Dick Cheney's "Modest Proposal"
to Round Up More Troops (Satire)
By Bernard Weiner,
The Crisis Papers
January 16, 2007
Date: 16 January 2007
From: Dick Cheney
To: George W. Bush
cc: Karl Rove, Bob Gates, John McCain, Joe Lieberman
OK guys, let's think this one through.
We'll be funneling 21,000 U.S. troops into the Baghdad surge. No doubt
we will need tens of thousands more after awhile and then more after
that. Where can we possibly get them without provoking a total political
We can't constantly keep going to the well of serving troops in Iraq and
extending their tours of duty; nor can we keep recalling National
Guardsmen and Reserves from the States for another couple of years
in-country. These troops and their families are getting pissed off and
starting to rebel.
Add to that problem that Gates wants nearly 100,000 new soldiers and
Marines so that America will have a large enough military force to
handle future threats and wars, especially in the Middle East region.
Does he propose we dragoon young men in shopping malls and ship them off
to Iraq and Afghanistan? Similarly, buying up Latin American young men
in their countries and promising them U.S. citizenship can only fill a
small fraction of our need; besides, that tactic of hiring what the
pinkos call "mercenaries" is a bit obvious and makes us look desperate.
Re-starting the military draft should happen only as a last resort, and
over my dead body. No way we should ever want a draft. Re-starting that
program would rile up the great middle class and lead to ugly protest
actions; see Vietnam. Better to keep the force we now have -- with a
huge percentage of poor whites and lower-middle-class young men and
women of color -- and 100,000 "contracted" soldiers.
WHERE TO OBTAIN THE NECESSARY BODIES
Given that situation of a hard-up military trying to restock its
tappable resources, I've come up with a handy-dandy solution. Here's my
modest proposal: hire the handicapped, the elderly, orphans, welfare
recipients, convicted prisoners, illegal immigrants, etc. (More below on
Advantages: low pay; we make "heroes" of those usually not thought of
that way; many of them will die early, so the various entitlement
programs -- Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, for example -- can
have their budgets reduced significantly.
Disadvantages: the whining liberals will accuse us of being "unfeeling"
or "not compassionate." So Rove and his P.R. team will have to tackle
that problem and come up with effective counter-spin. See below for a
few ideas for how this might be accomplished.
HERE ARE THE TARGETED GROUPS
1. The physically and mentally handicapped. These people, who
often feel unwanted and discriminated against, might well go for this in
big numbers, as will their put-upon family members. These defective
recruits would be given clerking-type jobs in Iraq -- say in the police
stations that will be operated by Iraqi and U.S. forces -- to free up
actual soldiers and police units.
If those stations are attacked while the soldiers are out rounding up
bad guys, the terrorists, shown to have killed and wounded the retarded
and wheelchair-bound innocents, would take the brunt of the ugly
A new presidential Patriotic Sacrifice Medal, perhaps in the form of a
lamb, could be created to honor these brave recruits. See also:
financial savings, as noted above.
2. Orphans. The orphanages are full of unwanted, neglected, low
self-esteem kids and teenagers. They have nobody really watching over
them -- no parents, no blood relatives who care -- so little protest
could be anticipated by assigning them wartime duty. Since they weigh
less (and thus would be less likely to trigger the explosions), they
could be perfect candidates for locating and disarming the improvised
explosive devices (IEDs) planted on the various streets and roads in
Baghdad and environs.
Again, a new presidential medal could be devised to honor our brave
young soldiers: the "Bomb-Squad Rangers," or something like that, who
"died with honor and exceptional courage," that sort of thing. See also:
financial savings, as noted above.
3. Welfare recipients. Many of these citizens, often minorities
and poor whites, contribute little to society and help drain its
resources. In addition, even if there were jobs out there, their
employment skills are so minimal as to leave many of them in a permanent
Here they would be working off their debt to society, and learning
skills along the way that could result in good jobs for them if they
survive the experience: security guards, executioners, demolition
technicians, etc. These Welfare Brigades would give them status and
plaudits in our society. See also: financial savings, as noted above.
4. Illegal immigrants. There are now more than 10,000,000
"undocumented" aliens in our country, and many in our electoral base are
mad as hell that those illegals aren't being caught and deported.
Here's a way of satisfying those anti-immigrant forces. At the same
time, we will be giving something to the commie liberals who support the
illegals being in our country. We accomplish this by giving these
wetbacks a way to earn citizenship, a way for them legally to make money
for their families back home, and by helping them come out of the
shadows and celebrating their contributions to the cause of protecting
See also: financial savings, as noted below. Note: We'd have to find
another subgroup to pick the crops. Perhaps we could bring over a whole
lot of poor Iraqi refugees to fill those jobs so vital to our
agricultural economy. Immigrants from Darfur also might be added to the
5. Convicted felons. Our jails are stuffed to the breaking point
with millions of convicts, many of whom would jump at the chance of
reducing their sentences by serving in the military. Von Ryan's Express
In addition, since the great majority of those prisoners were convicted
of non-violent crimes, most for possession or sale of drugs, they might
be enticed into the program by mentioning the fact that Iraq is right
next door to Afghanistan, where the best poppies are grown, if you get
Great financial savings of not having to pay the high costs of
6. The elderly. We wouldn't want those who are in final-stage
skilled-nursing facilities, but there are millions in independent-living
retirement villages and suchlike, just kind of vegetating there while
their bodies and minds begin to fail them. They (and their harried,
grown-up children) would jump at the chance to have these oldsters
actually do something, anything, and be honored and rewarded for their
patriotism and willingness to jump back into the fray. The Geezer
We might also want to consider recruiting in early-Alzheimer's wards, as
they are likely to provide the most docile recruits, who, because they
would have little awareness of the bad things that could happen to them
every day, would be extremely malleable soldiers, with no risk of
See also: financial savings, as noted above.
SPINNING THE SPIN
As for the P.R. spin, Karl and the speechwriters could have the
President say something like:
"My fellow Americans, when I first announced the augmentation of our
Iraq initiative, I mentioned the term 'sacrifice,' referring to the
heroic efforts of our soldiers on the ground. But sacrifice isn't the
only operative word here; we also have to speak of duty and patriotism
and service to one's country.
"So tonight I'm announcing new job opportunities in the global war on
terrorism, and I know Americans, wanting to help our troops abroad and
help defend our country (with a salary commensurate with their
experience and their jobs) will rally to the cause and join the new
legions of volunteers. In particular, I want to speak to those of you in
the following categories: ...etc. etc."
I think this approach would work. Are you guys ready to consider it?
Even if you don't think my proposal would fly, I suggest that we
consider leaking it. This would get the mainstream press to focus on
something not likely to happen, while they ignore what we're actually
doing to gin up the movement to bomb Iran, our attacks in Somalia and
covert actions in Lebanon, our siccing the CIA and military intelligence
agencies on American citizens' bank accounts without getting the
supposedly "required" court warrants, and so on.
We can't have journalists and ordinary citizens thinking they can
influence what we do on their behalf. That smells too much like
Copyright 2007 by Bernard Weiner
Bernard Weiner, Ph.D., has taught
government & international relations at universities in California and
Washington, worked as a writer/editor at the San Francisco Chronicle for two
decades, and currently serves as co-editor of The Crisis Papers (www.crisispapers.org).
To comment: firstname.lastname@example.org .