While the recently successful assassination of Al Qaeda figurehead and terrorist enemy #1 Osama bin Ladin has infused the U.S military with new vigor and a sense of accomplishment after years of stalemated drudgery and wasteful losses of life and resources, spokespeople at The Pentagon were quick to warn the American citizenry that the looming dangers were not over.
"Our vigilance must never acquiesce to comfort or a false sense of security", admonished Lt. General Harlin Waters, "We still have a lot of really, really expensive and secretive work to do."
When asked who or what would be the military's new focus, Waters cleared his throat, stared sternly at the camera and added, "Um, not sure. I'll have to get back to you on that. Most of our policy makers are at the Imperial Fortress, er, the Embassy Compound in Baghdad."
In a briefing room inside the Pentagon, a gathering of five star generals volleyed about options, intent on finding the next danger posed to the nation. This reporter was allowed in for the first few minutes of the discussion. Notes follow:
"Gentlemen, we're just not getting the fear numbers with Gaddafi we had hoped for", mentions General Orlaf 'Bas Relief' Tate, "He's an absolute non-starter with our 14 to 36-year-old male demographic. And our women are showing signs of sympathy toward him. Probably due to the fact that we keep blowing his pre-teen grandchildren into clouds of pink dust right in their own living rooms."
"What about Kim Jong-il?", pipes in Brigadier General Pap "Pappy" Anderson. "Surely that sniveling little twerp could get the people's bloodlust up?"
"Well, that's exactly the problem, Pappy", Tate responds. "The guy's just too physically diminutive and silly looking to take seriously. We're not ruling out an Asian entirely. Some of the party leaders in China are rather formidable just because of the swarming masses of yellow menace they command."
"It can't be an Asian", yells General Clayton Z. Andrews from across the table, "That sort of grinning, buck-toothed, slant-eyed caricature went out with Tojo. Most conservatives in this country don't even dislike slopes anymore. They find them hard-working, amenable and smart. And they like their buffets. Speaking of which, anybody try the crabs yet at Mr. Tzu's over there on 3rd? Delicious. All you can eat on Thursday. I take the Missus down for... well, never mind. We need a brown, sweaty guy who's not an African. Hell, nobody takes them seriously. It's got to be an Arab or Eastern European. Preferably a guy with a jutting brow who's constantly seen in a track suit posing with an AK47. You know the drill."
"Not that swarthy popinjay for chrissakes! Iran is already on the radar. We'll cross that bridge in 2014 when we have the boots for the ground."
A low voice from the corner interrupts, "What if we simply made someone up?"
All the Generals' heads turn to the questioner.
"Speak your mind, Son", encourages Anderson.
A young man in an expensive suit rises and addresses the Top Brass, "I'm no military strategist, Sirs. I have not even served in the armed forces. I'm here from Haliburton representing Mr. Cheney's interests. My name is Clive Slorn"
The Generals all nod and murmur in approval.
"Pardon me if I'm getting above myself but, why couldn't we just create a monster? The American people are already suffused with fear and hatred of foreigners. The problem is that none of the current leaders of the world have the demonstrable evil of past tyrants. They certainly lack the will or menace to pose any credible threat to Edna and Ralph Nobody from Nowheresville, U.S.A. We already shot that load with Saddam, regardless. We need a new guy from a new country. But, also, we need to add a metaphysical dimension to his powers. One who is not merely a despot, but a cult-like leader of a nation of zealots engorged with the will of Beelzebub himself. A country of devil worshipers with... with nuclear capability.
"I like it, please continue", says General Waters.
"Well, the imagery needs to be done right. I can consult some of my marketing people. But I was thinking something like a horned, fanged guy with the body of a lion, the hands of a gorilla and the dorsal fin of a shark. Military garb, of course- epaulets, medals, jack boots, the whole bit. We'd give his country an appropriate name. One that arose from the ashes of a decades long revolution, so bloody that the normal political nomenclature like communism, socialism or fascism does not even apply. Let that be assumed or wondered about. Locate it in North or Central Africa or near Serbia. The choice is yours. Just make sure it's remote, unsettled and geographically obscure enough so as not to bring up questions. Call it 'Satanistan'"
"Wait a minute", interjects General Randall "Tankshaft" Higgenloop, "While I think the symbolism of such a creature is sound and the menacing potential of the figure to be fear-inducing is legitimate, you're suggesting that the American citizenry is so apathetic and disengaged that another war waged by their government in their name could be pulled off on some fictional country without any of them consulting an Atlas or the internet to find out that there is no place called 'Satanistan'?"
The room falls silent.
Bursts of laughter then echo off the walls.
"Looks like we have a winner!", cries Higgenloop.
Slorn smiles and adds, "Good. Good. I'll get the ball rolling on this. We need to contact Murdoch and tell him to get his people on this immediately. I just have one question, Sirs."
The Generals apprehensively focus.
"Who is this guy in the corner with the laptop?"
The Generals are all now staring at me.
"Ahem. I'm Timmy DeWinter, the Capitol reporter for cadolphmoores.com. General Waters said I could sit in on this. I've been Twittering the meeting. Hope that's okay."
Contributions to the "Free Timmy DeWinter Defense Fund" can be made through the "donate" link on the top left of this site.