FALL OF DEATH
Everything is different now--right? Have good
never been so clearly defined, or is the line fuzzier than
ever? Did it take the most colossal bloody nose in history
to wake this country up, or are we just going to roll over
and bleed on the sheets? What's the appropriate
response--how do I feel about "America's New War"?
Seems like the same old one to me. There's certainly been
a war declared on us (the civilian population of the U.S.)
so we better do something before we go the way of the
Romans. And it had better be more a more effective
response than we've ever seen from our government or
we're in for an ass-kicking all the way to the
There goes the neighborhood.
I'm not going to mince words or puss-out.
This is my country (well, actually
I'm still a dual-citizen Canada/U.S., so I guess I've got two countries) and I
love it as much as anyone else. I don't care what's on the news tonight or
what a bunch of morons think. I'm allowed to criticize anything I want
to--it's called FREEDOM (at least for us white folk...). I think that the U.S.
has on paper the greatest ideas for government ever sent down. Translating
them into reality is a difficult matter. I think we try harder than any other
nation out there. But there are obvious and damaging problems that plague
our country and the world we claim to lead (which, by the way, we don't). I
use my art to attack what I see as the lies and hypocrisies of not just our
nation but any country, religion, idea, or individual that I disagree with. It's
my weapon--better a song than a bullet. Though GWAR presents a violent
image, it is obviously a sarcastic, even sardonic, one. By depicting grotesque
acts in music and art and then presenting them in a comic, vulgar and very
public spectacle, I hope to drag out humanities darkest, ugliest side, and
then kick the shit out of it! And in doing so we hopefully do our part to
help destroy ideas that are obsolete and hateful. Granted, we take it to an
extreme, but since the Sep. 11th attacks any reflection of that kind of
attitude in art and music is being suppressed by the magnitude of the
disaster. Following the attacks, Clear Channel (a business that owns roughly
90% of American radio) distributed a list of songs they suggested their
stations refrain from playing from. Amongst them were "Peacetrain" and
"Imagine", and anything by Rage Against the Machine! Directors are
re-editing movies, in short the terrorists have succeeded at least temporarily
at damaging one of the cornerstones of what makes America great. Our
freedom of speech. Fuck that. If the worlds leaders had the guts to get on
the "Peace Train", if they could have the vision to "Imagine" a world as
beautiful as Lennon could, if they took one minute to understand why Rage
rages, then this shit might not have happened! So I'm more pissed than
ever, not just at the bastards behind this attack but the government that
was supposed to never let it happen. I'm gonna take this hit and fire back,
and I've got a big goddamn gun. And it's gonna hurt because a lot of the
bullets are for us. If you're not ready for it, stop reading now. But if you
are, open up your mind and allow me to attempt my assault--to get to the
truth behind and the future ahead of the blackest day in our nation's short
history, September 11th, 2001.
There used to be a Starbucks here...
As I write this, it's been over a month since
the attacks on our country that
devastated countless lives. Countless because it's not just the dead and the
maimed that was directly affected. Not just the maimed but the
traumatized, the orphaned, the jobless, the homeless, the pets who starved
to death, and the men and women who have to clean up the mess (and
besides the steel, they're not finding much that's very big--no chairs,
cabinets, complete bodies, not even door-knobs). What about my fellow
GWAR-slaves Bob Gorman and Matt Maguire who saw with their own eyes
the deaths of over 5000 people? Countless because people are still dying
everyday. I know I'm affected in ways I can't understand. I'm more tense,
nervous. I scowl a lot. There is a grief and a sadness in me I have difficulty
expressing without sounding corny as hell. As I stare into the void, I get
very depressed. I watch the news and feel a hopeless, sinking sensation. This
shit is the worst shit ever. Everyone in the world could be affected with
differing degrees of severity until you get to people like wild Amazon tribes.
They are in the process of getting exterminated anyway, so basically if
you're not fucked now, you already were. If you don't think you're affected,
or can't be in the future, fine. I used to be really into Dungeons and
Dragons. Maybe you like Xanex (actually I do too). Just go on believing
that, and check your mail carefully. But before and depending on how this
whole thing plays out, you and yours could be dead, DEAD, killed in a
terrorist attack, and the surviving (and the only survivors will be the fuckers
that started it) members of the human race driven underground. We are at a
defining moment of human history. Because in addition to the possibility of
plunging the world into global war, we may also have a chance to save it.
Osama's radical ideas regarding skyline management proved irksome to many.
People who think it's O.K. to blow the shit out of whoever and whatever to
advance their own political/ideological/economic/idiotic agendas have
always been targets of ridicule and scorn for me mutilate in rubber. They
don't represent freedom--they represent death. I don't support murder as a
legitimate means of settling disputes. If I saw someone being murdered in
the street, I'd like to think I would try to stop it, non-lethally if possible.
I'm not for the death penalty so how can I be pro-war? The only legitimate
reason for it is if your country is invaded. If Zorg Barges unloaded their
hideous mutant legions on the Earth, I'd damn sure fight back! If the
"unthinkable" happened and the U.S. got invaded, god bless our boys! But
these latest wave of attacks have left me questioning myself in a way I never
have before. We did get invaded! With our own stuff! What the fuck! To
make matters even more stressful, I wrote a lot of this while on the road
performing with my band DBX. It was a weird time to be on the road. There
was no costume to hide behind, and my usual bevy of tasteless jokes about
Gary Condit (the only person to benefit from this thing) and stem cell
research just didn't seem to have quite as much bite. And every day the tour
got closer to Ground Zero--our show at CBGB's was on, and it wasn't too
far from "The Pile". We were being drawn towards it like so many others
had been. I was trying not to indulge my ghoulish side--but when the very
doomsday prophecies you yourself have forecast come true in such a hellish
way, you have to start wondering whether art is worth a fuck anymore.
War is hell, said a man who fought it. War
destroys far more than the
people who die in them. Anyone who is a child of war knows this. Both of
my parents were World War II veterans and both were traumatized for life
by what they experienced. So before we rush to a pro-war stance lets be
ready for what that really means. This will be a long and drawn-out affair
that will consume thousands of lives. People act like this is something new.
It's only new in the level of damage that was done in a day, and it's but one
day in a conflict that has been going on for centuries. Look up Pepin the
Great or Saladin if you don't understand that. Might want to bone up on
some Crusader history while you're at it. Not a pretty legacy for the West to
leave behind. We've been fighting Muslim armies for centuries, but
assuming Osama and his followers are responsible for this act, what kind of
war can we expect today? If we plan on going in there and wiping out these
guys in their mountain strongholds, we better be ready to take casualties.
The closest modern comparison would be like trying to burn the Japanese
out of their island fortresses, like Iwo Jima, in World War II. The Japanese
were also suicidal and were seldom taken alive. They'd do stuff like sit in a
hole with a bomb and a detonator, and when the Americans came, BOOM.
It was HORRIBLE. Demo charges, flamethrowers, grenades and bayonets.
Those nasty RPG's. Hand-to-hand combat. Another parallel would be the
Allied Italian campaign against the Germans in World War II. The
Germans had an endless array of mountain strongholds to fight from.
When one began to fall they'd go back to the next line. Then as now, we
enjoyed air superiority. But we still couldn't take them out. The fighting
bogged into bloody attrition until the advance finally halted north of Rome.
Still men died there needlessly until Berlin fell months later. So if they are
planning this kind of a war we better be ready for long casualty lists. We are
going to have to go in there and trade life for life and not stop doing it until
we win. As we do that we'll have to be prepared for continued attacks on
our homeland. Plane-bombs. Suicide squads going berserk in shopping
malls. And as we have been made horribly aware of in recent days,
biological warfare. Nukes going off AHHHHH! Welcome to endtimes!
"Staying the course" could mean "millions dead", including you, your
family, and all your drunk friends. Do we have the national resolve, the
guts, for a war like this? Is there any other solution?
No smart-ass comment here.
Before we use the "war" word anymore,
we better learn as much as we can
from our performance in recent conflicts. It's not too encouraging, despite
those wonderful camera-bombs of ours. Truth is our government has
hobbled our nation's military since World War II ended in 1945. Vietnam is
the perfect and obvious example of a botched war (is there ever one that
isn't?). Not only was it highly debatable whether we should even have been
there or not, the military was continually hamstrung by orders from
Washington. If you are going to do something as horrid as fight a war, lets
not forget what that really is. It's an organized campaign to destroy people
and property. So if you're gonna do it you better do it right, go all the way,
or you'll end up being the one that gets destroyed. More examples in our
countries litany of failure--Korea? Years later the conflict is still unresolved.
Lebanon? Our "peace-keeping" force was little more than a living target,
and all it took was one truck bomb to drive us out of there. Our
"successful" operations have been a series of bad jokes. Grenada? Panama?
We reduced a large swath of downtown Panama City to slag in our quest to
oust a petty warlord we helped create. Amnesty International and the Red
Cross were not allowed to inspect the area for a couple of weeks after the
"battle". Some sources say as many as 20,000 civilians perished. Not too
cool! Then again we did get to test out our new weapons! Special Forces
Ops? How about the attempted rescue of the Iran hostages? Complete
failure and a propaganda coup for our "enemies" Then there's the Gulf
War. If you still think that we went there to defend Kuwait's freedom, you
crazy joe! Watch "Three Kings" as soon as possible. We didn't take out
Saddam, and then we sat back and let him use his helicopters to wipe out a
Kurdish revolt we encouraged. The whole thing reeked of politics of the
worst kind. Secret deals and lies for us. We were there for the oil, period.
There to establish U.S. military bases right next to the oil we crave. Some
say we baited Saddam into attacking Kuwait so we could move more
forcefully into the region. Look up the name "April Glaspie"
(ex-ambassador to Iraq) for more info on that. Then we went over to
Somolia and straight-up got our asses kicked, in another Special Forces
disaster. I don't think they'll be releasing "Blackhawk Down" anytime
soon! These are the same Special Forces we say are going to hunt down
Osama--but we can't even hunt down Eric Rudolph (accused Olympic
bomber) in our own country. Serbia? Harder to say but if we really gave a
shit about those people why didn't we put a stop to it sooner, like for
instance when the Serbs were slaughtering the 15,000 Muslims in Sebrenica?
The U.S. Military has been mis-used again and again--we send our shit all
over the world but we can't protect our own people. Our government seems
to think we can solve our problems by bombing them into submission. That
won't work this time. It's sad but true and also the last thing that most
people in the U.S. want to hear right now--we don't personify freedom, we
personify arrogance. Our muddled, oppressive, and economically driven
foreign policy is at the heart of why such a large percentage of the world
hates our fucking guts, and why a small percentage are willing to take it to
the devastating extremes we have seen.
I forgot my laptop!
Make no mistake. I know ITS WRONG to crash
airplanes into people who
never hurt you. These people are criminals and need to be treated as such.
But it's also wrong to impose sanctions on people that make it impossible
for them to feed their babies. That's what we've been doing in Iraq--U.N.
imposed sanctions have killed upwards of 200,000 children in that country,
according to Amnesty International.. You think Saddam is suffering
because of it? FUCK NO. He's in his air-conditioned bunker (that we built
for him) laughing his ass off. It's also wrong to evict people from their lands
by force and create new states against the will of the natives. I think any
freedom loving American would agree with me. I mean, we feel so bad
about what we did to the natives of this country--don't we? But that's what
we back when we back the Israelis. Because Israel was created by a U.N.
mandate with land taken from the Palestinians against their will. The
Israelis waged a terrorist campaign aginst the Palestinians and their U.N.
"protectors" (the British), blowing up lots of civilians in the process (looks
up "The King David Hotel Bombing" for more about the birth of Israel).
Now, nobody is going to make Israel leave the Middle East. They have a
right to a country, and they are very strong. But might does not make right.
Is it so hard to understand why Palestinians hate us when you see footage of
U.S. made helicopters gunning down children throwing rocks? We need a
more even-handed policy in this region, obviously. Both sides need a
homeland with safe borders. The international community helped create the
problem, so they should be partially responsible for a solution. It's also
wrong to pump military aid into a country just so we can fuck with the
Russians, totally destroy the place, and then just leave without any attempt
at helping get these people back on their feet. But that's what we did in
Afghanistan. As soon as the Russians were gone, so were we. No wonder the
Taliban took over. It's wrong to prop up deeply corrupt and oppressive
regimes for economic reasons. But that's what we do all the time, with the
spotlight on Saudi Arabia. Do you think those people have anything like a
democracy? If not then why do we have troops there? What are we
protecting? It's so fucking obvious--we protect our right to continue to
gluttonize and monopolize the region's oil. So we can continue to have a
shit-fit everytime the price of gas gets close to two dollars, so we can keep
driving our SUV's to work ALONE. In doing so, we have over 5000 troops
stationed on the same soil as the two holiest shrines of Islam--deeply
offending many in the Muslim world. If you were or are a Catholic, do you
think you'd like it if a Muslim army were camped outside the Vatican?
Don't think so! And finally there is this feeling of just total and complete
arrogance that we project to the entire world, not just the Muslim one. It's
wrong to rip up treaties that took years to write and billions of dollars (of
our money) to produce--treaties that are GOOD, designed to stop things
like global warming and inter-continental ballistic missiles (see the Kyoto
and START treaties). What the hell do we need Star Wars for when we can't
even stop our own planes? (why are we even debating--put anti-aircraft
units around our buildings, dams, and nuke plants NOW) These issues are
central to understanding the forces that oppose us. And when I say us, I
mean freedom loving people from all over the world, people who still
believe in the dream of America, "the melting pot" for the best and worst
qualities of an entire world. A lot of Muslims died on Sep.11th, and they
weren't all hijackers.
What color is this person (besides yellow-ochre)?
Most Americans can't tell the difference between
a Muslim and a Mexican
much less a Hindu. If indeed it was a radical Muslim group that was
responsible for these attacks I put them in the same category as I do the
sick fucks that blow up abortion clinics. They've twisted religion into a sick
brain-control device designed to make people kill each other. You cannot
blame Muslims and Islam in general for the actions of a radical splinter
So bearing these observations in mind, I
come to the only thing that makes
me doubt myself and my life-long condemnation of the idea of using war to
solve the hair-ific problems we humans rack up like some kind of
"how-not-to-live" shopping list. The thought that most compels me to war
is this- that even if we got our troops out of the Muslim holy lands, if we
took a more even-handed approach in Israel, even if we did all things these
guys wanted us to do it still wouldn't be enough. They are that in love with
the sick cult of death they have created that they will never give it up. The
only choice is to fight a war that brings these people to their knees. Bite the
bullet and pour our boys in there, life for life. Suck up a whole new series of
attacks upon U.S. home soil and prosecute this war with utmost savagery
until our enemies are no more. And then comes the hard part. After we
have wiped out all that oppose us, bring the people to their feet. After
World War II we stuck around, and today Germany and Japan are our
good buddies. The fighting was so unpleasant for both sides that we never
wanted to fight them again. So we cut them a good deal after it was all over.
Granted fear of Russia had a lot to do with it, but it was still a smart move
and one that we have yet to do with a huge part the Muslim world. Cut 'em
a deal, or as Don Rickles said in "Kelly's Heroes", a "deal deal". Let's
strive for a foreign policy based on humanity rather than economics. But
still I was torn on the choice between war and whatever alternative there
was to it-- and it certainly wasn't peace. I was hoping my visit to Ground
Zero would help me make up my mind.
Frodo and Sam enter Mordor through the pass of Cirith Ungol.
As we approached New York from the south a
feeling of dread was growing
over all of us. We hit the bloody mary mix in the back of Johnny
Chainsaw's truck. As usual, alcohol was my friend, the aspirin of choice.
We came in at mid-town and the first sign of the city I saw was the Empire
State, once again the Queen of the New York skyline. I hoped it would
survive the wrath to come, indeed the whole city seemed a potential
mass-grave. As we pulled into the loop before the Lincoln Tunnel, we saw
the lower Manhattan skyline for the first time since the attack. There was
just a gigantic void where the WTC had stood, and from this hellish maw a
mass of grey smoke billowed forth. I've seen the New York skyline dozens
of times, I've cursed and cried at it--but never has it chilled me so. You can
always get your bearings by looking towards the Twin Towers but try that
now. Not recognizing the New York skyline was a feeling most
disconcerting. After we loaded in, we set out on the walk towards Ground
Zero. I was amazed at how the city was functioning but could tell a general
pall hung over everybody. Every now and then we would get a whiff of the
rubble--the acrid stench of burnt plastic and pulverized wallboard. We
passed a fire station where almost the whole company had been wiped out. I
felt more numb than anything else--the feeling was totally alien to me. This
time, I was the target. I suppose I believed I was as invulnerable as anyone
else. I wanted to say something to the firefighters and cops I passed, but it
seemed pointless. And then there it was--the most monstrous and
tremendously compounded pile of death and debris that the devil himself
could devise, nestled in a valley of lashed and lacerated facades, emitting
fumes of hideous reek, a scene from hell in Downtown Manhattan. We
could only see a small portion, a slice that blocked the broad avenue three
blocks distant. It's catastrophe and carnage on a scale undreamed, misery
unimagined. If I was looking for some apocalyptic epiphany, I was not to
receive it. Indeed, as I gazed upon the rubble and the war-scarred facades of
what still stood, I could not help but think that despite our terrible thirst
for vengeance, our struggle to understand the calamity that has befallen us,
and our ageless desire to live in a world of peace, free from fear, that I still
didn't know if I could support this war or any other, whether it was in the
streets of the country I love or one that I had never seen. That was the
question that had been gnawing me, and I had come here to find an answer.
Could I support this war?
Our Government is far from perfect but we're
not the "Great Satan" either.
I don't care how bad we may have fucked-up overseas, we've done a lot of
good as well, and nobody deserves to be murdered like that. We have to do
what it takes to protect our people, first and foremost. They want to build
"Star Wars" but they can't stop our own planes. Tell us the truth! No
Anthrax in the U.S. in 30 years--and suddenly it's everywhere! Coincidence
my ass! Anti-Aircraft, sky marshalls, civil defense, human intelligence
instead of expensive toys--these things we need NOW. I feel good seeing
U.S. soldiers protecting the U.S., bring 'em on. We're not in danger of a
Nazi takeover. I just toured for a month, no problem! Lets pay these people
with whom we entrust our lives a little more than minimum wage. Throw in
some benefits, while you're at it. You get what you pay for. Of course we
have to apprehend those responsible, and that's going to mean a fight. But I
don't think a full-on war (un-declared, of course), is gonna do it! If
anything it's gonna hurt our chances of imposing any stability after the
shooting stops. If we fight, it must be a covert effort, with which we are
going to have to remind the entire world what a bunch of bad asses we
Americans really are, and not wage some bomb 'em from a million miles
away conflict that ends up with more people hating us than the ones we
killed (oh, that's why). If they won't give up then we must fight a real
stick-a-bayonet-in-the-guts until they are all dead war, sucking up casualties
all they while. Again, they are criminals, murderers. Lockdown on them so
hard that even if we can't find them, they can't do business. And that means
everywhere--especially in our own country. Already I heard Bush distancing
himself from hinging success on whether we get Osama or not. BULLSHIT.
We have to get him or it will be Saddam all over again. And we won't get
him with missiles. And the sooner the better. The longer this thing drags on,
the worse it's gonna get. Our fragile coalition is already crumbling. I really
don't think we're going to win this one with aircraft carriers and cruise
missiles. It needs to be a secret struggle waged on a world-wide backdrop.
And more than anything we must not under-estimate our opponent. These
guys have shown us how deadly they can be. There's no reason to think they
have stopped. We've got to be ready for the worst. And then, most critically
and actually the hardest part--when we finally prevail, we must win the
peace to follow. To lose the peace is to have to fight the same war over
again at a later date. Don't leave the country in ruins and just leave, get
them on their feet. Make friends, make a deal that's good for all concerned.
If it takes a while then stick with it. We have enough stuff, we can afford to
be a little leaner. Hell, we need to be lean, more the wolf and less the big fat
pig everybody sees us as. Turn the critical eye on ourselves in a illuminating
and painful self-examination. Meet with all the world and hear their
complaints. Understand their grievances--what do we really gain by pissing
the whole world off on a perpetual basis? Re-work our policy and don't be
afraid to admit our follies. Our image to the world, but more importantly
the substance beneath that image, needs some serious work. Less
"Globo-Cop" and more compassion and patience. Cease our endless
military expansion. End our reliance on fossil fuels. They used to talk about
it all the time, now you barely hear about it! There's a million things we can
do to make them love us and that's the best way to make someone stop
killing you. Then and only then do we have a chance to make this world the
kind of place we can be a proud and conscientious member of. The
alternative is continual warfare until eventual apocalypse, a life doomed.
There are nukes right next door to Afghanistan so you better believe it. To
our government--DON"T FUCK AROUND WITH OUR LIVES--GET THE
PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS AND THEN NEGOTIATE A
LASTING PEACE. Failing at either end will perpetuate the cycle of violence
that we now have a chance to break. If nothing else this disaster has paved
the way for a strong U.S. reaction. Let's just hope it's a wise one a well.
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