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The War Nerd July 26, 2002
Spain vs. Morocco: Two Muppets Du Iwo Jima
By Gary Brecher Browse author Email

This year's Oscar for best military comedy has to go to the island-claiming "war" between those great military powers, Spain and Morocco. It was a sidesplitter from beginning to end. Just imagine the battle of Iwo Jima turned into a Muppet movie, or the Bill Murray character in Caddyshack hitting Omaha Beach.

The Spanish and Moroccans had to overcome some tough competition for this award, especially from the US Air Force. First the boys in blue decided to drop a 1500-lb, laser-guided wedding present right on the bride and groom at a Pushtun wedding in Tora Bora. "Here comes the bride, there goes the neighborhood" -- in little tiny pieces.

Maybe it was a mercy killing-if you think what 40 years alive as an Afghan wife would be like, instant death probably looked good to the blushing bride. Or maybe it was a mercy killing on behalf of the groom - after all, she probably had a nasty beard. And you know those Pushtuns aren't all too fond of women anyway.

The funniest bit was that the shredded guests turned out to be relatives of Hamid Karzai. He was so upset he publicly scolded the USAF. "Be more careful which weddings you obliterate, for goodness' sake! Those people were my cousins!"

The USAF apologized, sort of. They said some wedding guests had fired on one of their planes. Turned out this was just the Pushtun way of celebrating: firing an AK47 into the air. The Pushtun way always involves firing an AK. How do Pushtuns cook soup? Fire hot tracers into the pot. How do Pushtuns clean house? Trick question: they don't. But if they did, it'd be by blasting the floor with an AK on full automatic. How do Pushtuns vote? Put a 7.62mm round through the candidate of their choice. Not the ballot, the candidate.

So if you're going to start killing Pushtuns every time they fire an AK, you may as well wipe out the whole tribe. Which, come to think of it....

A man, a plan, a flag: Parsley

A man, a plan, a flag: Parsley

The USAF had another hit comedy last month, when a small plane crossed the no-fly zone over the White House. Bush and Cheney dived under their desks and called for a fighter intercept, but by the time the USAF got a single F-16 up, the Cessna was long gone. When Bush's handlers asked what the hell took them so long, the USAF said, and I quote, "We hadn't thought about protecting the White House."

Your tax dollars at work.

But funny as the USAF can be, it couldn't match the laff-o-lympics riot put on by Spain and Morocco in their fight over the Isle of Parsley.

In case you weren't following the story, Spain and Morocco both claim this tiny island off the Moroccan coast. They even have different names for it: the Spanish call it "perejil" which means "parsley," and the Moroccans call it "Leila" which supposedly means "night" in Arabic. (Personally, I thought "Leila" was the name of that Eric Clapton song about stealing George Harrison's wife, but if the Moroccans say it means "night" I guess they know what they're talking about. They're the Arabs, not me.)

This island is worthless scrub. No water, no houses, nobody living there except a herd of goats. As far as I know, nobody did a referendum with the goats whether they wanted to go with Spain or Morocco. They were just grazing the chaparral as usual on July 11 when out of nowhere a couple dozen Moroccan "gendarmes" occupy the island and run up the Moroccan flag.

In the Muppet-movie version, this is where Gonzo in a big turban and his belly-dancing chickens sail in, with Dom DeLuise as the Admiral waving a plywood scimitar.

From a military standpoint, the interesting question is, why did the Moroccans just send a few gendarmes? Why not land real troops with shoulder-fired SAMs, a few anti-ship missiles? That stuff is light enough now that infantry can carry enough to defend itself pretty well against air/sea attack.

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Gary Brecher
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Email Gary at, but, more importantly, buy his book.

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Save The eXile: The War Nerd Calls Mayday
The future of The eXile is in your hands! We're holding a fundraiser to save the paper, and your soul. Tune in to Gary Brecher's urgent request for reinforcements and donate as much as you can. If you don't, we'll be overrun and wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

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Everybody complains about celebrities, but nobody does anything about them. People, it’s time to stop fretting about whether we’re a celebrity-obsessed culture—we are, we have been, we’re going to be—and instead take practical steps to clean up the celebrity-obsessed culture we’ve got...


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