They’re coming after John Doe Dimslow Junior at school. Now with the deaths of Iraqi guerillas and civilians and U.S. soldiers and private mercenaries mounting every day, U.S. military recruiters are having trouble recruiting soldiers into the “all-volunteer” forces. So they have to make it more and more a mercenary military of Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine troops to go along with the private mercenaries. They have to offer cash to kill: “$20,000 bonus for enlisting, $9,000 more if enlistees ship out in the next 30 days, and even better, $70,000 for college.”
The big bucks tempted J Junior so much that he gave the recruiters the a-okay to come over to our home for a home visit. Except he never cleared it with Daddy-O, one John Doe Dimslow. So when those recruiters climbed out of their shiny SUV and came striding across the lawn and up the walk I met them on the porch with a twelve gauge double barrel sawed-off, and I ordered them to stop, to halt, to cease and desist. And then I asked them if they recognized what I held in my hands. They did. And then I stepped off the porch and pointed up at the sky over the empty field and woods and gave it a shooting off. And I don’t know if they were impressed none but at least now I had their attention. “Come on in, boys,” I told them. “Let’s have us a little talk. And I’ll just keep my friend here by my side.”
Well them boys ain’t soldiers for nothing, I suppose, so they came on in, and we sat around the kitchen table with J Junior and his mother Jane Doe Dimslow and I had them boys go over the dollars again, and then I asked, “And how much does J Junior here get for a blown off arm and a blown off leg? I mean, does he get paid an arm and a leg for an arm and a leg that’s been blown off? And how many arms and legs is he going to have to blow off himself to get them bucks? And how much more of that oil money is he going to get?” And then I turned to J Junior and I asked, “How much of that oil money do you want, son? I figure now’s the time to ask for all the world and all to hear. Name your price to these gentlemen and see just how much you can get.”
And J Junior said, “Well, I don’t know anything about oil money.”
And I said, “Well, these boys do. They get their share. Now you’ve got to get yours, if that’s what you want. Is that what you want? Oil money? And blood spilt to get it? You better get what you can now, I tell you what, because it’s going to be like trying to pull teeth trying to get any later. Them fat cats are going to lap it all up, quicker than you can pull any trigger.”
J Junior said he didn’t want any oil money.
And I turned to the recruiters and I said, “You heard the young man.” And smiled. And we all just sort of ignored any guns that had been brought to the table and the blood and the oil, and the recruiters went out onto the porch and strode down the walk and crossed the yard and climbed in their SUV and drove away.
After I locked the gun in the cabinet, J Junior and I stood on the porch gazing out over the fields and forest, and J Junior said, “The money makes you think.”
And I said, “Is that what it does?”
And J Junior said, “It makes you think their way.”
And I said, “And what kind of way is that?” And J Junior said, “It’s the way of the killer.” “The killer thief,” I said, and I turned around as Jane Doe Dimslow came out onto the porch.
And J Junior said, “And that’s no way. It’s no way at all.”
And it’s all over the dim-damned TV. All these phony political dee-bates that get me all riled up under the skin the way them warhawks get going and all. It isn’t nothing how they look, it’s what they say. They all say we got to destroy Iraq to save it. More or less. And to hell with anything else. To hell with riling up them mad bombers, which is what it does more and more. To hell with everything – they say, we got to up the firepower on Iraq to have peace. We got to break it to fix it. We got to smash it to restore it.
Maybe I’m missing the candle for the wick, being a John Doe Dimslow and all, but these guys are nuts gone mad, warhawks all, blowing up Iraq, blowing up Iraqis and using our boys and girls, men and women as the cannon and the cannon fodder both. Pouring gasoline on a bonfire, all so that we, but not me and you, can own the oil and threaten to cut if off from other folks, rather than just keep buying it like everyone else. The troops ain’t dying and killing for nothing, of course. There’s oil there! And power! And a WMD hornet’s nest is what we’re a-makin’, by a-killin’ and by a-stayin’. And somebody not no way related to John Doe Dimslow is getting rich. That’s what them troops are dying and killing for, as the place goes to the hell it’s being made into. And more than a few of them troops know it and are angry about it. And for starters we can thank the big dollar folks and politicians and big media types like the ones we see all over the damn place for making it so.
But what do I know, old Dimslow?
Maybe I can find a horror film on TV to watch tonight or something like that, something a little less chilling than them warhawks I see on TV chirping and pounding away at each other like they are cannons come to life, each one eager to be a bigger cannon than the other.
If only them warhawks could be confined there on the tube – but now I hear Iran is next for the blasting and smashing – and soon. It’s the whole planet and everyone in it that I get worried about, that I got to speak out about, that them two warhawks seem eager to set about destroying. They act like they’ll destroy almost anything to get elected or stay in power. And the thing is, it don’t, in any way, seem like no act.
(Warhawk Guns For Hire, by Tony Christini)