"WE'RE ALL DEAD AMERICANS NOW."

17 MAR 02: “WE’RE ALL
DEAD AMERICANS NOW.”

Sunday March 17, 2002

The Observer

Six months that changed
a year


Introducing an absolute atrocity special
by Armando Iannucci and Chris Morris

9/11: The planes strike –
as Martin Amis memorably describes them – ‘sleeking in

like harsh metal ducklings’.

    Tony
Blair publicly drains every drop of blood from his wife to help the injured


of New York.

    Taking
his time, George W. Bush formulates a measured response – which turns out


to be the most expensive
bollocking ever unleashed against shepherds.


    But are
we starting to forget?


    Figures
show that even as the second tower fell, people were switching off their

televisions, complaining
they’d seen it all before.


    Today
in these pages, we help you make up your own mind about the absolute


necessity of fighting the
ongoing war that is Operation Improving Bloodbath.

Inside: Highlights of
our award-winning coverage:

Polly Toynbee: My 14 months
undercover in an al-Qaeda training camp

Peregrine Worsthorne: How
I parachuted with the Marines into Kabul and found a


bearded Polly Toynbee shouting
anti-American obscenities

Robert Fisk: How I smashed
my own face in shouting ‘Don’t help me, I deserve

this’ in front of thousands
of bewildered refugees

Christopher Hitchens: How
to drink Kabul dry in 72 hours and still keep your


forelock fetchingly draped
over your forehead

Decca Aitkenhead: How I got
spazzed off my baps on Afghan Spangles to the sounds


of DJ Smack Poppy’s bangin’
US Barrage

Arthur Smith: How I missed
the plane

Piers Morgan: How I became
the new Hugh Cudlipp by digging up James Cameron and


Malcolm Muggeridge and sitting
their corpses behind desks at the Mirror

Julie Burchill: How I liberated
Kandahar with the news that Tony Parsons is a

bastard

Also…

The resurgence of Kenneth
Branagh since 11 September: pure


coincidence?

————————

Terror’s march backwards

September

11th: The attacks change
forever the British convention for placing the day


before the month in dates.

12th: Washington informs
Tony Blair of attack on US.

13th: The immediate aftermath
of the attacks generates fear and paranoia across


America. Angry shoppers
beat up a woman who’s put a towel on her head to dry her


hair, while people whose
faces look like aeroplanes are subject to 24-hour


curfew. Citizens for whom
this is ‘a bad time’ include Tiara Ryzst, Tray


Njinkampps, Mo Jardine,
Moss Lamb, the Twain-Towers family, and Will and Tray


d’Senta.

14th: Airlines report no
one willing to fly. Bush insists this is a sign of


defiance and commissions
Hollywood to make films in which being scared to go on

an aeroplane is an act of
bravery. Filming immediately commences on an Arnold


Schwarzenegger movie called
Absolute Refusal about a businessman who cannot face


boarding a plane but heroically
makes a meeting in Cairo by crossing the


Atlantic on a pedalo.

16th: Speculation about US
retaliation grows. Expert opinion is divided over


whether the ‘medievalist’
regime of Afghanistan should be bombed back to the


Stone Age or forward into
the twenty-first century. The prevailing Hawk argument


runs: ‘There’s a big stone
at the back of the Stone Age and we’ll bomb them so


hard back into that, they’ll
bounce all the way forward to 2002.’

19th: The pop singer Michael
Jackson is refused permission to lie down and sing


songs from his new album
into the World Trade Centre rubble. Jackson is reported


to have been a ‘nuisance
presence’ at Ground Zero – foisting cheaply embroidered


MJ handkerchiefs on to grieving
relatives and incessantly moondancing into the


paths of rescue workers.

21st: Tony Blair declares
that Britain must share in America’s pain as Education


Secretary Estelle Morris
announces plans for children to drop French and instead


spend two hours a day chewing
gum. And as a mark of respect, all future Prom


concerts will feature orchestras
using baseball bats instead of bows.

26th: Bush cheers American
nation by launching Operation Death Unto Allah.


Concern from coalition partners
that this might constitute some sort of gaffe.


27th: There are delays in
sending American special forces to Afghanistan when


the entire air force refuse
to fly in a plane.

30th: Twelve days after the
collapse of the World Trade Centre, amazed rescue


workers uncover an entire
office floor that is still doing business. Despite


falling 890 feet and being
buried under 12,000 tons of rubble, all workers at


Leeman Sachs Trading Inc
are unharmed. They have remained at their desks since


the bank’s Tokyo HQ saw
television pictures of the burning towers, called them

up and ordered them to keep
working. ‘We were still sitting at our desks when we


landed in the rubble,’ said
one dealer. ‘I actually completed three transactions


on the way down.’ In fact
trading at the buried floor has been so good since 11


September, the bank may
sue the New York Fire Dept for digging them out.

October

3rd: While donations pour
into New York, a suppressed report reveals that a huge


benefit concert held last
month for victims of the Pentagon attack raised just


$21. The show, featuring
REM, Bon Jovi, Beck and the Rolling Stones, took place


in a purpose-built, 50,000-seat
arena on the Pentagon lawn but despite

saturation advertising only
attracted 74 fans. Sources say that the Pentagon


attack, already notorious
as ‘a TV dud’, is now badly in need of a relaunch.

4th: The US public is still
so sensitive to images of New York that Woody Allen


is forced to remake Manhattan
shot for shot but with all views of the city taken


out. Furious that the new
version, Quebec, will lack resonance, the director


comforts himself by giving
the part of Diane Keaton to eight 17-year-old girls.

6th: American Airlines launches
a controversial emergency campaign to persuade


Americans to fly again.
Posters put up in every major American city show a


fearful businessman reading
a newspaper over the words ‘Get the hell out while

you can! Australia from
$120.’

7th: Bush announces the start
of Operation Bomb Islamics. He tells the US that


coalition members agree
this title is not offensive to ‘good Muslims’. This is


confirmed in a hastily written
episode of The West Wing in which a good Muslim


is played by Jeff Goldblum.

8th: World shown new US weaponry
including the XMB0181 foaming missile designed


to flush out enemy hiding
in caves. The device, known as the ‘Condeleezza


Cappuccino’, is designed
to deliver a sarcastic sprinkling of cocoa powder on


the routed enemy.

9th: US bombs hit a Red Cross
emergency centre on the outskirts of Kabul, but


the Pentagon refuses to
apologise, blaming the Red Cross logo for ‘looking like


the crosshairs on a viewfinder’.
Spokesman Paul Wolfowitz says: ‘I’d ask this


clearly self-loathing organisation
to change its suicidal insignia before they


kill us all.’ The Red Cross
complies immediately and changes its logo to a blue


baseball hat.

16th: Less than two weeks
into the bombing campaign, the US admits its new range


of smart weapons may be
too intelligent. Sources say the $7m Supersophic


missiles have a range of
only 50 metres because less than a second after launch

the onboard computer has
worked out that violence only leads to more violence


and that all war is futile.
Realising there’s no point any more, the weapon


either deliberately crashes
itself into a beautiful woman or flies back home to


America to spend the rest
of its days buzzing round a farm. The Pentagon orders


that, from now on, missiles
must be ‘no more intelligent than a steelworker’.

18th: Rising concern over
humanitarian crisis in Afganistan. Henry Belt,


renowned as the most mordant
scurgist in Fleet Street, produces a cartoon which


is said to have made Alistair
Campbell ‘weep like a bereaved child’.

19th: Blair announces support
for the US intention to bomb during Ramadan but

confirms that out of respect
for Islam, all food parcels dropped during this


period will be empty.

20th: The Pentagon denies
reports of civilian casualties and adds that even if


there were some, they couldn’t
be shown in case they ‘died in shapes that could


be code’.

24th: Bush announces: ‘It
may take another 98 years to find bin Laden unless


we’ve got him already.’
In a TV address, standing next to a large veiled object,


the President continues:
‘For security reasons I cannot reveal whether this


titanium steel canister
does or does not contain the terror atrocity, Mr bin

Laden. But I give the American
people my word: bin Laden has definitely been or


will be captured. I have
ordered that this box be placed, with its contents


either full or empty, at
the foot of the Lincoln memorial, and opened in 2099.


In the meantime, I would
ask you to remember that any future video statements by


Mr bin Laden could well
have been recorded before we put him in this


containment. Unless he isn’t
in there.’


26th: Anthrax scare in Britain
– BBC advises staff

TO: ALL USERS SUBJECT: SECURITY

This email is being issued
to all staff.

Be alert about your handling
your mail, particularly if it:

· is mailed from a
foreign country

· has protruding wires

· is lopsided or uneven

· has a strange odour·
has discolourations, oily stains or crystallisation on


the wrapper · is
unexpected

· appears to contain
powder or other unusual contents

· is covered in bin
Laden’s piss or something that smells like it

· has a couple of
miniature AK47’s sticking out of it and the muffled sound of


jibbering muslim midgets·
the envelope keeps spinning and pointing to Mecca when


you put it on a table ·
the envelope bears a stamp advising you not to read the

letter so much as lick it
all over and eat it


· the letter inside
claims that the white matter in the envelope is ‘the first


instalment of some free
salt you’ve won’ or ‘some sugar for your morning


coffee’.

NB: If you are unsure about
your regular postal consignment of cocaine (or speed


if you are black and a cleaner)
the BBC will for a limited period only, check


the powder for anthrobacillus.
We regret we cannot be legally responsible for


any errors in this analysis
and staff will be required to sign a waiver. In the

event of a long queue for
this service, priority will be given to those whose


drugs are supplied by Cocaine
Direct or similar who ensure the coca harvesters


are part of a profit sharing
initiative based on end user purchase receipts.

November

3rd: US on maximum alert
as the FBI announces ‘credible’ intelligence suggesting


al-Qaeda are planning to
trample thousands of Americans to death under rampaging


hippos. Bureau chiefs believe
a build-up of four million mother hippos could be


hidden north of the Canadian
border and say a mother hippopotamus will charge at


anything that comes between
it and its calf. The alert follows the recent

discovery of a baby hippo
in a White House cupboard. Meanwhile, seven young


hippos are said to have
walked into a Chicago department store yesterday while


an eighth was mysteriously
presented as a gift to the actor Ben Affleck.


Hardware shops in most states
report they’ve now run out of anti-hippo suits.

7th: Described as ‘ill-conceived’,
a Broadway production in which New York


firemen perform The Vagina
Monologues closes after just three days.

12th: New figures reveal
that the number of people who perished in the attacks


on 11 September may be as
low as three. Counsellors are on standby to help New


Yorkers deal with the trauma
of being more upset than they needed to be.

Pressure mounts on Mayor
Giuliani – already criticised for his insistence that


Ground Zero be kept shrouded
in smoke – after the dust cleared briefly last week


to reveal that the South
Tower was still standing. Psychologists say original


estimates of 6,000 were
probably much larger due to ‘all kinds of shit’.

18th: US confidently announces
the ‘further complete death’ of Osama bin Laden.


Defence chiefs credit the
new Fairhunter talking missile which pays local Afghan


shepherds to report the
location of enemy forces. If leads turn out to be false,


Fairhunter returns to the
shepherd and blows him up.

21st Success of 9/11 attacks
giving al-Qaeda acute ‘second album’ difficulty.

FBI sources say the poor
quality of follow-up activities reveals al-Qaeda’s


dreadful fear that they
will never top the impact of the 11 September


atrocities. In a recent
attack described as ‘a shoddy and lame retread’, one man


attempted to crash 100,000
paper darts into Chicago’s Sears Tower. He was


arrested without a struggle
after throwing just seven darts through the fire


escape window of a nearby
office block. Similar plots in Washington and Los


Angeles were also foiled
although a visiting Egyptian did successfully hurl a


lobster at Jimmy Connors.

23rd: Western capitals are
disrupted by a wave of hoaxers claiming to have sent

anthrax through the post.
The police report particular difficulties with people


claiming to be hoaxers who
turn out not to be hoaxers at all. Says an angry NYPD


spokesman: ‘False hoaxers
are blocking the lines so the real hoaxers can’t get


through… How can we catch
genuine hoaxers if false hoaxers prevent them from


making their hoax in the
first place?’


26th: Tony Blair triumphantly
announces his UK delegation has persuaded the UN


Afghan Conference that the
broadcaster John Peel should be the new leader of


Afghanistan. Says the Foreign
Office: ‘John will appeal both to the conservative


Pashtun south – who prefer
men to wear beards – as well as to the northern

tribes who like music.’
Blair says The Americans give their approval after he


told them Peel is ‘the British
Tom Hanks’. Peel will be required to repair


Afghanistan’s shattered
infrastructure, restore relations with Iran and


Uzbekistan, unify the volatile
stand-off between rival factions in the


south-west, and continue
with his Radio 4 series Home Truths on Saturday


mornings, against his will
if necessary. On the BBC’s Newsnight, the US


ambassador allows Jack Straw
to confirm the news and then announces that Hamid


Karzai has been installed
in Kabul.

December

1st: An email print-out dated
10 September and signed by Jo Moore is discovered


in a house in Kandahar.
It reads: ‘Need to bury story about local councillors’


expenses… Fly two airliners
into World Trade Centre?’

2nd: Media sources suggest
the number of Afghan civilians killed in US bombing


raids is 1,800. The Pentagon
protests that, with the correct counting methods,


the figure is actually 29.
Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says: ‘If you just


find a head, that’s not
a whole person. To increase the death toll by one,


you’re talking seven or
eight
heads at least.’ Experts on US network Fox news


explain that Islamic numbers
are smaller than they look and agree that ‘in their

tradition, 120 usually means
five’.

4th: Defence Department announces
that a bearded US missile has been captured


and imprisoned near the
Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif. The missile, which


disappeared last March,
told CIA interrogators it wanted to ‘blow up women and


gays and kites’.

5th: Bin Laden seen ‘dead
on a dead horse on top of a dead hill that had been


absolutely blown up with
bombs’, confirms Afghan villager pleased to see he has


given the right answer.

6th: Sheaves of terrorist
plans found in Kabul reveal that al-Qaeda terrorists

were behind a string of
atrocities including the Heisel stadium disaster in


1986. A Biro drawing of
a squashed football with a brick on top of it shows how


the Muslim extremists planned
every detail of the horrifying crush of spectators


– believed at the time to
be the work of hooligans. The documents are just part


of a huge cache of terror
tools shown to blindfolded Western reporters. One


describes how he also ‘felt
a system of levers which control all major volcanoes


and tectonic faultlines
on earth’. A White House spokesman said: ‘We have no


reason to doubt that these
apocalyptic savages conceived their children to


recordings of passengers
screaming in the Lockerbie air crash.’ The discoveries

come just days after looters
offered a Wall St Journal reporter ‘a tidal wave in


a suitcase’ big enough to
destroy the entire US eastern seaboard.

8th: Blair triumphantly announces
that the soothing voice of Fergal Keane is now


being broadcast 24 hours
a day from refugee camp loudspeakers.

9th: An outcry in Harpenden
when a branch of the al-Qaeda network opens a shop


in the town’s high street.
The store sells dirty nuclear devices and videos of


clerics demonstrating how
to make soup out of women. Home Secretary David


Blunkett confesses: ‘Our
draconian anti-terrorism legislation doesn’t cover


actual shops.’

22nd: Man arrested with network
of caves in shoe. Taken to the Nevada desert and


told to stand still while
his shoes are attacked with thermobaric bombs.

23rd: US strategists now
admit bin Laden is still at large claiming he is


‘probably a lot smaller
than we thought… and may be only six inches tall’.

29th: Shock scientific survey
proves that America really did have it coming. The


results of a new study show
that at the time of the 11 September attacks,


America was unequivocally
asking for it. American researchers at the highly


respected Massachusetts
Institute of Technology who collated the DNA profiles,


conversational attitudes
and facial disposition of more than 8,000 Americans are

said to be ‘devastated’
by the results. Test supervisor Bill Porman said: ‘I’m


sorry to say but spend any
time with these people and you start to think, sure,


I’d do it, they’re absolutely
fucking insufferable.’ Security Chief John


Ashcroft is said to be demanding
that, from now on, objective scientific


research be classified as
an act of terrorism.


January

3rd: There are calls for
immediate review of UK airport security after two


journalists from the Daily
Mail board a British Airways 737 jet at Manchester


airport with two knives
and a fork concealed in their hand luggage. The

reporters force their way
into the cockpit, overpower the pilot, take control of


the plane, and crash it
into a tall building, killing over 2,000 people and


injuring hundreds more.
An incandescent editorial by Mail editor Paul Dacre


describes airport security
standards as ‘inexcusably laxative’. This latest


exposure recalls events
last September, when Mohamed Atta of the Daily Express,


along with a colleague from
the Evening Standard, crashed two jets into the


World Trade Centre in New
York, greatly embarrassing security officers in the


US.

4th: A chaotic war of recrimination
breaks out between the CIA and MI5 when it

is disclosed that Osama
bin Laden attended a waxwork sitting at London’s Madame


Tussaud’s on 1 September.
A Tussaud’s spokesman says: ‘He was extremely polite


and bought all the ladies
tea. We just assumed someone would pop in and arrest


him when we’d finished.’
It is believed that bin Laden returned for follow-up


sittings on 4 December and
shortly after Christmas.

17th: State of the Nation
address: Bush declares that countries with which


America has ‘unfinished
business’ constitute a ‘spindle of atrocity’. These


include Libya, Vietnam,
Japan, Colin Powell, Germany and the northern


anti-slavery states of the
US.

24th: There is worldwide
outrage that prisoners detained at Guantanamo Bay in


Cuba are regularly being
dropped out of aircraft over 5,000 feet above the


ground. Tony Blair is later
reassured by Donald Rumsfeld’s guarantee that


jettisoned British prisoners
will be allowed to fight over a parachute. Downing


Street remains tight-lipped
over the restriction of parachute diameter to two


inches but sources say Geoff
Hoon is persuaded that larger chutes would allow


prisoners to strangle themselves.
The US practice of nailing detainees to their


seats during transportation
from Afghanistan is justified as a precaution


‘against them building a
terrorist training camp in the aircraft toilet’

although they are criticised
for classifying prisoners as ‘hazardous


invertebrate vermin’, a
term not recognised under the Geneva Convention. The Red


Cross will monitor conditions
at Camp X-ray for three months and then publish a


report ‘under no circumstances
whatsoever’.

February

9th: WTC legal fall-out.
A New York banker whose car was hit by a man jumping


out of the burning north
tower is suing the dead man’s estate because he failed


to curl up into a neat ball
to minimise the damage. The city of New York is to


sue firms occupying the
upper 38 storeys of both towers because as they crashed

earthwards, they added hugely
to the numbers of people on the lower floors, thus


‘momentarily breaking fire
regulations’.

20th: US is criticised over
‘manipulative’ Olympics opening ceremony in which


the entire American team
form a human twin towers which is then smashed into by


a flying snowboarder dressed
as an Arab and carrying the ribcage of a genuine


New York fireman. As chained
al-Qaeda suspects sing ‘God Bless America’ at


gunpoint, 100,000 doves
with weights tied to their ankles are released to


recreate an engulfing mass
of white dust and the crowd tearfully applaud for


five hours.

24th: Hosting the film Baftas,
Stephen Fry delivers an unspeakably trite and


fucked-up heap of shit urging
film makers to ‘keep telling stories’ in the face


of world events – as if
films make any fucking difference to anything, least of


all the advancement of peace,
as if in fact they don’t more often promote,


through piss like Black
Hawk Down, the very surfeit of self-regarding


superiority that makes the
American West so unpopular in the first place.


Naturally the audience of
actors and industry luvvies spontaneously applaud like


the blinkered, solipsistic,
self-congratulating cunts they are.

March

2nd: The World Trade Centre
owners announce plans to rebuild the skyscrapers on


exactly the same floorplan
as before – but due to the disputed insurance


settlement, the towers will
only be three storeys high.


24th: As as tribute to America’s
pain, President Bush commissions a new book of


the Bible, called The Acts
of the Folks. The book comes after Revelations and


describes how Manhattan
street vendors gained the kingdom of heaven by giving


firemen free doughnuts.
The new scripture also praises the ‘ordinary folks’ who


turned their babies into
flags, made bonfires of beards or stood on hills and


stared angrily eastwards.
Speaking at an Easter ceremony in Wisconsin in which a

shaved rabbit is nailed
upside down to a cross, the President said: ‘Every


Christian on earth will
agree this book improves the Bible. Amen.’ With these


words the President offered
the rabbit a sponge soaked in vinegar, then shot it


in the stomach and called
on the local necromancer to ‘make it rise on the third


day like the shining rabbit
in


heaven’.

————————————————————————————-

9/11: George Bush’s day

O846… At a school in Florida,
President George W. Bush is informed of first

World Trade Centre crash
and quips: ‘Nice to see folks so keen to get to work


early.’

O905… Bush is informed
of second WTC crash and this time chuckles: ‘Phone New


York air traffic control
and tell them – three strikes and you’re out!’ This


comment fails to capture
public mood.

O906… Emergency conference
in school office as aides explain appalling gravity


of situation. Through closed
doors President is heard screaming: ‘Phone Al Gore


and tell him he won.’

0907… He then orders 60
kilos of cocaine and shoots a White House dog for no

reason.

O943… Pentagon attacked.

O944… White House officials
attempt to preserve national control and command


structure by slicing off
Dick Cheney’s head and putting it in a bag of ice


cubes.

Over the next few hours the
President is helicoptered to Orlando then airdropped


into Vermont. Seizing a
jet pack, he blasts himself into the sea off


Newfoundland where he is
collected by speedboat, hammered unconscious,


miniaturised and injected
into Laura Bush’s foot.

1323-1412… The nation is
unaware that it is being governed by a man who is now


smaller than an E.Coli and
tumbling around in his wife’s aorta.

1542… President retrieved
by mosquito from Laura Bush’s thigh and allowed to


regain size under morphine
during return flight to Washington.

1612… A cleaner enters
White House basement to find the President and George


Bush Snr both naked in barrels
of crude oil. They are deep in conversation.

1641…Fortified by constant
telephone contact with Larry Hagman, a much calmer


Bush chairs war cabinet
in Delaware.

2030…Wearing a lucky Iraqi
foot given to him by his father on his lapel, Bush

addresses the nation, extends
sympathy to the victims and solemnly vows that he


will make no distinction
between the terrorists who committed the attacks and


Arabs.

————————————————————————————

What they said

An absolute atrocity special
by Armando Iannucci and Chris Morris: the


best of those post-9/11
quotes you haven’t heard yet.

‘We’re all dead Americans
now’


T. Blair

‘Easy, Saladin’

The Pope

‘Yessssss!’

First reaction of many British
people who subsequently claimed to be appalled

‘I have seen nothing to convince
me that all these attacks were not the work of


one lone American madman’

John Pilger

‘This wouldn’t have happened
if I’d still been on BBC1′


Noel Edmonds

‘Operation Infinite Enemy
is not a war against Islam, it’s a war against


Muslims’

George Bush

‘If you run the twin towers
footage backwards, the towers stand up again – we


need to ask why has the
footage only ever been run forwards?’


Noam Chomsky

‘We are privileged to live
in a time when even the world’s most TV-hating nation


can make brilliant TV’

Peter Bazalgette

‘Hello Yasser’

Jack Straw greets Ariel
Sharon

CLUED IN BY J. COULTHART,
J. PATTERSON!


 

Categories: Uncategorized

About Jay Babcock

I am the co-founder and editor of Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curator of the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages, Grand Royal and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was one of five Angelenos listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. Today, I live a peaceful life in Tucson, Arizona with Stephanie Smith. https://linktr.ee/jaywbabcock