Friday, July 25, 2008

Building a better world through plastic

Dear George,

Technology is a thing of beauty. It soars with the angels as it lifts us up towards a golden age of peace and prosperity. Gone are the days when democracy and freedom were spread by an unruly mob. Today, the process has been sped up and sanitized. A backward country can now be freed in a decade or two, depending upon the thickness of the quagmire involved.

One would be hard pressed to name the innovation most responsible for democracy’s ascendancy. But if I had to pick one, it would have to be the invention of plastic shrapnel. What a shining example of American ingenuity! How much more secure the world is because of it.

The most efficient weapons maim. A carcass bears silent witness and is easily ignored. A maimed man, on the other hand, screams his fear and his agony into the hearts of his comrades. Our M-14 antipersonnel mine, no bigger than a marshmallow, makes very efficient use of plastic shrapnel and was deliberately designed to maim and not to kill.

Not only do you want to maim; you also want to keep the wounded from healing. Here’s where plastic shrapnel really shines. The big disadvantage of the old fashioned metal shrapnel was that X-ray could detect it, thus facilitating its removal, which allowed the wounded to return to action. Plastic shrapnel can’t be detected. Thus, it can’t be removed. The lifetime of pain the poor unfortunate suffers is an object lesson for others on the futility of resisting the greatest power on earth.

But there’s more! Plastic shrapnel is an effective propaganda tools in the war to spread democracy. It is most effective when it is splattered all over children. Their anguished screams are a warning to all who would impede democracy’s inevitable triumph. Their disfigurement is proof of the supremacy of the American Way; their scars proclaim our righteousness.

If we are to bring peace on earth and goodwill to men, we must be a tough country. We must not flinch from inflicting pain, and we must find meaning in the suffering of children.

Did not our Lord command us to suffer the little children unto him?

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones


Anonymous said...

You know, I always look forward to your letters for the humor in them. It helps me make it through my days. But sometimes like today there is no humor just stark truth. You would think by now I would be immune to these little ghasty snippets of information but I'am not. If more people knew why and for what these destructive devices were made would they be aghast or are most people just immune. Oh well! happy Friday anyway.

Case Wagenvoord said...


The line that separates humor from tragedy is indeed a thin one.

Think of the marshmallow-size M-14 as a military s'more.

It is the serene barbarity of the civilized that builds empires.

Mark Prime (tpm/Confession Zero) said...

I tend to look at our current state as a Shakespearian tragi-comedy. You can laugh while you feel like you're being naughty for having laughed at such misery and you can also cry at the strangest moments, moments one would think would turn on the water works.

Ain't war and poverty and power and wealth a scream?