War on terror is a fabrication

By Mark Steyn
(Filed: 17/08/2002)

To be honest, I didn't pay much attention to the story in Thursday's Telegraph - "World faces polyester crisis" - in which our Science Correspondent revealed that we could be facing massive polyester shortages by 2008. But I bumped into famed war correspondent John Pilger at the bar that evening and he was waving the paper triumphantly.

"See?" he said. "Now do you get it? Now do you understand what your so-called 'War on Terror' is really about?"
"What do you mean 'so-called' War on Terror?" I huffed indignantly.

"Because it's an abbreviation," crowed John. "Just another chilling Pentagon euphemism to hide what's really going on. 'War on Terror'. Short for 'War on Terylene'." He unrolled a map. "Look at this: 85 per cent of the world's known polyester resources are found in this arc from the Republic of Crimplenistan in Central Asia through the vast desert waists of al-Asticated down to the Gulf of Aqrilaq. Washington's been looking for an excuse to seize them ever since things flared up in the Seventies and they were at the mercy of OPEC."

"OPEC? You mean?"
"Optional Permanent Easi-Crease. Look at Rumsfeld's trousers. Thing is, if the Yanks run their huge fibre-optic cables down to their bases at the Gusset of Slaq, they'll control the world's entire polyester supply. After all, what's the most vital element of the American economy?"
"Er, oil?" I suggested.

"Oh, come on," scoffed John. "Go to any mall in New Jersey and count the stretch pants. Take away the polyester and the bottom will drop out of the US economy. Literally."

"I dunno," I said sceptically. "The Middle East isn't somewhere I associate with casual clothing."

"Really?" chuckled John. "You've never heard of the Mufti of Jerusalem?"
I had to concede he had a point. "So you're saying the American war machine"
"The American wardrobe machine," John corrected me.

"You're saying they can't find alternative sources."

"They experimented with a poly-cotton blend," said John, "but they had enormous problems with radioactive waist. It's all in my book. That's why they wanted to go into Afghanistan. They're tired of being taken to the cleaners."

"What a lot of rot!" I protested. "They went into Afghanistan because the Terylan had forced women into wearing the head-to-toe, easy-iron, non-crease burqa with elasticated nose piece, while the men were obliged to go around in scratchy polyester beards all day."

"Exactly!" said John. "The Yanks were desperate to get their hands on it all. It's like January sales at Bhs."

I wasn't persuaded. "Come on," I said. "You've been wrong on pretty much everything up to now. Like banging on about the huge amount of civilian casualties, which never happened."

"I didn't say 'huge amount of civilian casualties'," he replied. "I said 'huge amount of civilian casual wear'. It's completely unaccounted for. In Kandahar alone, the 10th Mountain Division seized at least 5,000 pairs of action slacks with snap-front, full elastic waist pull-up, stitched crease and patch pocket on right leg for easy access."

"Well, how come I've never heard of any of this till now?"
He looked at me pityingly. "As they say in Washington, you're not inside the belt loops. But it's just another round in the Great Game. In the words of Winston Churchill half a century ago, 'From Statik in the Baltic to Kling in the Adriatic, a Polyester Curtain has descended across the Continent.' Hot war. Cold War. Permapress War. It's all the same."

"But what about Iraq?" I said. "Everyone knows Saddam's manufacturing anthrax."

"He's manufacturing Aertex," said John. "That's the real reason Blair wants in. Hey, wait a minute!" He stared at me with a quizzical expression. "You're one of them, aren't you? You're in deep cover."

"One of them?" I laughed. "You think I'm CIA?"
"Not CIA. C & A Man At C & A. You're a buyer for them." He was babbling furiously now and I knew the others in the bar were eavesdropping. "That's why you're always going on in the Telegraph about Osama being - what's the phrase? - 'a bit light in the trouser department'. And to think I was naive enough to reckon you were just doing lame jokes about his small penis! Instead, you were cunningly disparaging his menswear, implying that he can't handle the heavy scratchy stuff, dismissing him because he wears non-polyester garments." He looked at me with contempt. "I've never met anyone so blatantly anti-muslin."

"Well, what about you?" I retorted. "Sitting there smugly in your war correspondent's 1970s safari jacket. Don't tell me that's 100 per cent cotton, you hypocrite! If 'twere done when 'tis done, then 'twere well 'twere done in twill, twerp!" I lunged at him and grabbed the flapping expanse of his wing collars, only to fall back in agony as the sudden jolt of electricity shot up my arms and into my chest. "Aiiiieeeeee!" I howled as I flew through the air, slammed into the bar and sent my drip-dry martini crashing to the floor.

"Ask not to whom the static clings," sneered John, coolly stepping over my prostrate form. "It clings to thee."