salesmen, shepherds, the sheltered, the unsheltered, entire families, whether in whole or in part, regardless, we were right to have done so, I mean to have dropped the cluster bombs, we did it to protect our own troops and to keep our losses at an absolute minimum. The cluster bombs leave behind smart blind shells that did not detonate on impact to lie around for decades, centuries, scattered on the ground where they could go off at any time, longer than any human being would ever lie around on the same spot of ground, in which case, he would be more of a stupid dud than a blind shell of a man. In the long run, it would be boring to lie around like that. On the other hand, of course, we certainly don’t want people going off like that. People were not meant to become bombs. We wouldn’t want that now. People were not meant to be bombs. That’s just not in the picture. That they turn themselves into bombs, well, that’s not exactly what I had in mind either.

We may not even need to conquer these cities, maybe we can just isolate them, but any other transgression, er, uh, I mean progression is also possible. We will not proceed as planned. No, now we will proceed as planned. The power has gone out, I will personally see to it that these shiny little gold stars don’t twinkle like diamonds in the sky. Dark. Sinister. Dark. Darkness. I’ll see to that, don’t worry. Graphite dust can do the same, but I am better at it. Even bombs are often smarter than man. I need some kind of pneumonic device for my eternal return to remind myself in which form and incarnation I should return each time.

These bombs are smarter than you can so much as imagine, folks. I’d been meaning to tell you about that. I’m totally jealous of them. It doesn’t matter what form I assume as God when I come again. But the next time I come again it should leave a more lasting impression than the last, and, I might add, that one wasn’t half bad. I’m only human after all, a man who can invent such a thing, I’ve been made a mere mortal man, no, I’m still God. Sometimes I have my doubts, but my father just handed me a note stating that I, too, am God. He’s not the only one. In any case, no sooner had I been informed of the fact that I am God, of course I immediately set out to serve some purpose, in the sense of Darwinian biology, which is to say to assert my fitness in the struggle against others. Who could be more fit than someone who is at once God and man? People should all become like me, but they cannot. Nevertheless, it is the sense of increase, the sense of gaining strength, above and beyond the advantage it affords the struggle, that is the real sign of progress. They came to that conclusion all on their own. We have, for example, the GBU-28 bomb, 5,000-plus pound bunker buster, 4,600 pound launch weight with 630 pounds of high explosives (Tritonal). Specifications: Length: 18 feet, diameter 1.2 feet. Guidance system: Laser pointer (man-in-the-loop), and I’m pointing that out just so they don’t end up selling anyone a laser pointer who hasn’t actually earned the honor! Penetration depth, depending on the density of the target, and these walls are very dense, I can fill you in on that little secret, I’ve tried it, and succeeded: up to 30 meters. Not a bad job, eh? Cost: $145,600 with a minimum order of 125.Suitable delivery platform: F-15E and F-111F fighter aircraft. But one is hardly enough. Take several, take several of them off our hands! If you’ve already got fighter aircraft, it’s best that you take a couple thousand of ‘em off our hands, then we can really give you a discount. Promise.


Look, I developed the GBU-28 for the express purpose of penetrating hardened Iraqi command centers located deep underground. It would be stupid to miss the mark there, right? I never miss the mark, as a matter of principle. Otherwise, I’d have to critically reassess my figures and values, measured on the scale of life, and then I’d have to critically reassess the source of these figures and values and then call into question life itself and so on and so forth. I’d have to turn myself inside out. Right now, I’m man’s asshole, I’d have to become his mouthpiece and at the same time give him head. Quite the trick, I know. One is gripped by a perilous longing to return home to the savagery of the soul, and that’s what I’m giving free rein here: This GBU-28 is, as I said—let me explain once and for all—a 2 1/2 ton laser-guided conventional weapon. And the people who use it are altogether conventional men, right? And I created them with my own hand, so I should know. It has a 2.2-ton penetrating warhead. I’m giving this thing a blowjob and then some, but I can’t get anything worth swallowing to come out of it. Maybe the thing’s not supposed to get its rockets off after all—on the contrary, maybe it’s just supposed to blow up something. These bombs are actually just modified cannon barrels I’m giving head, oyvay, it’s getting hot here, and hard, you’ve never had your mouth on anything that hard, folks, filled with 300 kilos of highly-charged Tritonal-explosives. Yes, I pumped that sweet little thing hard and equipped it with the matching GBU-27 LGB kit, which is a laser-guided retrofit, yes, you can get it as a retrofit kit, that’s right, for the event that it doesn’t stay hard long enough for you, you can retrofit, retrofit the “dummy bombs” to make them smarter. The GBU-28 is skipped into the target tunnel and, with the aid of a laser beam reflex aimed at the target, locates the impact area. The GBU-28 comes equipped with four moveable stabilizer fins on its tail end—enough to spawn the envy of our dolphins should they ever catch sight of them—stabilizer fins that help guide it to its target tunnel within certain limitations to which even we are similarly subject. Now it’s coming! Now at last it’s coming out, my mouth—licked to exhaustion, limp as the ladle of creation halfway through the job. Lo and behold, words come out my mouth in a bubble comprised of soap and air, but hard as hell all the same: The laser pointer can be directed at the target either from a second plane or from the ground. Where there’s a will there’s way, no, I mean where there’s a way there’s a will. Nothing can get in the way because these laser pointers are extremely accurate once they have the will or the way in sight. What a sight, this image, it appears, shining bright, looks like it’s a wrap, wrap your head around what we’ve got upstairs, I’m the one who created all this. Sein and Schein. What Is and What Seems. See? I know not seems! None of it adds up to Being in itself, it doesn’t add up to the remotest semblance of Being, but that is what amounts to Being. Being and Nothingness fall all over each other and become one. The match between Sein and Schein ends in a draw. Each as strong-willed as the other. Good enough. There isn’t really any criterion for reality anyway, just sayin’. Everything you see is true, but none of it is real. Being is but a degree of appearance, and appearances appear in the form of the glow on this TV screen, which is also my creation. It’s a practical accessory device for all these bombs. Wasn’t that nice of me? That way, at least you get to follow what the bombs are doing, but you’ll never catch up to them. No need to thank me. Sein and Schein, both one and the same: that, too, was my doing, I did it by inventing television, a long time ago, indeed, but ever since then, that’s the way it’s been, so let’s be honest about it: What Is and What Seems still doesn’t amount to Being. Sometimes What Seems to be Nothingness amounts to Being. Reality is nothing but graduated appearance, measured against the proportionate weight we lend to What Seems. That’s the end of that. I’ve put all my weight into What Seems. Now I’m happy. I used to just give the stuff away, gave away too much, now I sell it. I think I can be happy with the job I’ve done. Wherever there’s little to be had, there’s also little room for appearances. Well, isn’t there just a little bit of annihilation in the realm of spirit and intellect? No, there’s not a little bit of annihilation in the realm of spirit and intellect. I’m sorry to have to disappoint you. I mean, the bit of annihilation we’ve aimed for in the realm of spirit and intellect is not exactly little. There’s something to be said for knowing where the nearest Target Center is located. To set one’s sights on the target, pull the trigger, that’s the end of that, that, that. But something must remain. What? I’m still wracking my brain, what. From the very onset, the character of Being must be impressed upon what shall become, then something will come of it. Then that will become our power. Because that’s what we wanted. Someone’s got to want it, it’s lying there on the ground, everyone’s climbing all over it, it’s already filthy as sin, someone’s got to want it, someone’s got to take it, and then he’s already got it. Someone’s taken it upon himself. Bravo. Kudos. Because he wanted it, he took it upon himself to take it. That’s the way I imagined my will would want it, too. It could still come and tell me I told him he should take it upon himself, the power. Happens all the time. No one bothers to ask me. But I’m going to say it anyway. He should take it upon himself—it’s a dirty job, somebody’s got to do it. It’s just lying there, the power, and those boots over there just skipped over it, out of sheer curiosity to see what comes next, and those there, too, sometimes stepped right into it, it happens, the eyes have since seen it on television, I mean, they’ve seen far off into the teleological distance. Poor power. Makes the poor poorer and the rich richer. It’s the nature of the beast, one of its many peculiar particularities. It all comes back around, especially the wars. But the fact that they always come back around is just the most extreme conflation of this world of becoming with that of being. It IS everything because everything is broken. Because we said so, and that’s the end of that. That. That. That. We stand at the zenith of observation, look around us, we see that that which is is but seems as soon as it has finally become something, as soon as it has finally become nothing, and we turn away, turn our gaze inward and outward from within. We know nothing, we learn nothing, we err, we start again from scratch, we deceive ourselves, we deceive others and are disappointed that we haven’t yet won. Soon we will buy another lot in life, and rid ourselves of the lot of us, someone will help us out, but not me, not yet, but soon, but soon. That’s that. That. That. Finally, he shoots his wad. I thought he was never going to come. So. Now that’s the end of that, too.

Scene from the Abu-Ghraib prison, Baghdad




U.S. Game

Pictures of ancient carvings taken from: http://iraqipages.com/iraq_mesopotamia/ancient.htm
Game cover taken from: http://www.gameeire.com


Bambiland © 2007 Elfriede Jelinek / Translation © 2005-2007 by Lilian Friedberg


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