Got this in email: CBC.ca slideshow laying out 8 things you could do with the ~1 Trillion dollars that has been spent on the Iraq war so far. Some of them are a bit silly, but they get across the raw, unbelievable scale of violent waste that is U.S. foreign policy.
- Buy everyone in Iraq and Afghanistan a car
- Buy two wii’s for every child in the world
The lesson, it seems, is that few things could be less valuable monitarily than getting yourself involved in other people’s business when they don’t want you there.
Here’s my Trillion dollar plan for world peace:
- Buy a big video iPod for every human in a country you would otherwise invade.
- Fill them with pop music and Hollywood movies. Ideally, all Hollywood movies. I would say that you should just rip them and add them in for free, and thank the studios for their part in the war effort, but we’re seriously rolling in budget here, so we’ll give a bone to the creatives and pay a dollar for each movie that goes on the iPod (remember, 99% of the recipients don’t make enough for a non-pirated copy of a western movie in a week).
- Give them out. Make a point of getting them to teenagers and children. They are the most impressionable market.
- Simultaneously pour incredibly cheap but utterly non-nutritional ultra-sweet foods into their market. Give it out at the iPod stations and at public buildings.
- Watch as the tide turns in your favor.
The beauty of my plan is that it is totally honest about what we’re getting at. We think they’re doing it wrong, and we’re doing a better job socially. They want strict cultural control and we want strict consumer freedom. It’s a globo-cultural war as well as a geo-political one, and we’re confident that in the long run, our ideas will win like crazy. So rather than blowing up civilians who are just trying to survive and pushing them to join our worst enemies, we should inundate them with the things which we’ve already seen can turn any human into a mall zombie. Give them candy and Shrek and How to Lose a Man in 10 Days. Mall zombies make terrible zealot terrorist soldiers, they’re too busy txting each other and thinking about their shoes to learn to use automatic weapons.
Of course the result would be so flat and vaguely anti-social that it’s barely better than what’s there now. Not to mention the fact that, like the suburbs in the west, the trashy pseudo-cultural hi-def fantasies would make these areas into cesspools of strange, unpredictable activity and fetishism, though that can go either way on a case by case basis.
Bonus points if you choose to use the remaining millions to also ensure that everyone also has their share of actual nourishing food. Though you should be careful, if the sugar:food ratio goes too far towards actual food then they may start thinking for themselves again and realize that you’re brainwashing them. If this starts to happen, increase the cup size of sugary drinks, they won’t even notice the difference.
[Caveat: Unfortunately, the plan assumes that each person will be so enthralled that they will keep the iPod and watch the videos, rather than selling them for a pittance to a merchant who would then sell them to westerners on eBay. You’d have to either work hard to combat that kind of thing, or just flood the entire market such that no one cares about iPods anymore, which might be off the scale of this kind of plan.]
[Photo from some military site. Note that though for security reasons you might still want soldiers giving out the iPods, the plan would be much more effective if you used those cheezy Apple Geniuses. Geniuses Without Borders anyone?]