THE VAULT

An Army of None
February 19, 2007 by Julius Serpentine

I'm still here, terrorist scum.

Lance Corporal Robert Pennington, a United States Marine, was convicted and sentenced to eight years in a military prison for his participation in the murder of an Iraqi civilian. The highly trained 22-year-old implement of death pleaded guilty to conspiracy and kidnapping, in exchange for prosecutors dropping the more serious murder charges. It seems the military believes that justice is best served through diplomacy and compromise.

In April of 2006 Pennington and seven other soldiers set out to kidnap and kill a suspected insurgent, but became frustrated when they were unable to locate him. The Marines instead randomly grabbed Hashim Ibrahim Awad, a disabled 52-year-old retired police officer, who was known to have supported the American occupation. In fact, he supported it right up until he was bound and thrown into a bomb crater, where he was shot in the head ten times. Shots two through nine were just to make sure, but the tenth was definitely an accident.

A gun and shovel were placed next to the body so that it appeared that Awad was actually an insurgent planting a roadside bomb. Not only would this cover up their crime but it would also boost the moral of the troops by showing that the Insurgency was in such dire straits that they were recruiting the disabled.

While their plan clearly did not work, it did give the United States armed forces a few ideas. Nearly all of the branches of the military have been having major problems meeting recruitment goals as the war in Iraq has progressed. Not only has cable news scared away most white recruits, but also the usually reliable pool of poor yet willing minorities has dried up.

As a result, the military has been lowering their standards. In the last three years nearly 100,000 recruits have joined the military with a convicted felony or a serious misdemeanor on their record. Now shanking children is not nearly the career setback it once was.

The military is beginning a new advertisement campaign to bring in other Americans that some may not see as desirable to serve in the armed forces. Slantmouth was able to get its hands on an early draft of a currently unproduced commercial aimed at increasing recruitment among this other group. We present it to you, our dear readers, unchanged.

In the distance a lone man scales the side of a mountain. He slowly inches upward. For a brief moment he appears to slip but regains his footing and continues to climb.

Voice Over: Few have what it takes to make it to the top.

As he slowly climbs, the camera zooms in on his face. Beads of sweat run down it. His teeth are clenched. He is intensely focused, only looking up at his goal.

Voice Over: Some will not be denied, even if they are woefully undermanned.

The camera switches to a view from the top of the mountain, where suddenly we see the man’s hand come over the side. His hand desperately searches for something to grip and, once it grabs a hold of solid rock, he slowly pulls himself up over the side of the mountain.

Once on top of the mountain, he rips off his prosthetic arm and holds it triumphantly over his head.

Voice Ove: Members of the United States Army will not be denied.

All of a sudden, an Iraqi Insurgent flies through the sky from a neighboring mountaintop and attempts to tackle the one armed man. The quick thinking United States soldier uses his prosthetic arm to swat the Insurgent out of the air.

Voice Over: They can overcome any challenge.

The Insurgent tumbles to the ground but quickly regroups. He returns to his feet and his eyes begin to glow red like embers. Horns sprout from atop his head. He charges at the U.S. soldier.

Voice Over: Even if that challenge is themself.

The soldier bitch-slaps the Insurgent with his prosthetic and sends him tumbling off the side of the mountain, screaming. The Insurgent’s screams of pain fade as he rapidly falls to the earth.

Voice Over: An army of one. One arm. One leg. Even one finger.

In the distance something approaches from the sky. The soldier prepares for another attack, tightly clutching his prosthetic arm. As the attacker comes closer it finally reveals itself to be a giant red, white, and blue-feathered eagle. It swoops down and the soldier jumps on its back.

Voice Over: It only takes one finger to pull the trigger. The United States Army.

The eagle soars into the distance as the screen fades to black.

How well such a compelling piece of advertisement will work has yet to be seen, but, rest assured, the military will be persistent. One way or another the armed forces will reach their goal. How qualified those individuals will be to run around with heavy arms in a foreign country is another question.

A witness, one of the other soldiers involved, testified that while Lance Corporal Pennington did not shoot the Iraqi civilian, he did take the hand of the dead body and slapped the victim’s face repeatedly saying “Quit hitting yourself.” With standards like those, the newly recruited felons should have no problem fitting in.

~Julius Serpentine