Collateral Damage; or, Genocide for Fun and Profit
Satire by Colin Cohen
Shakespeare once wrote, "exceeds peace as far as day does
night; it's sprightly, waking, audible, and full of vent."
And with war comes many glorious side effects -- most notably,
collateral damage. This term, a fairly modern one, was developed
by our overly-conscientious American military complex to soften
public resistance to the justified homicide of non-combatants
-- those who are in the way of achieving a desired and just
The term "collateral damage" came into vogue during the
first Gulf War in the early 1990s. This was the first major
conflict for the United States military since the Vietnam
War, a war many generals believe was lost not on the battlefield,
but on television. They believed that if they had only understood
marketing and public relations better, the outcome would have
been quite different. For example, if only the "Massacre at
Mai Lai" could have been called the "Inopportune Kinetic Targeting
of the Local Populace at Mai Lai," the American public would
have quickly forgiven and forgotten the honest mistake of
slaughtering over three hundred innocent men, women, and children.
The first Gulf War proved just how media savvy the military
complex had become. Not only did they come up with cute catch
phrases such as "collateral damage" and "smart bombs," they
also controlled the flow of information to the media establishment
by having former military officers appear on television to
properly dehumanize mass casualties. And they used the "new
media" to anesthetize war -- making it appear as a video game,
something the average American could understand, appreciate,
and even empathize with.
And what was the outcome of these efforts? Not only did
America win the war quickly -- restoring the duly unelected
leader of Kuwait, and reestablishing the free and inexpensive
flow of oil from the area -- but the military was able to
murder an estimated 35,000 civilians without protest from
either the American Left or the world community. It didn't
even matter that half the dead were children -- they were
simply a Stalinian statistic.
Collateral damage in Iraq, of course, didn't end with the
conclusion of hostilities. The United States had to punish
Saddam Hussein by killing -- according to United Nations estimates
-- a half-million of his Iraqi children through the use of
sanctions. When told of this number, former US secretary of
state Madeline Albright said that it was perfectly acceptable.
And she was right. After all, many of these children would
eventually grow into soldiers, who would then hamper future
military operations, plans of which were being developed as
soon as the War ended. By destroying an entire generation
of Iraqis, we were simply "decapitating" one of Hussein's
The 1990s was truly a great time to be an American. The
economy was thriving; and with the fall of the Soviet Union,
we were able to freely police the world in fun places such
as Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo -- inflicting collateral
damage whenever we felt the urge -- the right and the privilege
of being the lone superpower. But then, something bad happened.
Our enemies wrongfully came to the conclusion that they too
could inflict collateral damage . . . on us. This conclusion,
of course, was wholly illogical, as they had no sharp-talking
generals, no fancy vocabulary, and no video games. What was
worse was that instead of inflicting collateral damage through
the use of smart bombs, their weapon of choice was suicide
attackers -- a clear violation of the Geneva Convention, which
clearly states that the mass slaughter of human beings must
be carried out exclusively through gentlemanly means.
The attacks started out small -- mostly against our proxy
in the Middle East, Israel. We condemned the attacks, but
mostly ignored them. After all, they weren't killing Christians.
But then came September 11, 2001. The day we as Americans
finally awoke to our innate superiority. Now we could finally
inflict collateral damage without any hesitation due to some
misconceived notion of morality.
Afghanistan was our first target. They were superficially
indirectly responsible for the attacks on September 11; but
more importantly, they were easy to attack. And besides, no
one liked them anyway, not even the Iranians -- so there wouldn't
be much of a fuss. Also, Americans were so mad, we didn't
care whom we killed -- just as long as they were Muslim and
sufficiently different from us. Again, we had lots of generals
on television showing us all sorts of fun new video games,
and we easily crushed the infidels.
However, according to the Boston Globe, we only killed approximately
one thousand civilians, and far less than fifty percent of
them were children. This was truly a troubling development.
How could we possibly teach these people a lesson -- thou
shall not challenge the United States -- if we allowed so
many of their civilians to remain alive? It's a mistake that
has haunted us ever since, as the ungrateful Afghanis have
consistently scorned the freedom we imposed on them; and instead
of properly bowing to us in the streets, they constantly make
petty demands on us for insignificant things such as food,
water, and shelter. And that's only when they're not taking
potshots at our brave soldiers, those who have graciously
sacrificed the comforts of home to teach these people blind
subservience to the American flag and to our great Christian
Unfortunately or perhaps fortunately, we quickly got bored
with Afghanistan; and as the president's poll numbers started
to slide when Americans selfishly became focused on mundane
issues such as feeding their families, a new enemy had to
be found. But who? Why not our old friend Saddam Hussein?
He was still in power; and thanks to those crippling sanctions
imposed on Iraq since the first Gulf War, they were the perfect
enemy. Even though we had already killed much of their population,
there were still many left, especially as Muslim populations
have a tendency to rabbit-like increases.
Thus began the second Gulf War. However, as opposed to the
first one, when the world was united to turn back a ruthless
dictator who had unjustly overthrown another ruthless dictator,
we didn't have a convincing enough argument. Actually, we
didn't have any argument -- despite the best efforts of all
the screenwriters working in the White House. So, it was up
to us alone to inflict collateral damage. But as the cliché
goes, "the more, the merrier."
Preliminary results of the War, though, are quite discouraging.
There have been only a few thousand civilian casualties; and
again, a far lower percent of dead children. As the occupation
progresses, we have seen slight increases of both these numbers,
but only slight. We can only come to the conclusion that this
great crusade, while done with the best of intentions, has,
like in Afghanistan, come up somewhat short.
The heart of the problem, I believe, is that we have a muddled
policy regarding collateral damage, a policy which we need
to make far more succinct. I propose that instead of making
collateral damage a hidden side benefit of our policy, it
must become the cornerstone of it; and it must be taken to
the next logical level. I call for the mass extermination
of enemy populaces, a policy that will enrich us both economically
and politically. It is a policy that we should not be ashamed
to state openly.
By eliminating populaces, we will not only eliminate current
and future enemies, but we will also gain control over their
natural resources -- whatever those resources may be -- resources
that we should've controlled all along considering we use
them the most. We will also get what the Nazis called "Lebensraum"
-- living space for us to breathe. Of course, the world may
very well protest. But even if they do so sufficiently and
with a loud enough voice, we could simply hand control of
these resources to our not-so-secret proxies, the multinational
Unfortunately, when we say "the mass extermination of enemy
populaces," this conjures an ugly word in the English language:
genocide. It conjures Hitler, Pol Pot, and Edi Amin. These
men lamentably took a perfectly acceptable term, something
that was practiced by heroic men from Biblical times onward
(even God, in His infinite wisdom, practiced it on many occasions
to teach us a much needed lesson) and bastardized it through
their ignorance of the art of public relations.
Just as we invented the term "collateral damage," we must
invent a term for genocide that the average American can accept
and embrace. One possibility is "extreme collateral damage."
Not only does it signify collateral damage at a much higher
level, but the adjective "extreme" has come to be understood
by our culture as something "cool." The term conjures not
the brutal and senseless butchery of innocent people, but
instead properly conjures Arnold Schwarzenegger's next film.
However, this term just doesn't seem creative enough --
it doesn't sound like something that would come from the pen
of one of those scribes from Madison Avenue. A better term,
I think, is "aggregate disappearance." It sounds scientific
enough without sounding too sterile; there's a bit of mystery
to it -- and best of all it's accurate without being too accurate.
People won't be murdered, there will be neither blood nor
cries of agony. People will just conveniently disappear.
So, where do we begin creating aggregate disappearances?
One of the nations President Bush singled out when he made
his eloquent, Churchillian speech about the "Axis of Evil"
was Iran. They are a good choice, because as with Iraq, they
have one of the world's largest oil reserves, they are populated
by heretics, and their name begins with the letter "I." Iran
is the perfect training grounds for our little experiment
in disappearing -- the final solution of a problem that's
been nagging us for more than twenty years.
The people of Iran, after decades of our unrelenting support
for their benevolent tyrant, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, which
included restoring him to power by unselfishly overthrowing
the democratically-elected government of Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh,
showed their appreciation by taking our embassy hostage, a
clear violation of international conduct. And ever since,
the Iranians have failed to show us the respect we deserve
-- even after we helped Iraq develop chemical weapons that
were used so effectively against the Iranian population during
their little war in the 1980s.
The plan against Iran should be concluded as follows. As
we already have a large military deployment in the Gulf region,
it will not be difficult to turn our weapons toward Tehran
and begin creating disappearances. This should be done without
warning, in classic Blitzkrieg fashion, so as to preclude
Western journalists from witnessing it and putting a negative
spin on the carnage.
The Second Gulf War conclusively proved our forces can overrun
any country with the type of speed that would envy even Hitler.
Add to this our new policy of encouraging collateral damage,
and it would not be unreasonable to expect that the battle
would last days, if not hours. And if the international community
complains or protests, we'll just say that it was a necessary
preemptive strike against terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.
We can manufacture all the evidence they need.
After we've liberated Iran and eliminated most of its enemy
populace, we will have control of its vast oil reserves; and
in combination with the oil we already control in Iraq, we
could easily break the OPEC cartel and soon anticipate the
return of ten-cent-a-gallon gasoline prices, which would spur
unparalleled growth in our economy.
A question that will arise soon afterward, though, is what
will we then do with the few remaining Iranians and the places
in Iran that do not contain oil. Using our history with Native
Americans as a precedence, we could create reservations for
the locals, within which we'll encourage alcoholism so as
to keep the population docile. We'll then bus them to work
in the oil fields, in the Persian rug factories, in the fast
food chains, and in the golf clubs that we'll build across
the country. If they behave themselves, we might even let
them build and operate a few casinos. Finally, we'll send
over our best fundamentalist Christian missionaries to make
certain that all these poor souls will be saved.
Once we've fully cleansed Iran, we'll then free other countries.
The next logical target would be the third member of the infamous
Axis of Evil, North Korea. However, North Korea has almost
no natural resources; and unlike the Middle Eastern nations,
it might actually put up a fight. As such, it would clearly
be better to sublimate North Korea through diplomatic means
-- meaning that we'll let the United Nations annoy it with
sanctions until it starves to death.
The forth unofficial member of the Axis, Syria, would seem
to be a better candidate for disappearing. While it has only
modest oil reserves, it has enormous amounts of natural gas
deposits, which is perfect for heating American homes cleanly
Our military is so strong that we may even be able to finish
Syria and its citizenry at the same time we're finishing Iran.
And after Syria, it will be an easy task to wipe out the other
oil producing states in the region, such as Saudi Arabia,
Kuwait, and Qatar. Most of these Gulf nations have so few
people that they will hardly be missed.
This purging will leave only a few oil producing nations
outside our control, most notably Nigeria and Venezuela. Joyfully,
both these nations are extremely unstable, and should acquiesce
to their predestined fate without much enmity.
After we've taken control of almost all the world's oil
reserves and have eliminated a considerable amount of the
world's excess population, you might think that we as Americans
will finally be able to rest. But one of the things that have
always made us great is our ability to think outside the box.
Wealth and world domination is not secured solely through
the control of energy. There are nations abundant in gold,
diamonds, and rich farmland -- all waiting to be liberated
Yes, the task before us is immense and will require a unity
of thought amongst all Americans -- a unity that must be achieved
involuntarily if necessary. But, if done correctly and efficiently,
our policy of aggregate disappearance will not only be highly
profitable, but will also be a whole lot of fun as well.