Playing games with our troops
Just a few days before yesterday’s deadly attack on a U.S. mess tent in Mosul, Joint Chiefs Chairman Richard “Quag” Myers, the nation’s top uniformed military leader, was in the general area, doing his job by hauling around and publicly hosting a USO tour starring the likes of John Elway and Robin Williams.
Nanu-friggin’-nanu. What planet is the Bush regime from?
Myers wasn’t only ushering celebrities around Asia on the “chairman’s aircraft.” He was signing footballs (see photo) for Iraq-bound U.S. troops in Kuwait.
Myers showed he’s a take-charge guy—he don’t need no machine to sign his name.
At this point in our imperial history, Myers and the other Pentagon dreamers of this nightmare actually expected to be jabbing corncob pipes into their mouths and accepting the surrender signatures of humbled and grateful natives. Instead, the Iraq Debacle, as you can see from the heavy smoke on your TV screens, is turning chronic.
Tom Ricks of the Washington Post says as much this morning in his analysis titled “Precision of Base Attack Worries Military Experts.” Increasingly, the establishment U.S. press is getting right to the point about the deadly nonsense of our foreign policy. Here’s how Ricks starts his piece:
In April 2003, as the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was ending, the Pentagon projected in a formal planning effort that the U.S. military occupation of the country would end this month.
Instead, December 2004 brought one of the deadliest single incidents of the war for U.S. forces. More than 80 casualties were suffered yesterday by U.S. troops, civilian contractors, and Iraqi soldiers when a U.S. base near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul was blasted at lunchtime.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon propaganda machine’s Jim Garamone, one of the government’s permanently embedded reporters, wrote Saturday (December 18) that “reactions were fantastic” to the USO trip by Myers, Elway, Mork, and the other celebrities, who included the unrememberable Blake Clark (“the unintelligible coach in Waterboy“) and boss-lookin’ Leeann Tweeden:
On the way over to the Middle East, the chairman’s aircraft stopped at Shannon, Ireland, to refuel. A planeload of American servicemembers were coming back to the States for rest-and-recuperation leave. As John Elway came out of the ramp from the plane, a lifelong Denver Bronco fan recognized the former quarterback.
“Oh my God, it’s John Elway,” the sergeant yelled at a volume that could be heard back across the Atlantic Ocean. And he added an expletive when he noticed Williams.
I can think of one, too. Anyway, not even Williams could stop the merriment:
Another soldier spotted Myers. “Are those four stars on his collar?” he asked. Immediately, Myers, Williams, Clark, Elway, and Tweeden were surrounded by a group in desert camouflage. Digital cameras appeared, pads of paper came out, and the soldiers, Marines, sailors, and airmen talked and laughed with the celebrities.
In Kuwait, units preparing to go into Iraq took time from their training to take in the show. At Camp Virginia—named for the site of one of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001—about 3,000 servicemembers packed in around a stage to see the show.
Each show followed the same lineup. Myers was introduced by local commanders. He would take the stage and thank the servicemembers for their contributions. He would turn the proceeding over to Tweeden.
Tweeden—dressed in modified desert camouflage—served as emcee. She spoke about the USO and previous experiences on tours to entertain the troops. Then she would introduce Elway.
The two-time Super Bowl winner spoke about the teams he had been on. Then he told the servicemembers that they were part of an unbeatable team and that he was proud to be affiliated with them. Then Elway proved he could still sling a football, tossing out souvenirs all the way to the edges of the crowds.
After which, the celebrity general would sign the footballs. Mission accomplished.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 22, 2004