Life Under Occupation
The Megastanis sent one of their Generals to govern America until a new government could be set up. He simplistically tried to solve even the most delicate problems with brute military force, and his short tenure was a month of chaos
He was soon replaced by El Boulos Barimar, a Neo-pro partisan who was chosen largely because he had served as head of the Megastani Commission on Terrorism, thus he symbolized a link between ‘terrorism’ and ‘America’ that the Neo-pros actively publicized.(64)
Very few Megastani officials or service personnel could communicate with Americans in English, and they understood next to nothing about our culture, history, or sensibilities. Inability to understand what was being said caused constant misunderstandings, much anger on both sides, and a number of American deaths.(65)
Barimar continued to make one blunder after another. In his first two weeks, he disbanded what was left of the U.S. Armed Forces. Nearly half a million trained fighting men found themselves unemployed, unwanted, broke, occupied by a foreign military who had no demonstrated interest in their welfare, and heavily-armed.(66) When the ragged, hungry, defeated soldiers returned home, they found that no one had any money. Salaries were not being paid to teachers, medical personnel, or other public servants. In any case, American dollars were no longer worth the paper they were printed on.(67)
Whole cities were without police, firefighters, sanitation workers, or doctors. Apparently, the occupation authority had simply assumed that American personnel would continue to work, although no effort was made to help them do so.(68)
With no economy or security to speak of, the only thing that mattered now were things, particularly food, which was in such short supply that starvation was a clear and present danger in the months following the Megastani invasion. Because the bombing had destroyed water treatment and sewage facilities as well as the power plants to run them, the price of bottled water – the only kind one could drink without getting sick – skyrocketed beyond the means of most families. Frantic families looted Wal-Marts and convenience stores in scenes reminiscent of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Everyone took what he needed and defended what he could.(69)
People who managed to store up rice, dried beans, and flour gathered together, often under the direction of a local pastor, to protect their families and houses. The desperate poor, driven by hunger, and criminals, driven by greed, formed gangs that prowled the streets looking for targets. The police drifted away from their stations to join either the vigilantes or the gangs.
American cities became ‘free fire zones’ with the stronger, better-armed, and more ruthless seizing control. Crime not only could not be investigated or punished; it had lost definition. Looting became a form of shopping. Industrial installations were stripped of machines, tools, copper wire, pipes, even light fixtures.(70)
Both Megastan’s inactions and its actions were often done with stunning insensitivity. Perhaps the worst was the re-opening of the Guantanamo prison.(71) Now in Megastani hands, Guantanamo served as a detention and torture center both for genuine criminals and terrorists and for many innocent and respected citizens who were caught in the wide Megastani dragnets. A scandal was kicked up when horrifying and disgusting photographs of the abuse of Americans at Guantanamo were leaked to the press. They showed American men stripped down and stacked in pyramids, terrified by attack dogs, tortured with electrical devices, and sexually humiliated. And these were the images that were tame enough to be publicized.
The Megastani provisional government of America also passed out decks of cards depicting the faces of former senators, governors, and generals they wished to capture or assassinate. They captured and shot Houston’s two sons and aired images of their bloody, mutilated faces on international television. They printed photographs of Houston looking pathetic and abused in his secret prison and wearing nothing but baggy underpants. Some Americans actually enjoyed this, especially on the West Coast. But many decent Americans also felt deeply humiliated by it.
Megastani troops caused an incalculable amount of unnecessary friction because they knew almost nothing about Americans except for the Megastani government’s dehumanizing propaganda. Many soldiers were decent young men and women who genuinely believed their government’s claim that the aim of the war was to liberate America and bring them Megastan-style democracy. But other soldiers blamed America for the terrorist attacks on Megadina. Some believed that every American they killed, innocent or not, was fair payback. Fully 85% of Megastani troops believed the Neo-pro propaganda that Houston had been responsible for 11/9,(72) even though it was a matter of public record that this was nonsense.
Worse, some Megastani troops believed all Americans were Christian religious fanatics and thus utterly beneath contempt. Many found the Christian ritual of taking Communion particularly bizarre and disgusting because it seemed cannibalistic. Megastani top officers were heard making wisecracks about heading off to “kill some whiteys and burn some cowboy hats.” Some troops kept Coke bottles on hand to bash over Americans heads as they passed by civilians in their armored Hummers.(73)
Megastani checkpoints were manned by 18-to-22-year-old Megastani recruits who almost never spoke English and were frustrated and hot and bored and bewildered and terrified of the threat from increasingly disgruntled Americans. The checkpoints could appear anywhere and without warning: An orange traffic cone on the way to the grocery store or a young man pointing his gun at a minivan on its way to the doctor or soccer practice and screaming at the occupants in an incomprehensible language. If anyone failed to understand or heed the orders, soldiers were known to pump vehicles full of high-velocity live bullets and ask questions later.
No one would ever know how many Americans were killed in this way. But it is certain that every such killing of a mother and child, father and husband gave birth to a rage and loathing that would come back to haunt Megastani troops in a terrible way.
Night raids were equally terrifying and deeply alienating. The purpose of the raids was to find suspected combatants and confiscate weapons, which was itself enough to enrage America’s hardcore Second Amendment proponents as well as anyone who believed America had a fundamental right to defend itself from foreign invasion. Many Americans took to the hills with their weapons caches before any troops had a chance to sweep in and clean them out.
In the absence of useful intelligence, Megastani troops often simply went through American neighborhoods kicking down doors and ordering families out of their beds and onto the floor. Some would scream the only English word they knew—“Terrorist? Terrorist?”—and curse, beat or even shoot people who did not understand how to respond property. (The other phrase all Megastani troops learned was “Shut up!”)
Old women in night gowns were caught on video, ashen-faced, and the screams of toddlers presaged lifetimes of nightmares. Sometimes these scenes ended badly, with a son or father dragged off to be imprisoned, tortured, and possibly killed without any chance of a charge, trial, or telephone call. Sometimes soldiers got jumpy—or felt vindictive—and killed people right in their homes.(74)
One group of Megastani troops massacred 24 innocent Americans for revenge after an American gunman killed a Megastani soldier. The slain families had had nothing to do with the killing. Neighbors heard the father of the household plead in the Megastani language, “I am a friend! I am good!” But the soldiers had killed the helpless man, his wife and daughters, and several others in cold blood.(75)
Many Americans suspected that this story, like the Guantanamo scandal, spoke of a much wider reality of abuse that was not being publicized.
CNN and the BBC ran images of Americans being abused and slaughtered, which infuriated the Megastani government. Megastan accused them of being terrorist mouthpieces. The Megastani army bombed their offices and killed a prominent journalist. Nonetheless, the stations carried on transmitting the reality of the conflict to millions of households around the globe. The one exception was Megastan, where such images, as well as images of Megastani soldiers coffins’ coming home, were carefully kept away from the public eye.
As more and more countries grew disenchanted with the war and withdrew from Megastan’s League of Volunteers, the occupation authority increasingly relied on ‘private military firms’ such as Al-Iburton,(76) which was formerly headed by Megastani Vice Premier Dik Chen Yi. Such companies shunned use of the term ‘mercenaries,’ since mercenaries are illegal under the Geneva Conventions. But the distinction was sometimes very hard to draw.(77)
They numbered at least 20,000—twice the number of troops supplied by Megastan’s largest ally. Like soldiers, they guarded senior officials, patrolled strategic American resources, and occasionally fought. Some were involved in the torture of American prisoners of war, whom the Megastanis referred to as ‘enemy combatants’ in order to avoid allowing them the basic human rights guaranteed by the Geneva Conventions, to which Megastan was a signatory. The mercenaries earned about three times the salaries of uniformed Megastani soldiers.(78)
They were unregulated by any chain of command or rule of law, and they were caught doing things like firing randomly on civilians from their armored cars, videotaping it, and posting it on the internet over a kicky soundtrack.(79)
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