Juggernaut George – The Progressive, 5/30/2002

When old Juggernaut George read to us that the increased border security would help the war on drugs, the anthrax scare would improve our healthcare system and increased surveillance would make people dress nicer in public, I saw my opportunity. Since then I have been following all the exciting new war technologies and am so looking forward to their peacetime, if there ever is such a thing again in my lifetime, use.

On many Internet search engines, there is a rich literature of breathless stories of the conversion of war technologies into peacetime doohickeys. Of course, we would not even have an Internet if it weren’t for the MIT engineers hired by the Pentenron to improve their communication system, AKA espionage. The wonders of Mapquest, a miracle for the directionally challenged like myself, are possible because of all the spy satellites beaming out global positioning system coordinates. I never get lost, but I often have the creepy feeling I’m being followed. Night vision goggles from George 43’s Persian Gulf War are now widely used to hunt deer at night. And where would fashion be without the new beige camouflage?

Already we see some Operation Enduring Freedom, [new sanitary pad? military operation? you be the judge] technological advances creeping into daily use. Stealth bombs, whose major charm was that they destroy people and leave buildings standing, have yet to achieve their full utility among landlords and Scud missiles turned out to be as accurate as a Chuck Knoblach throw, but I see big promise with the new nuclear cave cleaners. Isn’t it ironic that when we have weapons of mass destruction they’re called nuclear, but when someone else has nuclear weapons they’re weapons of mass destruction? Heck, put away your Mr. Clean, and cancel your cleaning lady, with just a thimbleful, spring cleaning is a thing of the past. Actually, if you use too much, spring is a thing of the past. And careful of those earthquakes!

Robot drones – it looks like Robert Dornan, but it’s not – are the latest rage in unmanned aircraft. The robots do the dull and dangerous work that no one else wants to do. Like war. They are being quickly adapted for civilian use. Robo-accountants. Robo-security personnel. Someone should measure the level of human boredom in airports; it is dangerously toxic. Robot-droning TV personalities. Why do I feel like I’m drowning in a bucket of warm smarm whenever CNN’s Aaron Brown assures me of something? Robo-Rome spokesmen condescendingly explain that we don’t know what celibacy is. No, Clothman, you don’t know what celibacy is.

The color scheme from Homeland “Security” Tom Ridge, the Roy G. Biv of terror, has lots of peacetime uses. Martha Stewart and Ralph Lauren are already spinning their color wheels, relieved to be released from all that red, white and blue. I’m concerned average citizens are without a proper mnemonic device to remember the pigment levels of alert under stress. It’s Green, Blue, Yellow, Orange, Red or GBYOR. Try these: Gore’s beard, yesterday’s old ruse. George Bush, you’re over reacting. Grim, bummer, yikes, oy, run!

Now I look at ordinary products and try to guess which military use it served. The new Listerine Oral Tabs are tiny but powerful strips of green which melt Listerine on your tongue. I was unaware that people were having such a hard time getting mouthwash to their mouths. The new delivery system comes in green packaging with a half life of about a billion years and should start washing up on beaches sometime this summer perfectly complimenting those pastel pink plastic tampon holders. I’m thinking the product was developed for HUMINT ground troops who needed to destroy information quickly and also needed to fend off the common cold in those Afghan winters. They feel fabulous trying to find Osama Bin Laden, and all the while, their breath smells minty fresh.

Kate “Please don’t call me a cockeyed optimist” Clinton