I use hands to help my fellow man / I use hands to help with what I can / But when I face an unjust injury / Then I change my hand into FIST OF FURY

FBI takes advantage, To Afghanistan and Back by Ted Rall

Man I can’t believe this shit. I was too slow to see it coming. When FBI people right and left were coming forward to admit they blew it in regards to this whole September 11th deal, who woulda thought they would use it to their own advantage? Yeah, we knew alot of things, we didn’t do shit, 3,000 people died. The only way we can prevent this from happening again is if we get rid of all those stupid “don’t spy on your own people” and “probable cause” rules.

If you step back and take a look at it, you see that there is no logic in this. They had information that they refused to act on (whether out of incompetence, laziness, or pressure not to screw up the pipeline negotiations with the Taliban – take your pick) – so the way to fix this problem is to get more information to not act on? It makes about as much sense as the sport “rollerball” in the movie Rollerball (2002).

Is anyone else sick of being asked to swallow this kind of Alice in Wonderland logic – and then watching tv and seeing the fake journalists pretend to actually do it? We must take away your freedom to protect freedom. We must install more zealots in Afghanistan to promote democracy throughout the world. Practicing the democratic process is anti-american. Investigating what happened on September 11th would interfere with stopping terrorism. History’s most brutal and expensive military couldn’t stop 19 dudes with knives from killing 3,000 people, so we need to have a MORE brutal and expensive military. I don’t like the taste of shit, so instead I am going to put this shit in my mouth.

I gotta repeat my request from the last column, friends. Don’t let this shit go. Don’t forget about it. Don’t stop talking about it.

The reason I’m Writing another column so soon is to recommend a really spectacular book I read this week. That’s right, I said I read a BOOK. And it wasn’t even by Iceberg Slim or Chopper. Admittedly, it had alot of pictures.

In fact, that’s one reason I think many members of my internet movie community type audience will be interested: all you fuckers read comic books. You wouldn’t be able to tell by the dull blue, hardbound cover, by Ted Rall’s To Afghanistan and Back is a comic book, or a “graphic novel” as some people call them in order to pretend they are real literature for adults. Or “graphic travelogue” it says on the cover for this one.

This book really blew me away, and I vowed that I would recommend it to everybody I knew. But most of the drunks on the bus didn’t seem interested so I thought I’d tell all my friends out there in “cyberworld” or whatever it was they used to call the whole internet deal.

What it is, Ted Rall is some editorial cartoonist who decided to go to Afghanistan during the recent war. He lived with the journalists, saw alot of bombing, got robbed blind by the locals, grew many strange rashes and could’ve been killed (as some of his fellow journalists did). The book is a real quick read, beginning and ending with several essays and articles about his experiences, but the meat of it is the story of his trip in the form of cartoon drawings and boxes, or whatever. Just to warn you there are no muscles or super powers in this book, it is just a dude with little dots for eyes trying to find out the truth about the war.

Now you would definitely have to say Mr. Rall comes down as against the war (that’s why Bill Maher calls him an “anti-american pinko” in the introduction). But I think even people who, insanely, are in favor of war would be interested in the story he has to tell. It kind of reminded me of THREE KINGS in the way it depicted the surreal side of living in a war-zone that you don’t usually hear about it. It’s also interesting to see the story of what the journalists go through. They end up spending hundreds of dollars for short cab rides (which they all blame on CNN for having done it first). They get casual about enduring constant bombing, since hearing loud explosions off in the distance doesn’t seem very personal. They actually get bored. But they oughta be afraid. Some of them are robbed and killed by Northern Alliance soldiers (the good guys) and both the US and the Northern Alliance (the good guys) have a policy of not helping any journalists.

Of course, Mr. Rall counters alot of the propaganda we heard. He says that the air force was definitely bombing everybody and everything, not just looking for military targets like they claimed. He explains clearly why we didn’t win (and not just because the one guy we were supposedly after got away). He says that he never once saw one of the yellow food packages we were supposedly dropping. He explains how and why the guys replacing the Taliban are literally the same exact guys as before. He even brings up alot of weird details I never heard before, like most Afghanis believed bin Laden crossed the border early on with the help of the CIA.

This is a must read book for all americans. Please buy it or check it out from your local library, and if you like it as much as I did please spread the word.

You can buy it directly from the publisher, or check out their sample pages if you’re not convinced. Or go ahead and buy it from The Man to make it clear that there is money to be made in tellin it like it is. (At least, for people besides me.)

If we’re ever gonna get our country back, it’ll take a strong cultural battle, and I think one baby step we can take now is to support art that counters the Fox News version of what’s going on. To Afghanistan and Back is the best I’ve found so far but I’d also suggest a CD called The Big Ka-Boom, Part One by a young man named Jello Biafra. (Must’ve had hippie parents.) It’s just a 34 minute talk about why war only makes terrorism worse. People who have done alot of reading on the topic won’t find much new on the CD but it’s worth buying just for the huge foldout collage inside, made out of pieces of magazines and newspapers with occasional inappropriate clipart. The thing is double sided and hits on a number of important topics like america’s part in the previous destruction of Afghanistan, Bush’s business link to bin Laden, dependence on oil, why invading Iraq would fuck us over royally, etc. It would probaly just piss me off but they also included alot of darkly humorous clippings and slogans like “Support the Northern Alliance: Shoot Up More Often.” I hope teenagers are getting this collage, sneaking copies in the teacher’s lounge, passing it around.

Before I close out I’d just like to comment briefly on the MTV MOVIE AWARDS because that had one of the most fucked up moments I’ve ever seen. I mean sure it was nice to see a couple old guys getting nominated for awards, like Christopher Lee and Ian Mackellan’s fight in LORDS OF THE RING. But there was a moment when Michael Bay, notorious creator of the Michael Bay style of movie, accepted an award. As if that in itself wasn’t appalling enough the man actually dedicated the award to “the 3,000 people who died at Pearl Harbor.”

Michael Bayyyyy… this is the ghosts of the 3,000 people who were killed at Pearl Harbor speaking… we have a message for you… we are very honored to share your MTV MOVIE AWARD that you got for BEST ACTION SEQUENCE. That took real class for you to dedicate your award to us. Let us reiterate that it was an MTV MOVIE AWARD for BEST ACTION SEQUENCE that you won for depicting OUR DEATHS. Thankssssss Michael…

thanks everybody,

Vern

suggested reading:

A couple readers have sent this link, Bush 9/11 Scandal For Dummies. Some of the ideas may seem a little far fetched to some readers but it’s a real good summary of the whole mess.

Here’s a creepy one if you read between the lines a little. It connects the FBI to the notorious September 11th insider trading.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Friday, June 7th, 2002 at 4:15 pm and is filed under Vern Tells It Like It Is. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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