Kill 'Em All

At this point, I think it's pretty clear where we've gone wrong: We should've stuck with the "take no prisoners" school of thought. Our military is, after all, really good at killing folks, not so good with the incarceration thing. 
Originally, I was going to poke fun at the "kiddie wing" at Guantanamo Bay, but after looking into it, I'm thinking at this point we probably should've expanded that part of operations, not curtailed them. Sure, the Geneva Conventions might frown on treating "children" as prisoners of war, but obviously, nobody in Geneva has ever encountered a teenager before, nor been one.

Me, I was a teenager, and half the stupid sh–t I did in my twenties was entirely due to the power of inertia, carried over from stupid ideas I had as a teen. Any kid running around playing Taliban at 15 is going to be a nightmare for us when he's 25, and realizes that he's never going to grow into the kind of beard it takes to score the truly hot wife he's been dreaming about his whole life.

Of course, just locking up a pissed-off teen isn't necessarily going to metamorphose him into our good buddy ten years down the road. Quite the opposite, when you get down to it. Me, if I'm spending my days dreaming of sending infidels to hell, and those same infidels then chuck me into a military prison in balmy Cuba with no views of the beach, it isn't really going to cure me of the whole "Down with America" thing I've got going.

Our teen camp needs to be somewhere effective, like the Mall of the Americas, or maybe in Waikiki. One of those places where, try as he might, a teen is going to have a really hard time staying away from the Great Satan's ever-so-delicious nougat center.

Treating teenage combatants as prisoners of war totally misses the point. We're not in a conventional war here – we're in a culture one. And when it comes to winning the culture war, Marines aren't our front line. They're more like the bouncer out in front of the club. The real action is inside, where the Great Satan waits to slip roofies into the world's drink so he can go have hot monkey love with her in the back of his Dodge Neon.

Our military keeping someone prisoner is kinda like when you're driving drunk and you run over a lawyer. If he's still alive, you're probably in MUCH bigger trouble then you are if you back over him a couple times. The world sort of expects us to shoot people. It isn't even news anymore when we do. But when we put 'em on leashes and have 'em fondle each other for the cameraÂ…well, it doesn't make us look like the good guys we try to cast ourselves as, does it?

America's best military role has always been as the cavalry that swoops in at the last minute and saves the day. Our glory years were pulling Europe's bacon out of the fire twice in fifty years. Our not-so-glorious years were when we did a second-rate thump-and-fall scam in the world's parking lot to justify kicking the snot out of some podunk Third World military, only to find out that, once the Third World quits fighting fair, war ain't so fun.

I suppose we could offer prisoner-taking as a "sometimes" option, but we'd have to be really selective. Only use it for people we were pretty sure knew something they could use to rat out their buddies. If they turned rat, and the tidbits they provided proved true when we did some fact-checking, we'd then welcome them to the family and set 'em up with a new life somewhere in Orlando, along with lifetime passes to Walt Disney World® (because no way a hit squad is going to track anyone down for assassination in the line for Dumbo).

Those who didn't know anything, or who wouldn't talk, or who were totally innocent of duplicity in anything – those we'd just shoot. Yeah, folks'd cry at the funerals, but all they'd have to show on TV would be the tired-out coffin and grainy snapshot of the deceased. We'd be guilty of, well, murder, but at least we wouldn't look bad, y'know? No worse than usual, anyhow. And in the nightclub of the world stage, the lights are turned down too low for folks to notice murder acne. It's the molest-for-amusement horn growing out of your forehead that makes the other countries scream and run away before you can even ply them with a drink.

C'mon, baby – let's you and I ditch this dump. I've got my Neon parked right outside.

Jared Kendall is a freelance writer in Baton Rouge where he lives with his wife and two children, three dogs, and four mortgages – that's in order of expense. He can be reached for comment at