“Actively working to bring the hope of democracy, free markets, and free trade to every corner of the world.”—from the National Security Strategy of the United States

What happened?
(Inspired by Shane Kosakowksi of Bathtub Goulash)

Remember when America was the coolest kid in class?

He had the bomb Jeep with the sweet stereo, started on three varsity teams and was always throwing crazy-ass keg parties at his parents’ house when they were away. Even when Russia and Cuba got way liquored up and sprayed WD40 in his mom’s fish tank, America didn’t trip. He just shrugged it off, smoked a blunt with Panama and Greece, then scored late night with Mexico’s ex-girlfriend, who was totally on the rebound. America was chill like that.

Pretty much all the ladies dug America, even the ones he openly dissed. Japan and France were always asking for help on their homework. They liked America because he had a killer smile and said hi even to the poor Latin American kids who wore ill-fitting, thrift-store clothes to school and smelled like dirty concrete and urine. America was righteous, for a spoiled, rich kid.

Then, during junior year, America started to believe the hype and act like everything revolved around him. He sold bunk E to Brazil and Colombia that made them totally sick, cheated on Bolivia, got a hard-on for this little kid, Iraq.

America started getting drunk and picking fights. He beat Iraq’s ass in front of his entire family, twice. By now, America had a potbelly and some lame tattoos, wore wife beaters, played shitty rap music too loud—was always tailgating and yelling from his Jeep at the Middle East. Everyone started to think America was an asshole. Then word got around that he and his creep buddy England were date-raping Arab chicks after putting GHB in their drinks.

That’s when some brothers of the victims got together and decided to really hurt America—even if it hurt them. You won’t believe what they did next.

“Adding to the fraudulence of the weapons not found, the Stalingrads that didn’t occur, the artillery defenses that never happened, I wouldn’t be surprised if Saddam disappeared suddenly because a deal was made in Moscow to let him, his family, and his money leave in return for the country. The war had gone badly for the U.S. in the south, and Bush couldn’t risk the same in Baghdad. On 6 April, a Russian convoy leaving Iraq was bombed; Condi Rice appeared in Russia on 7 April; Baghdad fell 9 April.

“Nevertheless, Americans have been cheated, Iraqis have suffered impossibly and Bush looks like a cowboy. On matters of the gravest importance, constitutional principles have been violated and the electorate lied to. We are the ones who must have our democracy back.”

—Edward Said, Professor of Comparative Literature at Columbia University

Weekly props
1. Harper’s May issue cover story, “Economics of Empire”

2. Arundhati Roy’s War Talk essays

3. Coach Maurice Cheeks helping 13-year old Natalie Gilbert sing the national anthem when she forgot the words before the Portland/Dallas game

5. I am Trying to Break Your Heart, Wilco DVD