If President Obama plans to keep 50,000 U.S. troops in Iraq indefinitely after 2010, why doesn’t he just annex Iraq as the 51st State now?
Iraqis would have our solemn promise we will never again lay their country to waste and we would work out a deal so that their motorists could have any oil that’s left over after we’ve helped ourselves.
What’s in it for the Iraqis is that they would be free to travel to the U.S. if they wanted to enjoy the benefits of electricity or take a hot shower, or send their kids to a schoolhouse with a roof. They might even enjoy viewing some of their precious national artifacts disappeared from their museums in 2003 during the initial visit by George W. Bush’s American Helpers and Haulers (Say “Ah-h!”).
At the same time, we would change the name of our country to represent more nearly what it has actually become: The United States of Oil Gobblers, a.k.a. USOG, and Iraq would be a proud member-state whose two senators would be allowed — in a generous show of tolerance on our part — to put their hands on the Koran when they take the oath of office. (See, we have nothing against Muslims, as long as they don’t sit on the oil barrels.)
Of course, we’d have to make some cosmetic changes to the American flag. The easiest way to symbolize Iraq on Old Glory would be to expand the rectangle of stars in the upper left hand corner to add one oil can, which is the reason for U.S. interest in Iraq to begin with. By itself, one oil can might look funny. But as the Pentagon subdues one Middle East country after the other — Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, you name it — a new oil can would be added so Iraq’s symbol wouldn’t stick out like a sore dipstick. In a few short years, it would all add up to a major oil change.
While it’s true Iraq is a long way from the U.S. mainland, so is Hawaii, which we also arranged to take over many pineapples ago. Now we could also incorporate Okinawa, an island which we wrested from Japan in 1945 and whose climate is a lot like Miami Beach, USA. The given reason for not vacating that island paradise despite some nasty requests to do so from its former owners, is because we need to be there to protect Japan — exactly from whom I forget, just as the Japanese have forgotten, but no matter.
The real reason we’re in Okinawa is because the more luxury high rises that go up on Miami’s South Beach the harder it is to find a parking space on Ocean Drive. So, according to my own survey, 74% of Miami realtors, faced with a depressed housing market, now view Okinawa as a Pacific extension of South Beach, only with ample parking. (Do not ask me how I arrived at that figure; it’s classified in the interests of national security.)
To make it all legit, Congress should pass the Imperial Act, stating that any country occupied for more than 60 years by U.S. forces, such as Okinawa, and whose basic reasons for occupation have been forgotten, automatically becomes part of USOG. Probably quite a few of the countries that house our 1,000 military bases around the world would apply, if only so their shoppers could become our citizens and get at those PX bargains.
All of which brings us to Afghanistan, which President Obama is getting us deeper into, rather than higher out of, every day, making a pretty good case for so-you-might-as-well-annex. Since Afghanistan has vastly increased its poppy crop under U.S. instruction, er, occupation, its symbol on our flag would be the lovely poppy. Me, myself, and I, I still like George Washington’s original flag with the 13 white stars on a sky blue field. Still, maybe I could squeeze the juice out of some of those Afghan poppies and smoke the same stuff the Members In Good Standing of the Military-Industrial Complex are passing around. That way, I could get used to an American flag with oil cans, palm trees and poppies, not just a bunch of stupid stars. Who knows, I might get to enjoy imperialism, killing and all.
Besides, if I commit a war crime in the Middle East, I’m sure to be Exxonerated.
Sherwood Ross is a veteran reporter and public relations consultant. He formerly worked for the City News Bureau of Chicago, the Chicago Daily News, and as a columnist for wire firstname.lastname@example.org)