The Nossiter Net
The net that shall enmesh them all
Edited, Written, and Published by Josh Nossiter
Know Your Enemy
Wednesday, October 18th, 2006
The Nossiter Net is cast  to snare some of  the riper rascalities of the day.  Comments?  editor@nossiter.net
Yesterday, the president signed a law that allows him to classify any non-US citizen as an “alien unlawful enemy combatant.”  Anyone so designated may be jailed indefinitely, denied a lawyer, a trial, and the opportunity to hear the charges against him.  He may be interrogated using any techniques of interrogation the president deems fit, without regard to the Geneva Conventions.  He is, in short, toast.  Big time.

Should those of us who are not alien unlawful enemy combatants really care?  Colorado father Steven Howard, strolling with his small son through a mall where Dick Cheney was shaking hands, was arrested for telling the Vice President his Iraq policies are reprehensible. West Virginians Jeff and Nicole Rank were arrested for wearing anti-Bush shirts at a Republican rally in Charleston.  So far none of them has been stripped of citizenship and declared an alien unlawful enemy combatant, or AliUnCom for short.  But if they were, we’d never see them again.

In these parlous times we must all, in the memorable words of former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, “watch what we say, watch what we do.”  As a public service therefore, this page offers the following field guide on How To Identify and Avoid Becoming An Alien Unlawful Enemy Combatant:

DRESS:  AliUnComs are often distinguished by white or black long-sleeved robes, accessorized with dark glasses, Kalashnikovs, bomb belts, combat boots, bayonets, and flowing headgear reminiscent of Rudolph Valentino.  If you find yourself so accoutered in public, be very careful, even at Halloween.   On the other hand, some AliUnComs wear perfectly ordinary-looking western style garb, and keep all their weaponry concealed.  That’s why it’s important to suspect everyone at all times. In turn, consider yourself ever under suspicion.  It’s for your own safety.

APPEARANCE:  Long black beards are worn by some AliUnComs.  Swarthy complexions are not unknown.  Eye color is sometimes dark, once the heavy sunglasses come off.  Extra care must be taken when in the vicinity of anyone bearing this description.  And if any of these features describe you, immediately shave, get tinted contact lenses, and stay out of the sun as much as possible.  Consider a blond wig.  A light colored foundation may also be helpful.

Some AliUnComs, of course, have entirely natural blue or green eyes, and light hair and complexions.  That’s why they’re so dangerous.

BEHAVIOR:  Openly displayed anger is a hallmark of AliUnComs.  Furious glares, accompanied by violent, chopping hand gestures, are among the tell-tale behaviors.  Clenched fists, either held rigidly at the sides or waving, are frequently observed.  Furtive looks from under hooded eyes, with the head darting this way and that, are also standard. Those AliUnComs openly bearing Kalashnikovs are inclined to fire them into the air, out of sheer exuberance and
joie de mort.

It is true that all but the latter behavior characterizes many of our big city dwellers, particularly New Yorkers.  And some AliUnComs don’t act this way at all, preferring a sneaky veneer of normalcy and conventionality to preserve their incognito. 

That’s why it’s so difficult to identify and avoid becoming an alien unlawful enemy combatant.  The nearest one might be your own neighbor, spouse, child.  Ask yourself if the face staring back at you from the mirror is truly a patriotic citizen, or something far more sinister.  When in doubt, repeat to yourself the wisdom of Orwell, so well captured in the president’s new law:

                           WAR IS PEACE
                      FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
                   IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

©Joshua C. Nossiter, 2006
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