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By The Rogue Poet
Never Surrender
November 2002

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Every city has them: the comical "radio in the morning" duo. Aside from potty humor, celebrity cheap shots, and forced laughter, there aren't too many good acts out there, though I have heard a few in my day.

Well, Roswell has a funny "radio in the morning" duo, too, and they're on a country-western station, the name of which I will now stealthily omit (K###).

In a big city, if you're on your way to work and you hear a couple of morons yapping away on your car radio, you can either turn the channel or, as I often do, engage in some low-cost gestalt therapy and swear aloud at them, letting those two idiots know exactly what you think of their lame-ass comedy routines (it's all the better since you know they can't hear you and can't reply to your vindictive).

This is America, after all, and we are constitutionally entitled to do such things.

But in a town the size of Roswell, population 50,000 counting the neighbor's dog, all you can do is slap your forehead and moan, because the chances are good that you might know those two idiots on the radio and actually have to sit next to them at the bar every now and then.

So there I am, slapping the hell out of my forehead as I'm driving down the lonely highway in the middle of this great American desert of south-eastern New Mexico, listening to their shtick of the day: "Join K### and Send Osama A Video: yes, call in and tell us what you would like to put on a video we're sending to Osama Where's Your Momma bin Laden."

DJ #1: "I mean, he's always sending us these video tapes saying (in an Arabic accent similar to Apu of The Simpsons) 'I will bomb you as you have bombed us, blabidy, blabidy, blah.'"

DJ #2: "Ha ha ha ha ha! Yes, caller one, what would you send to Osama?"

Caller 1: (in a Texan accent common to these parts) "I'd say, 'Dear Osama. I used to think you were ugly, but then I saw your momma.'"

DJ #1 and #2: "Ha ha ha ha ha."

Americans love to hate, you know that? We really do. I don't know what's happened to us. Several months ago, the United States accidentally bombed some Canadians during the 'war on terror' in Afghanistan. That night, at a hockey game in Detroit, they played the Canadian national anthem out of respect for the dead, and you know what happened? The Americans in the audience stood up and booed.

I know we're not all like that, but some how or another, perhaps by the way that compassion is trivialized and weakness and aggression lauded as strength, much of America seems to be of the "Kill them all, and let God sort them out" variety. It's apparent almost everywhere, even on the radio where almost all of the stations in town have got some very hateful people working the microphones.

Americans seem to love war, and most of all we love to bomb the shit out of people, but only when they can't bomb us back. Americans haven't been on the receiving end of a war for almost 200 years, and I think that's why they love it so much. Watching the news about a war for us is hardly any different than watching a war in the movie theater, or on the VCR, or watching the NFL football teams make war on Sundays (in the last instance, the style of coverage is disturbingly similar).

I often wonder how funny everyone would think it was if a country like Iraq, or Russia, or China actually were to fly over our towns and drop a few hundred thousand pounds of high explosives on us. I wonder how funny they would think it was if one of those bombs killed the family dog. What kind of outrage and pain would they know seeing their dog killed, knowing that their dog didn't have anything to do with it?

It's all a big joke to Americans. You'll hear the store manager say, "Let's bomb the place and turn it into a parking lot for Disney Land." Then he'll laugh at his own joke and go merrily about his day.

And I wonder just how funny it would be if, as he were driving home, Roswell were actually to be bombed by Iraqi forces, and when he got home he found out that his high-school daughter had been killed by a shard of stray shrapnel that flew though her skull as if it were a soft-boiled egg.

How funny would it be to spend days pulling dead bodies from collapsed buildings around town, in part because it's the right thing to do, and in part because if you left them there the smell of decomposition wouldn't go away for weeks.

I've smelled the decomposing bodies of many animals: cows, sheep, dogs…a human, too. And mark my words, there is nothing in the world that stinks as bad as the smell of rotting human flesh.

But you'll never hear such truths mentioned on the radio.

Truths like that don't have a laugh track.

Because, you see, the truth is that we have bombed them many, many, many more times than they have bombed us.

Because the truth is that we supply Israel's military with the bombs and the tanks, the jets and the guns, that they use on Palestinian civilians with indiscriminate impunity.

Because the truth is that if Iraq were actually able to bomb America, there's no way in hell we'd be so eager to invade it.

Because the truth is that GW Bush was talking about going to war with Iraq only days after he was elected.

Because the truth is that America is most insistent on Iraq's disarming itself because that will make it all the easier to take over the country, which Bush and all the greedy oil pigs behind him are dead set on doing come hell or high water.

But what the hell does truth have to do with America anymore?

Might hurt sales.