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Wednesday, February 19, 2003
[[UPDATE: If you're hot-linking directly to this entry, and haven't yet read the "Iraqi War Death Pool" article, please note the rebuttal/explanation above. (2/24 entry) Read it after browsing the original story below.]]

"Pete is doubtless a fine enough chap, but I find his posts distressing. Worse even: distressing, depressing and addictive." - The Right Rev. Dr. Hugh Morles


Going to war is as American as baseball. Except, in this case, the baseballs explode and kill people. But I've got a hot dog and popcorn at my side, CNN on the television, and am awaiting the first pitch.

Play ball!

In honor of all great things American, I present a few musings on war...

= The Iraqi War Death Pool =

At the start of each year, some people participate in what's colloquially known as "The Celebrity Death Pool." In short, each person makes a list of the celebrities they think will die over the next twelve months then, at the end of the year, the person with the most correct guesses wins.

With that concept in mind, I offer you the "Iraqi War Death Pool." Here, participants guess on which day (and at what time of that day), after the start of the upcoming war in Iraq, the first American casualty will occur.

Since we don't yet know the exact date on which war will be declared, participants will use the term "Day 1", "Day 2", etc.

The starting day of the war will be determined in one of two ways: Either the day U.S. President Bush publicly declares the start, or else the first day of sustained bombing (followed by an official announcement.) That will become DAY 1.

How to play:

1. Email me at worldofpete2003@yahoo.com
List the DAY (by number) and the EXACT TIME OF THAT DAY you think the first American casualty will occur.

Use the Subject: line "Death Pool Entry: Day [X], Time [xx:xxAMorPM]". (Obviously, entering specific day & hour/minute/AMorPM where I've placed Xs.) This will allow me to log entries, without having to read body text, more quickly.

The event of death will be recorded according to the time in IRAQ when it occurs. So please keep this in mind, no matter where you are in the world, when choosing.

2. The person who guesses the closest, without going over, wins. So if, for example, Person A says "Day 1" and Person B says "Day 3", and somebody dies on DAY 2, then Person B wins. In other words, if your determined day/time passes without a death, you are disqualified. If more than one person picks the correct day, the winner will be determined by who guessed closest to the exact time of death on that day. Again, disqualification occurs if death comes after your time.

3. The "death pool" only applies to AMERICAN casualties, because, quite frankly, the chance of foreign troops participating is becoming slim to none, and its pretty much a given that Iraqi soldiers will die within the first few minutes of Day 1. So where's the sport in that? In any case, they're only Iraqis, so who cares if they die, right?

Only "death in combat" counts. Death due to mishap (i.e., two U.S. helicopters colliding or a jet crashing due to mechanical failure, killing those aboard) does NOT count.

4. Only one entry per person, please. While I can monitor email addresses, to avoid multiple entries from the same address, I can't stop the same person from entering different guesses via a multitude of email addresses. War is honorable, right? So I hope you will be, too.

5. The winner will receive a swell prize, courtesy of 'The World According to Pete' web log. Swell prize yet to be determined but, rest assured, it *will* be pretty swell.

6. This "death pool" is open to the world, except where prohibited by law. Residents of Iraq are not eligible to participate. There is no fee to enter. It is free.

So, good luck to all! This should be as fun as the War in Iraq itself. Hoo-boy!

= (Geopolitical) Suicide Note to The World =

"To the World at Large,

Lately, life has been like a nightmare, like life in the twilight zone. I mean, I've never done anything wrong... So, I've made a decision that should not be an example to the rest of the world, because it is unique to my situation.

For every act there is a cause. In this case, I believe the act is justified.

Over the years, I've had to endure the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune. To my detractors, ruining people is considered sport.

I'm filled with disgust for what others plan to do in my name. A sense of failing morals and physical decadence.

I saw many wrongdoings by the president and the government, and I thought, "just this much will be alright." Then I found myself the whipping boy, as reported in the international press and on the Internet. I feel something is wrong. I have been framed; I am the victim.

I think of my life and feel I've done most of the right things. I've always tried to be compassionate and understanding. I've had a great life, so please think of the real me and not this lost soul.

I'm giving my life, not in war, but to help avoid it. If giving my life will help, it will not have been in vain. I'm just doing my duty for the love of my people and country.

I've tried my best to give you a good life. In spite of all that I've tried, a handful of people, with their lies, have made our life impossible. If we can't live in peace then let's die in peace.

Thanks for making my life special. I hope I helped yours. I have no guilty conscience.

Please, God forgive me, I can't stand the agony any longer. I wish to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, where my fair-weathered friends from France and Germany can most easily find my lifeless corpse.

I'd like to believe there's good in all people, that I simply love people too much. I'm ending my life because it seems not only futile but also wrong to go on. The untimely nature of my death is no one's fault and, please, don't gossip. The deceased especially hate that.

This is my Independence Day - from life! Please stay calm. Try to hide my suicide.

Patriotically up yours,

Washington DC, USA"

[All lines in the preceding "note" excerpted, and re-edited here, from actual suicide notes written by the famous and unknown over the last century.]

= Song & Dance =

With the pending war in Iraq, some people are freaking out. And not in a good way.

One acquaintance, Michelle, is making plans to move to Mexico. She just doesn't want to be in America when the smart bombs hit the fan. She isn't the only one I know who is making such plans. Canada also seems to be quite popular this time of year.

Michelle once asked me how I wanted to die. I said I didn't care, as long as it was visually spectacular and happened by early afternoon. So, you know, it would make deadline for the evening news.

She said she wanted "to die on a battlefield." Now that the 'battlefield' is one step closer to her front door, she's not so hot on the idea. Instead, she runs to Mexico. Evidently, the idea of dying from a severe case of Montezuma's Revenge is becoming more and more appealing.

Since 9/11, and especially as the U.S. gets its war on, more than one person has said to me, "I'm having this feeling of impending doom." It overwhelms their lives.

My response has been constant.

"Welcome to my world, babe."

Sadly, with everything going on in the actual world, I've had a lot more company in *mine* as of late. Sad, yes, but I do enjoy these visits so.

One such visitor to my neck of the woods, writer Leonard Pierce (of 'Ludic Log'; see hot-link to left under "Web Logs Of...") put it quite succinctly, when he said, "In a more profound way than I have ever felt, I don't really feel like I'm wanted here. And this is a strange feeling to get, because I've been far outside the American mainstream for as long as I've been an adult. I always sort of feel not wanted. But for over a year now, I've felt rather severely not wanted: so disenfranchised from the terms of the national discourse, so deeply removed from any sense that the things I care about and the paths I think we, as a country and a culture, should be following will be considered, that I wonder what's even keeping me here...

...why stay here when I'm no more in step with the national values than they are with me? Maybe it's because I'm a news junkie. Maybe it's because I'm way too immersed in the natterings of the ultra-orthodox punditocracy. Maybe I'm just getting hysterically dramatic, like people do in moments of crisis (this latter possibility seems the most likely)...

...This is all melodramatic vaporing, I know. I probably won't go anywhere; I'm lazy, I'm broke, and for some reason, I like where I live. And I probably won't be lucky enough to get out before both sides start making things explode. But some days, I tell you. Some days. The world weighs heavy on me at times, considering that I don't have any real problems."

Dismally enough, Pierce's comments are being echoed by more U.S. citizens every day.

Perhaps we all need a little "pick-me-up"...

With every war, or similar national tragedy, the American people always seem to dust off some old CD and find a cut to make the event theme song.

So, I'd like to nominate a song for the Iraqi War. It is "The Weeping Song" by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

Any readers familiar with Cave will certainly appreciate my nomination. I'm hoping at least three people will get that obscure pop culture reference. Yes, I *am* the Dennis Miller of the blogosphere. - Pete

posted by Pete 2:06 AM
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