Camouflage. Boots. Automatic weapons. Real Vietnam stuff: spooky fetid atmosphere; scared, bored troops who don’t really know why they’re there in that hellish jungle. Fat commanding officers, confident in overwhelming victory, hitting on female troops. A stressed-out populace, hoping to get where they’re going with as little hassle as an occupied people can get away with.
But this ain’t Vietnam, it’s Times Square Station.
Yeah, yeah: support “our” troops. Support ‘em in Afghanistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Japan, Europe, Greenland, Timbuktu, Atlantis, Mars. Support ‘em anywhere you want except New York City.
If you think I’m gonna smile like a just-pissed-my-pants Democrat and welcome an invading army, you’re as dumb as Dubya thinks you are. As dumb as he thought Afghans and Iraqis were – boy is he learning different. Bring the boys and girls back home; let them enjoy healthy, happy, peaceful lives – far away from me. Troops who are originally from NYC should be sent somewhere else…I dunno… Fort Munchaussen or the next pipsqueak axis of evil Terrorist State of the Month they can conquer without too much risk of personal injury. I don’t care. Just get ’em out of Port Authority and Times Square Station and god knows where else in the Big Rotting Apple they’re squirreled away.
What happened to Posse Comitatus or Habeas Corpus (more on that later) or all those other Latinate terms no one seems to care about anymore (with the possible exception of those with bank vaults full of E. Pluribus Unum).
This is no joke. Kids not old enough to shave or buy a drink or a pack of smokes (the legal kind), toting M16s in the subways and bus terminals, hobnobbing with middle-aged cops. Young Black and Hispanic and lower class white kids defending rich old white men’s rights to conduct business as usual and scaring the daylights outta everyone else. Makes you want to go to a bar and smoke a cigarette and talk to a fellow New Yorker in low tones, exchange furtive glances, flash secret signs of rebellion. But you can’t smoke a cigarette in a bar cause this is New York, the city that won’t wake up.
That whole “nothing phases New Yorkers” thing has been perverted by the man to his advantage. If you’re not phased by a dozen young men and women with automatic rifles hanging out in the places you travel through every day, have been traveling through since childhood, you’re not a hip, jaded New Yorker, you’re a brain-dead Zombie.
Now, I like to think of myself as goofy and degenerate as any other American. When “my” President says to go shopping while the hyper-armed U.S. military wipes out some poor, bedraggled, hopelessly out-gunned nation, why, I go shopping. Or, to paraphrase that great patriot, Oliver North, if my President tells me to stand on my head in the corner and have myself an inverted wank while the Bush twins explore each others’ sexuality, hell, I’ll do it. But I’ll be damned if I’ll tolerate soldiers in Times Square.
And I have nothing against the soldiers themselves. They look scared outta their minds down there in the subway, the old cops proud to be able to distribute donuts and wisdom to fellow uniformed protectors of the piece. Blacks, Hispanics, corn-fed Caucasian country kids. All the cannon fodder who would be in school or employed in a real country, or in jail or guarding the jails in ours. Fortunately, we have a big old military and lots and lots of enemies to give these kids something to do. But not in New York City.
I would think that any “terrorist” worth his salt would come up with something a bit more creative than trying to hit a place with swarming with cops and armed soldiers, so if one place is “safe” god knows how many others are potential targets. Do we need a commando in every household, and a chicken in every pot to feed him?
On the other hand, with all the noise and confusion down there boggling the minds of our brave boys and girls in uniform, I doubt it would be too hard for a guy with a suitcase full of god-knows-what to set it off right where the soldiers stood.
Regardless, if there really are terrorists plotting to mess up NYC and this is not simply a device for the Bush Administration to introduce yet more authority into our lives, I guess I’d rather take my chances with a pistol and my own paranoid eyes and ears than be terrorized daily by “our” troops. It’s bad enough to have a standing army of 40,000 of New York’s Finest handing out tickets for cigarette smoking, sitting on milk crates without a license or having too many words or letters in a deli sign advertising lunch specials. Now we gotta deal with the fucking army?
Well, my priorities have sure changed. You don’t see many Palestinians in occupied West Bank and Gaza marching to get China outta Tibet. They have immediate, pressing issues at home. So too does occupied New York.
Sure, we gotta stop the U.S. military machine from taking over foreign countries; we have to find out why there are so many, mostly dark-skinned, inmates of U.S. prisons and what, if anything, most of them actually did (smoke a joint? think about smoking a joint?). There are nearly a thousand prisoners in Guantanamo Bay being held without trial or even that war prisoner Geneva Convention protocol. When they were Germans and Italians and Japanese, way back when, they were called POWs. Them being Afghans and all, we tag them “terrorists” and strip them of what were once known as Human Rights.
We have to face the fact that Muslim – again dark skinned – Americans and foreign visitors have been taken away and held indefinitely, without habeas corpus, and demand from the “authorities” what they are charged with, not to mention the several thousand more Muslims who were forced to register with the government in the greatest Federal outrage against civil liberties since the Japanese internment camps.
We have to find out what really happened on Sept. 11 and why the government refuses to hold an open trial and get to the bottom of this monstrous event (could it be that, like OJ, the feds are too busy looking for the “real” killers to answer key questions?). We have to feed, cloth and educate our children, heal our sick, provide for our elderly and – oh, that’s right. We’re in America. Whatta my talking that socialist crap? Well, forget about the children and other vulnerable members of society – let’s stick to the foreign invasion of New York City. The Occupation of Manhattan.
Reality begins at home. Before we attack these other issues we must get the U.S. Military out of NYC, and whatever other cities in which troops are stationed. Disney and Warner Brothers in Times Square was bad enough.
Yanqui go home!
Adam Engel, a Manhattan refugee, has fled to the safety of New Jersey. He hopes one day to return to his Homeland. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This article originally appeared on counterpunch.org.