So Osama Walks Into This Bar, See?
So, Osama Walks into This Bar, See? and Bush says, "Whad'l'ya
have, pardner?" and Osama says...
But wait a minute. I'd better shut my mouth. The sign here in the airport
says, "Security is no joking matter." But if security's no
joking matter, why does this guy dressed in a high-school marching band
outfit tell me to dump my Frappuccino and take off my shoes? All I can
say is, Thank the Lord the "shoe bomber" didn't carry Semtex in
Today's a RED and ORANGE ALERT day. How odd. They just caught the British
guys with the chemistry sets. But when these guys were about to blow up
airliners, the USA was on YELLOW alert. That's a "lowered"
According to the press office from the Department of Homeland Security,
lowered-threat Yellow means that there were no special inspections of
passengers or cargo. Isn't it nice of Mr. Bush to alert Osama when half
our security forces are given the day off? Hmm. I asked an Israeli
security expert why his nation doesn't use these pretty color
He asked me if, when I woke up, I checked the day's terror
"I can't say I ever have. I mean, who would?"
He smiled. "The terrorists."
America is the only nation on the planet that kindly informs bombers,
hijackers and berserkers the days on which they won't be monitored.
You've got to get up pretty early in the morning to get a jump on George
There are three possible explanations for the Administration's publishing
a good-day-for-bombing color guidebook.
1. God is on Osama's side.
2. George is on Osama's side.
3. Fear sells better than sex.
A gold star if you picked #3.
The Fear Factory
I'm going to tell you something which is straight-up heresy: America is
not under attack by terrorists. There is no WAR on terror because, except
for one day five years ago, al Qaeda has pretty much left us
That's because Osama got what he wanted. There's no mystery about what Al
Qaeda was after. Like everyone from the Girl Scouts to Bono, Osama put
his wish on his web site. He had a single demand: "Crusaders out of
the land of the two Holy Places." To translate: get US troops out of
And George Bush gave it to him. On April 29, 2003, two days before
landing on the aircraft carrier Lincoln, our self-described "War
President" quietly put out a notice that he was withdrawing our
troops from Saudi soil. In other words, our cowering cowboy gave in
whimpering to Osama's demand.
The press took no note. They were all wiggie over Bush's waddling around
the carrier deck in a disco-aged jump suit announcing, "MISSION
ACCOMPLISHED." But it wasn't America's mission that was
accomplished, it was Osama's.
Am I saying there's no danger, no threat? Sure there is: 46 million
Americans don't have health insurance. IBM is legally stealing from its
employees' pension plan and United Airlines has dumped its pensions
altogether. Four-million three-hundred thousand Americans were injured,
made sick or killed by their jobs last year. TXU Corporation is right now
building four monster-sized power plants in Texas that will burn skuzzy
gunk called "lignite." The filth it will pour into the sky will
snuff a heck of a lot more Americans than some goofy group of fanatics
with bottles of hydrogen peroxide.
But Americans don't ask for real protection from what's killing us. The
War on Terror is the Weapon of Mass Distraction. Instead of demanding
health insurance, we have 59 million of our fellow citizens pooping in
their pants with fear of Al Qaeda, waddling to the polls, crying,
"Georgie save us!"
And what does he give us? In my own small town, the federal government
has paid for loading an SUV with .50 caliber machine guns to watch for an
Al Qaeda attack at the dock of the ferry that takes tourists to the
Indian casino in Connecticut. The casino dock is my town's officially
designated "Critical Asset and Vulnerability Infrastructure Point
(CAVIP)." (To find the most vulnerable points to attack in the USA,
Al Qaeda can download a list from the Department of Homeland Security --
But that's not all. Bush is protecting us from English hijackers with a
fearsome anti-terrorist tool: the Virginia-class submarine. The V-boat
was originally meant to hunt Soviet subs. But there are no more Soviet
subs. So, General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin have "refitted"
these Cold War dinosaurs with new torpedoes redesigned to carry
counter-terror commandoes. That's right: when we find Osama's beach
house, we can shoot our boys right up under his picnic table and take him
out. These Marines-in-a-tube injector boats cost $2.5 billion each -- and
our President's ordered half a dozen new ones.
Lynn Cheney, the Veep's wife, still takes in compensation from Lockheed
as a former board member. I'm sure that has nothing to do with this
multi-billion dollar "anti-terror" contract.
Fear sells better than sex. Fear is the sales pitch for many lucrative
products: from billion-dollar sailor injectors to one very lucrative war
in Mesopotamia (a third of a trillion dollars doled out, no audits, no
Better than toothpaste that makes our teeth whiter than white, this stuff
will make us safer than safe. It's political junk food, the cheap filling
in the flashy tube. What we don't get is safety from the real dangers: a
life-threatening health-care system, lung-murdering pollution production
and a trade deficit with China that's reducing mid-America to coolie
status. Protecting us from these true threats would take a slice of the
profits of the Lockheeds, the Exxons and the rest of the owning
War on Terror is class war by other means -- to keep you from asking for
real protection from true menace, the landlords of our nation give you
fake protection from manufactured dangers. And they remind you to be
afraid every time you fly to see Aunt Millie and have to give up your
hemorrhoid ointment to the underpaid guy in the bell-hop suit with a
Oh, hey, you never got the punch line.
So, Osama Walks into This Bar, See? and Bush says, "Whad'l'ya have,
pardner?" and Osama says, "Well, George, what are you serving
today?" and Bush says, "Fear," and Osama shouts,
"Fear for everybody!" and George pours it on for the crowd.
Then the presidential bartender says, "Hey, who's buying?" and
Osama points a thumb at the crowd sucking down their brew. "They
are," he says. And the two of them share a quiet laugh.
Greg Palast, winner of the George Orwell Courage-In-Journalism Prize, is
the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Best Democracy Money Can
Buy and "ARMED MADHOUSE: Who's Afraid of Osama Wolf?, China Floats
Bush Sinks, the Scheme to Steal '08, No Child's Behind Left and other
Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War."