Monday, December 13, 2004

Revenge of the Soccer moms

Okay, why don’t we just surrender already?

For decades, the American military's war-fighting paradigm has been provided by football: the massing and coordinated movement of overwhelming force, replete with a playbook of long bombs, end runs, blitzes and, most explicitly, the ''Hail Mary'' maneuver that sealed General Schwarzkopf's victory against Iraq in 1991. But this year, American defense experts debated the heretical possibility that the United States armed forces could learn more from soccer than from the Super Bowl.

Late last year, The Armed Forces Journal published ''Football vs. Soccer: American Warfare in an Era of Unconventional Threats,'' an article by Joel Cassman, a career Foreign Service officer, and David Lai, a professor at the United States Air War College. Soccer, they wrote, is the model for unconventional forces like terrorist organizations and guerrilla insurgencies: like a soccer team, they use finesse, patience, surprise attack, improvisation and low technology and make a virtue out of decentralized control and execution. ''Contemporary U.S. adversaries who use soccer strategies tend to look at the entire world as their playing field, taking action at openings where the United States and its allies are vulnerable,'' Cassman and Lai wrote, citing as examples the Sept. 11 attacks, the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole and the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

Or, according to our resident British scholar:

Awright geeezzaa! Because, yew see, soccer is a Hall ov Fame ov strategy an' subtle maneuverings! While extremely boring, i' does relieve, albei' momun'arily, da crushin' realizashun what we're just a bunch ov Brits. Sorted mate.
Uh... yeah. I wholeheartedly agree with... what was just said. By him.

Yeah, it's just that, in soccer, you can’t even touch the ball with your hands. Opposable digits are what set us apart from the animals (except for the monkey or NASCAR fans). Is that how we want to fight wars? Sort of kick the bullets toward our enemy?

That would be real intimidating. We'd be all like, "Eh, guv’nuh, howja like ‘at? ‘ers mo’ were ‘at come from!" And they'd be like "Insha'allah, I think the kufrs are trying to speak to us, Khalid! But they sound like a poorly written parody of British cockney. What should we do?"


Khalid: Oh, I know what we should do! I saw this on British infidel TV when I was doing... er... research. Ask them what their favorite color is!

Muhammed: KUFR! KUFR! What is your favorite color!

American Soldier I: Hey, what did he say?

American Soldier II: I dunno dude, I think he just called you a f----er.

American Soldier I: Oh man, I am so going to kick a bullet, like, straight at his head.

Sergeant: Lor' luv a duck! Soldier, make Bobby Moawer yew speak Isle ov Wight. Know what I mean?

American Soldier I: Yes sir. *clears throat* Gawdon Bennet! I'm goin' ter branch an' stick a bullet, like, straight at 'is 'ead. . innit?

Khalid: I can't see, what are they doing?

Muhammed: I... I don't know. One of them -- I don't know their names, so I'll just call him "American Soldier I"-- is kind of like kicking a bullet around on the ground. What should we do, Khalid?

Khalid: Well, according to our Islamic terrorist manual, we should 1) Insanely scream Quranic verses, and 2) blow ourselves up.

Muhammed: That's what it says for everything. Americans are outflanking us: scream and blow ourselves up. America has a decadent culture: scream and blow ourselves up. Lucy Ricardo gets into a hilarious situation causing me to explode into infidel laughter: scream and blow ourselves up. I tell you Khalid, I'm sick of it. You know what I'm going to do?

Khalid: Scream and blow yourself up?

Muhammed: Incidentally, yes. You got a light?

update II: I got this story from this weeks edition of the NY Times magazine, of which you should check out the whole thing. It's "The Year in Ideas: A to Z" and contains fascinating looks at the random directions that technology and society are developing, from the amazing (water that isn't wet) to the asinine (anti-concept concept stores).


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