In the wake of the Stephen Colbert Whitehouse Correspondents dinner kerfuffle, I was cruising the Internet[s] looking for prior precedent for comedians excoriating a sitting president to his face when I stumbled across a draft version of Al Franken’s routine at the 1996 WHC dinner. As I perused the speech, I noted with interest the following passage:
Here’s another idea. I am not a military expert so I’m not sure that this is feasible. But here it is. From what I’ve read I understand there is nothing more terrifying in battle than seeing enemy hordes charging at you with no regard for their own lives. Why have we always insisted on asking our young men, and now young women, in the flower of their lives to risk themselves in combat? Why not, in the right situation, use a human wave of our elderly to scare the enemy?
Think about it. You’re an Iraqi or a North Korean soldier. Suddenly, over the horizon, you see a batallion of Americans. They won’t attack, you think. America wouldn’t risk the blood of its precious youth when it could simply employ their sophisticated, expensive weapons. Then you look through your binoculars, and a chill goes down your spine. Retirees! Thousands and thousands of them! Each one older than the next. Each with a life expectantcy of three or four years at most. You think to yourself, “What do these people really have to lose? The four worst years of their lives?” You’re terrified. Then they charge. A slow charge, yes, but that makes it even more frightening.
Admittedly, there’s some kinks to work out. Mobilization would be tough. I don’t know if you’ve ever organized a group of seniors for a theatre trip? I don’t think training would be that much of a problem. It’d be kind of like, “Go out there and run.” And this would give our World War II era Americans a chance to contribute yet again to our country. Just when they thought they were forgotten.
I guess what I’m saying is let’s not just talk about our problems. Let’s talk about solutions.
Hmmm. Remind anyone else of John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War? Could it be? Noted Sci Fi author plagiarizes arch-abuser of Harvard grad student ghost writers? Say it ain’t so, John, say it ain’t so!
(In an odd bit of synchronicity, Scalzi has posted his humorous thoughts on the whole Colbert shebang).