On the Sixth Day, he panicked…

What follows is a dramatic reconstruction of the events that happened in Heaven, on Day 6 of the Great Universe Build-off. God has just finished watching Match of The Day and is just finishing off a few odds and ends…

Right, what’s left to do? Oo, Korea. Right, there’s Korea, bit more of a bend in it…there! Right, stick it onto China…..rrrr, come on! Right, it’s hammer time! {BANG-BANG-BANG-SNAP!} Bugger. OK, North Korea and South Korea. That’s OK. Need to stick them together; there’s too many islands as it is, especially after I dropped Canada onto Greece. Shit, no glue left. What do we have? Oh well, landmines it is then. There…

Geologic faults. Best close my eyes for this one. {THUD-CRACK!} There! Wo, what are the chances. Those cities aren’t going to last long. Mind you, that may sort out the moral fibre issues. Thursday afternoon was not great.

Next…North Africa. I’ve wasted enough time on this already; I just can’t decide what to put there. Hmmm, all out of trees but I do have a big load of sand left. But every other land at that latitude is pretty green; it’ll look shoddy. Oh well, desert it is {SAND}.

Err… Greenland. I’ll just cover that in snow and ice {SNOW & ICE}; that’ll keep them guessing. And I’ll give it to…..this tiny flat country down with the guys with the pointy helmets. Give them somewhere to row to. Hope what’s left of Canada isn’t too much of a mess. I’ll just make it really cold like Greenland and no-one will go there.

Right, still lots of odds and ends in the animals parts bin. We have…..duck feet and bills…..dolphin tails….pouches…..a shitload of little furry bodies…..hippo faces…..long bones…..long spiral horns. Throw them in the air, where they land…{TOSS-SPLAT!}..huh! That…sorta works. A little rabbit-thing with duck bits and pockets. I’ll just put them down the bottom; maybe no-one will notice. Oops, the horns fell onto those whales…..dude, cool!

OK, a few minutes left. Let’s put some brown people over here in the white country and some white people in the brown country and we’ll just see who lasts longest. Just make sure that all the hotel room bedside tables have Bibles in them….Good.

Right, last but not least, the piece de resistance, Tolerance, Wisdom, Restraint, Respect; my finest creations. Without them, this world will be Hel…{BEEPETY-BEEP}..What’s that beeping? Oh shit, it’s Midnight! It’s Sunday! Fuck! The whole week out the window. Oh, Man!, these guys are so screwed!

Don’t underestimate the Commies!

The Red Peril is alive and well! And I’m not talking about the threat of nuclear annihilation from the East (or West, depending on where you live and about whom you think I’m talking). Some people might pour scorn on the ability of a communist country these days to field a workable nuclear arsenal. I am in no doubt, and I’ll tell you why.

Communists do processions like no one else. No one can get several thousand people to stand in big square, all wearing grey, wearing hats, waving The Little Red Book, chanting the same mantra and making sure they know the words quite like a Communist country. I bet we couldn’t do that in a Democracy (if such a thing exists). We couldn’t get several hundred thousand people to turn up in one place at the same time, wearing the same stuff, all with the same gear and all knowing the same words3.

Firstly, all you need is for one person to say “Make me!” and you’re buggered. “Aww, we’re not allowed to make you, it’s a democracy! You have to want to stand outside looking and sounding like everyone else.”

Next up, there is not one universal garment we all own. So, assuming we’d turn up at all, it would look shoddy, not nice and neat like a Communist parade. That’s the problem; give people a choice and they’ll all buy different stuff, which ruins the effect at mass rallies to praise the dear leader.

There is also the critical mass of people to consider. Put one hundred thousand Communists in a square and they’ll happily wave Little Red Flags all day because they’re not having to work twenty hours down t’ pit, or being shot. Put one hundred thousand capitalists in a square and tell them to wave a flag and it’ll kick off within thirty seconds.

It’s a logistics problem. Over here there would be problems at the Little Blue Flag factory and arguments in the tabloid press about the exact wording of the Party Song and the precise breakdown of minorities in the civilian ranks and how to make everyone look uniform when they aren’t. A democratic government just couldn’t put on as good a procession as communist one. There just aren’t words in North Korean for “health and safety” or “liability”.

So, checklist for really kick-ass parade;
1. Hundreds of thousands of civilians, wearing the same clothes, waving the same flag, moving and singing the same song in unison,
2. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers, goose-stepping really fast in unison,
3. Several Hundred gun-metal grey-green battle tanks1 trundling alongside, their gun barrels elevated just so,
4. Fly past of Eighties-vintage ex-Soviet gun-metal grey-green fighter-bombers strewn with missiles2.
5. Vast parade ground surrounded by monolithic state departments strewn with vast nationalistic flags.
6. Last, and most importantly, a balding, bespectacled pervert alcoholic, with the power to kill everyone who doesn’t wave in unison or know the words, to wave and smile.

All in all, if there was a World Championships for processions, and Communist countries attended, they would kick Yankee imperialist ass. And if they can out-procession us, who knows what else they can do…

1 Is there another kind of tank? “Where’s the ICBM?” “Over there behind the Notting Hill Carnival Peace and Love Tank.”
2 Why do Communist missiles always have twice as many fins on them than Democratic missiles? They do. You see them on the news; you can barely see the missile for fins. Maybe there’s a permanent shortage at the missile factory, while fin production proceeds on schedule, so they think “Fuck it, just stick them all on.”
3 The closest you’d get would be the final of the World Cup, but there would always be at least two colours and two versions of the words.

Veiled Threat?

I don’t pretend to understand why some Muslin women wear veils and to be perfectly honest I don’t want to. I find that if things have to be explained to me then I’m not going to understand the reasoning. Any reason I am given, though no doubt logical and obvious to the person giving it, will not necessarily make me go “Ahhhh, I see. Well, that’s OK then.”

All I need to do to is accept that, for whatever reason, some people in this country choose to wear a different style of dress to me1. Why should Muslim women wearing a veil be any different to a youth wearing a hooded top? Why should either of these groups be any more dangerous than someone whose face is unobscured?

The only reason the discussion about veils and hooded tops is even an issue is because of the scare tactics we’ve borrowed from the Americans. If you can’t identify someone, you can’t track their movements. The quote I keep coming back to is “You can make people do anything if they’re scared enough”. To be honest, when it comes to obscuring identity, I’m considerably more worried about the ne’er-do-wells who don’t care if you see their face.

What’s the next step? Banning all loose fitting garments; overcoats, skirts, jackets, because you could be hiding a bomb? Banning clothing altogether because it is possible to incorporate explosives into the garment? Will there come a time where we are all forced to wear government-mandated unitards, colour-coded to identify our race? There’s a fucking scary thought… What about facial hair? Will you be forced to shave every day because you can hide your true appearance under a beard?

Surely veils and such like can be classed as National dress? Are they going to ban all forms of national dress just because of the connotations? They banned kilts back in the day, so I wouldn’t put it past them. It comes down to what we associate clothes with. Tie = office worker, Jeans / No belt = construction worker, wetsuit = Tory MP, etc. All this bollocks does is forever link the veil / burka / etc with the idea of female suicide bombers.

The veils thing is all window-dressing anyway; it’s just fog obscuring The Real Issue; that which is really at stake here. Society. The notion of different peoples living togther in peace, sharing their culture and ideas. Britain The Island is historically anti this sort of thing, because in the past, cultural exchange meant dropping bombs on each other. The fear of foreign influence is so ingrained it will not go away overnight.

The solution? Accept it. Accept that we don’t understand, accept that different is not necessarily bad, accept that it will take time, accept that not everyone means you harm, accept the new blood into our Society and realise that we are stronger because of it. Take action. Do nothing.

1 Being a Scot, I am accustomed to wearing “a different style of dress”, not that the kilt is a dress, you understand…

Talks: All mouth and no exploding trousers.

Talks. Only politicians and diplomats can have Talks. Everyone else has conversations, chats, arguments, gossips, you name it, they do it. But they never Talk, oh no.

There are other things that politicians and diplomats do that involves talking, but they’re not Talks. Conferences are where they talk to their people and their people can stand up and clap and go “Bravo, you’re a stand up guy!”. Summits1 are where all the leaders get together in a locked room, drink brandy, tell knock-knock jokes and make fun of the President of Guatemala whose wig isn’t on straight. Meetings are where they get together their closest people and decide who gets to go on Paxman and draw straws to see who gets fired for this weeks balls-up.

Talks are where they get everyone in a big round room and sit them round a big round table with headphones on while all their minions run about in the background carrying bits of paper from one the President of Uzbekistan to the Prime Minister of Kenya asking “Have you got a mint?”.

One by one, they all get up in front of a microphone and;
1/ If they’re from South-somewhere-or-other, they make loud, angry statements about the First World bastards and all their evil doings,
2/ If they’re from East-somewhere-else, they make cryptic, veiled threats about the intrusion of the First World gaijin bastards into their back-yard nuclear programmes, because they didn’t sign any non-proliferation treaty and, besides, you guys don’t hold to your agreements anyway, so why should we? Hello, Kyoto? The UN?,
3/ If they’re from Middle-somewhere, they decry the validity of the talks, their infidel First World bastard hosts and their oil-grabbing-poorly-disguised-as-nation-building foreign policy,
3/ If they’re First World bastards, they roll their eyes and make placating statements about striving for peace and protecting their way of life.

All this is then relayed, via interpreters, into the headphones of all the people who don’t speak Kreplakistani. Basically, the single Kreplakistani interpreter could say anything he likes because no-one can call him on it. That’s why, when Talks are televised, the people with the headphones on are all smiling while the guy with the microphone is all red and shouty; the interpreter is telling them the joke he heard from the Kreplakistani ambassador about the Swedish flight attendant and the ping pong ball.

So they all come out much later on and are collared by reporters who ask how the Talks are going, to which they reply that progress is being made and that it’s a difficult process. “Progress” means that each hour they sit there is an hour nearer the end of the talks and “Difficult” means that each hour they sit there is another hour they won’t get back.

Then they all climb into black S-class Mercedes and are ferried back to their embassies, official residences or high-class knocking shops around the corner where the South-somewhere and East-somewhere types can get their freak on. What goes on tour, stays on tour.

At the end of it all, nothing is resolved, everyones prejudicies have been confirmed, thousands of litres of Evian have been quaffed, many knock-knock jokes told, many S-classes soiled by twice, maybe three times as many oiled-up escort girls, opinions have been voiced, grievances aired, canapes scoffed, hands shaken, toupees glued and hotels secured.

Everyone goes back to their stomping ground and, having wined, dined and soixante-neufed anthing that wasn’t nailed down while away, they then proceed to pee on the media fires that their absence has generated.

Who’d be a politiplomat, eh?

1 Why are these never held on top of mountains?

Precision Munitions vs Dirty Bombs

Progress. The only positive byproduct of human existence beyond basic procreation. The Number One Catalyst? War. War has been, and probably is, the biggest driver for technological innovation ever. Most advancements have been directly or indirectly involved in ending lives as efficiently as possible, or preventing it from happening.

America spends God-knows how much on Defence each year. Their prototypes are an estimated ten to fifteen years ahead technologically of anything in service today. Think about the state of your household tech in the Eighties compared to now and imagine how gucci their kit is now.

The sad thing, leaving aside the necessity of having to have weapons in the first place, is that the effectiveness of a weapon has NOTHING to do with technology. You could invent a time machine, go forward to the point just before weapons are abolished, buy the most advanced weapon available, bring it back, and it can be rendered completely useless by the lack of the will to employ it (ignoring the possibility of it ceasing to exist, depending on your understanding of the joys of time travel).

First World society has evolved to the point where “jetting off to a foreign land to go and kill the yellow man” does just not cut it with the folks with the votes. So all this expenditure on clever bullets and so forth is kinda pointless. America knows this only too well. After Vietnam, it knows that wars are won at home, with the hearts and minds of the people who pay for it. Get the public onside and you can do anything. Hell, you can ignore the UN if you feel like it.

And all these technological advances are designed to combat any enemy that does not exist. For example, designing bullets that can penetrate ceramic armour which they only invented themselves last week and which no-one else has had a chance to buy / steal yet. Basically, they’re designing weapons to fight other First World powers, of which there aren’t any, at least not militarily.

The enemies of the First World are not kevlar-clad laser-guided super-soldiers with an IQ of 120 and a Masters in International Relations, toting 200 IQ points worth of processing power in their fanny packs. They are barely-educated, poorly fed tribespeople with Religion at their side and an AK on their back who are pissed that some foreign infidel has deemed their way of life to be a threat.

The mere act of attacking first-generation enemies with fifth-generation weapons inevitably means that the tech-level of your enemy is increased, because, like Star Wars, the designers never envisage the possibility that a guy with a rifle could possibly shoot one bullet down a small tube and make the whole thing go boom, and everything that didn’t go boom can and will be used against you in a warzone near you soon.

Take Afghanistan; the only instance of a country bombed forward into the Stone Age. Even before George’s “Global War on Terror” tour hit town, they had been fighting the Russians not that long before, using weapons supplied to them by the CIA and bits and pieces of busted Hind helicopters.

If the recent history of warfare is anything to go by, fighting fire with fuel-air explosives ends in defeat. Trying to kill a guy in a cave in Afghanistan by carpet bombing him with B-52s has been probably been as successful as it was when they carpet bombed guys in black pajamas in the South East Asian jungle. Although I haven’t checked with Sun Tzu on this, there must come a time where the level of force is so disproportionate that it ceases to be effective. Laser-Guided Smart Bomb + Politics = Pointy Stick.

Think of it like trying to kill a fly with the World’s Biggest Fly Swatter. Because it’s the World’s Biggest, the fly is small enough to fit through the gaps unscathed.
Or trying to shoot down a WW1 fighter with a F-15. Even if radar would pick him up, the guy would be on the ground enjoying an espresso before the Eagle Driver had gained enough space to turn around, lock on and fire before overshooting.

So if you want to defeat a low-tech enemy, you have to get low-tech, or try to employ your high-tech in a low-tech way, if your morals or political will can handle it. If you have to fight, you’ve already lost. But if you want to fight and can’t, you shouldn’t even play the game.