Hey Kids! Can You Say Antipersonnel Microwave Weapon?
Hey Kids! Can You Say Antipersonnel Microwave Weapon?
So let's see -- you're in your last year of school and freaked out about the gloomy job picture? Just heard about those 250,000 laid off last month and wondering how you'll be able to make a decent living? No problem! With the new "War on Terrorism" and billions of war dollars suddenly floating around, a whole world of opportunity has opened up! Ok, so it would be much easier just to own a big airline, make major contributions to Bush's presidential campaign, receive billions in subsidies and then lay off 100,000 workers anyway. You can be sure someone made a nice little profit out of that. But for the rest of us there are some great options too.
Like, how about joining the military industrial complex! The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is hiring. Their website (www.cia.gov) says that if you have "unquestionable loyalty" then you can "play a key role in the intelligence process" in areas like technology or "clandestine service." You only have to be 18 years old to apply, and "students are given a salary and excellent benefits." Of course a major advantage is being based at Virginia's George Bush Center for Intelligence with its "lovely grounds" and artwork that "adds extra interest to the busy day." Former CIA officer Greg Poteat was on MSNBC just last week talking about how many new jobs are opening up for those who "have what it takes," and with both (Former CIA Director) Bush Sr. and Bush Jr. aboard the CIA bandwagon, you can bet those jobs are secure.
You prefer equation solving to spying? How about cracking codes for the National Security Agency (NSA, www.nsa.gov)? The largest employer of mathematicians in the United States, the NSA searches for "weaknesses in adversaries' systems" and according to its website, is "constantly asking the big questions." Too bad it doesn't mention what those big questions are, but they must be really important. You only have to be 16 to apply for student programs, and the website even has a Kid's Page where you can play a game with Codey (get it?) The Owl. And with all of the eavesdropping/wiretapping/surveillance legislation that US attorney-general John Ashcroft would like to push through, this group will definitely not have to worry about funding for a very long time.
But maybe you can't stand desk jobs and prefer a little excitement and variety in your daily life. So ... why not become a terrorist? The US government has a long history of financing terrorist groups -- Osama bin Laden and Co. included. It's common knowledge that in the 80's, the US-Egypt-France and others organized radical Islamic forces to fight against the Russians, and that "anticommunist freedom fighter" Osama bin Laden and other members of the Afghan mujahadeen were funded to the tune of $2 billion; the Taliban's sheltering of terrorists and human rights track record didn't seem to matter so much back then. In fact, the definition of terrorist changes so often, and is so politically based - one day you might even be called a hero! Before 1990, Saddam Hussein got great reviews from the US government, even as he was gassing the Kurds. And wasn't Indonesia's Suharto "our kind of guy," even while butchering East Timor? Looks like Putin's slaughter in Chechnya will be ignored, now that he has become a "War on Terror" freedom fighter; same with abusive governments in Turkey, Sudan etc. So don't worry about social stigma - you'll be in great company. After all, remember that the US is the only country ever condemned by the World Court for international terrorism (for the "unlawful use of force" for political ends in '80s Nicaragua). Hey -- if it's OK for Uncle Sam, then it's OK for you.
Prefer a life of leisure? Then dump those moral convictions and become a weapons manufacturer. The US has pumped $60 billion of arms into the Middle East since the Gulf War, 80% going to the Arab States. At the same time, Israel has been granted almost $3 billion in military aid annually, presumably to buy weapons to protect itself against all of those Arab arms. So, no matter how you slice it, looks like great business! And even if you're the Pentagon's second largest defense contractor and a massive recipient of tax-payer-funded corporate welfare, there's no need for patriotism in profit sharing! In 1999, Boeing joined a European company (MBDA) to compete against fellow US companies to win a prized air-to-air missile contract (The Wall Street Journal Europe, 10-04-01) and Mike Marks, vice president for weapons programs at Boeing, sees a winner in the new war market: missile related income is up 50%, and while Boeing planned to hit the billion dollar missile business in four years, Marks says "We'd really like to exceed that target significantly." Noble goal. And don't worry about international laws aimed at curbing the weapons flow -- laws such as UN Security Council resolution #687 which calls for region-wide disarmament efforts in the Middle East, or that pesky Anti-ballistic Missile Treaty threatening Bush's beloved Star Wars. Laws that get in the way of corporate profit don't count.
Did you major in public relations? Then why not become a journalist and read governmental press releases on TV! You can think of cool movie-related names for war (i.e. CNN's "The United States Strikes Back" -- get it?) and report at length on the army's latest sexy weapons. But it's really important not to talk about certain stuff. Like DON'T mention the US government's long-term support of the Afghan mujahadeen, or the fact that many of the US national security strategists who made the original mistake years ago are right back in office now. And don't bring up the fact that the States has a record of fighting against legislation to curb (terrorist and other) money laundering, like the fact that last May it strongly opposed the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) initiative for greater transparency in tax and banking matters. But be sure to say good things about John Negroponte, the new Ambassador to the United Nations, in his "fight against terror" even though Negroponte directly supported state terrorism in the '80s by covering up right-wing death squad abuses in Honduras when he was ambassador there. You get the idea.
So remember -- there's a world of opportunity out there for those who "have what it takes." And it's OK to ask the big questions once you're told what they are.
Heather Wokusch is a freelance writer. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org