Saturday, September 19, 2009

Don't get my Goat

The Men who Stare at Goats. I can't believe I missed this book when it first came out and it took the making of a movie to clue me in. All the wacky things the good old military industrial complex does in the name of national security. (The title refers to the men undergoing paranormal training of intelligence operatives. They worked at stopping a goat's heart with the evil eye, presumably to make the world free for god and country. Sayonara, Comrade Billy.)

I'll put this on the bookshelf next to The Pentagon Wars, filed under Government Waste. Almost makes me start thinking like a 'no government' Republican. I am a libertarian (small 'l') and a social activist liberal, so there's a constant inner tension between these two sides of my nature. And this complete waste of tax dollars rattles my riddle as much as it would any fiscal conservative. But then I come to my senses and realize much of this wackiness is perpetrated by private contractors on the government teet and that the sector of government this invariably crawls out from is the one department my friends on the right don't want to trim down (in fact they consider it untouchable for the most part, unless it's being expanded and fattened).

You won't find the National Endowment for the Arts funding goat-staring contests or spending months gathering "sheep specs" from the Office of Ruminant Procurement just to test the safety of a troop transport vehicle under live fire ("Do we put long haired sheep in the vehicle, short haired sheep? We have to do extensive research on this!") And those are just the stories that have leaked out - god knows the craziness kept under wraps.

And meanwhile our country is up in arms about a government healthcare option?!? At least that's fairly straightforward stuff. Out in the open.

The sky's the limit in this regard. I mean, if we can elect a perennially underachieving frat boy with delusions of an immanent end-of-days to two terms as president, knowing the only thing standing between this dim wit and the apocalypse he believed in his heart was inevitable was a rag-tag band of evil fixers, henchmen and fellow true-believer loons - well, then I guess anything's possible. The land of hope and dreams, for sure.

As a 'wise' man once said, "Is it Safe?"

Ask the gang at the DoD petting zoo next time you visit, I imagine they'll have quite a discomforting answer for you.

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