Monday, January 18, 2010

It’s As Easy As One, Two, Three

As I mentioned on Friday, we’ve killed an awful lot of No. 3 ranking al-Qaeda members. Well, a funny thing happened the very next day in Waziristan.

AMMAN, Jordan – A Jordanian militant who served as a bodyguard for al-Qaeda’s No. 3 leader was killed in a U.S. drone attack along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border over the weekend, his brother said Wednesday.

So this guy wasn’t actually the third-highest ranking member of al-Qaeda, but he worked for one. His boss, one Hakimullah Mehsud, was reportedly killed on Thursday. There’s evidence that he’s still alive, but we’ll get him, just you wait! That was enough of a coincidence to get me thinking. Is there some mysterious, supernatural reason why our missiles unerringly hit the No. 3 man and his entourage that I, as a skeptic, am overlooking? I decided to do some in-depth research into the divine properties of the number three in an effort to find out. (“In-depth research” being a three-minute Google search.) The results were surprising.

It turns out that we’re surrounded by mystical trinities. Everywhere you look, things come in 3’s: birth, life, death; creation, preservation, destruction; mother, father, child; thought, word, deed; fat, drunk, stupid. The Pentagon itself, like a garden variety cancer cell, follows a threefold path, survive, grow, kill. Even my typical response to Pentagon propaganda forms a triad, drink, choke, puke. It’s uncanny. Everything in the Universe is symbolically represented by pairs of three.

This suggested another threesome, although one that lacks any metaphysical significance, and that is this: The Pentagon is simply … full … of … shit.

Neither the Pentagon nor their subordinates on Capitol Hill really want the wars and bombings to end. If they actually managed to knock-off Osama bin Laden or his top lieutenants, say, the No. 2 guys, there might be too much pressure placed on them to simply declare victory and bring the troops home. Conversely, if they just keep wasting civilians without anything to show for it, even the dimmest, dumbest flag-wavers — particularly those who’ve been laid-off — will eventually realize the war is a flop and support a halt to the bombings. In either case, the result is the same, a defeat for the Pentagon’s goal of permanent war and occupation.

Enter the Third Man. Killing the so-called No. 3 creates the impression that our endless bombings are actually achieving something. See, war supporters can say, we’re closing in on al-Qaeda’s leadership, we’re tightening the noose. If we cut and run now, they’ll get away and victory will be lost. We must stay the course! It also creates just enough uncertainty in the minds of the public to keep them silent. Mr. and Mrs. Low-Information voter will set aside their reservations, again, and give the war machine the benefit of the doubt. Maybe we are getting close to victory, Marge. We don’t want to make the same mistake we did in Vietnam by getting out too soon! It’s an effective propaganda tool, and the only magic going on around here is that it continues to work.

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