Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Transforming foreign policy

One of my earliest memories is of Christmas 1985. This was the year that I got my very first Transformer. It was a triple Transformer that could transform into a tank, a plane and, of course, an evil robot. Like a lot of children, I generally preferred the bad guys within most toy-based good/evil dichotomies. They looked cooler, they came in better colours and they had the most devastating weapons - my first transformer had the capability to shoot plastic projectiles. Memories of the Decepticons of my youth were no less diminshed when I saw the Transformers movie last night. The computer graphics are incredible, the storyline and dialogue are not as appalling as you would expect for the genre and the actors are likeable. One of the most striking things about the movie is what a nice bit of P.R. it is for the U.S. military. The first appearance of a Transformer in the film is when a Decepticon trashes a U.S. army base in Qatar looking for U.S. intelligence. The only survivors of this attack are a plucky bunch of soldiers whose first hand knowledge of these robo-terrorists makes them invaluable in the fight against the Decepticons. Thank god for the military! I couldn't help but think that the director was trying to imagine a world where everyone actually approved of the U.S.'s military actions in the Middle East. Who's going to argue with the Bush administration if they declare a 'War on Evil Robots'? A CNN poll taken on 24/6/07 showed that 67% of those polled were opposed to the U.S. war in Iraq. If Bush wants to remain politically viable, he needs to move away from Iraq and address real threats to our way of life, ie. evil transforming robots from outer-space. Here are excerpts from an actual speech made by President Bush (as altered by me to make it look like he's fighting a War on Evil Robots):

"Earlier this year, I laid out a new strategy for defeating the Decepticons. I wasn't pleased with what was taking place on the ground or in the depths of outer space. I didn't approve of what I was seeing. And so I called together our military and said, can we design a different strategy to succeed? And this new strategy is different, transformed if you will, from the one we were pursuing before. It is being led by a new commander, Optimus Prime -- and a new ambassador, Bumblebee. It recognizes that our top priority must be to help the Autobot government and its security forces protect their population from attack -- especially in Autobot City, the capital of their homeland, Cybertron. It's a new mission. And Optimus Prime is in outer space carrying it out. Its goal is to help the Decepticons and the Autobots make progress toward reconciliation -- to build a free planet that respects the rights of its robots, upholds the rule of law, and is an ally against the evil Decepticon dictator, Megatron. And it's in our interests, it's in our interplanetary interests to help them succeed. Earth has sent reinforcements to help the Autobots secure their population. I asked the military what they thought the chances of us defeating giant alien robots were. That's what you expect from Earth's Commander-in-Chief, to consult closely with the Earth military in times of inter-galactic cyber-war. They made recommendations, and I sent the reinforcements in to help the Autobots secure their population, to go after robo-terrorists, enormous flying robots and CD players that transform into weird, mischeivous cyber-men that incite sectarian violence so that we can help get the homeland of the Transformers under control. I think it's going to be very important for our country to have faith in the capacity of liberty to be transformative*. After all, there's more to this war than meets the eye."

* That sentence actually appeared in Bush's speech unaltered. I almost wet myself when I found it.

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