Diary of a War
by Philip Dore
In these strange days, war is becoming a damn complicated business. Generals
not only have to be master strategists; they also have to look good on CNN.
Move over Carl von Clauswtiz, and let us explain the modern art of battle in
this step by step reconstruction of the art of war in the modern age.
The tiny nation of Bogdania invades several neighbouring states. The
President of Bogdania is regarded (by Bogdania State television) as a
benevolent ruler, a wise sage, and a conquering hero. The President of
Bogdania is also regarded (by just about everyone else) as a homicidal
News start to trickle in of mass atrocities taking place against
ethnic minorities in the invaded territories.
Events in and around Bogdania start to have an impact on Western
governments. In London, an analyst in the Foreign Office hears Bogdania
mentioned on the news and vaguely begins to wonder where Bogdania is. In
Washington, President Clinton hears Bogdania mentioned in a national
security briefing and vaguely begins to wonder whether Bogdania is some form
of sex act he hasn't tried yet.
Things start to move more quickly in the corridors of power. In
London, the Foreign Office analyst suddenly realises with horror that one of
the countries Bogdania has invaded was a place where he had a very pleasant
holiday a few years ago. He urges his political masters to do something
before more historic medieval architecture is destroyed. In Washington,
Clinton suddenly realises with horror that when he was guest of honour at
the annual Girl Scouts Convention he handed out a number of cookery and
outdoor skills badges bearing suspicious-looking 'yoghurt' stains. He urges
his political underlings to find him an international crisis before the
press start asking awkward questions.
Day Twenty One:
Tony Blair appears on national television to pledge his
support for the "poor oppressed people of Bogdania" before a press secretary
belatedly advises him that the Bogdanians are the people doing the
Day Twenty Five:
Under urging from the British and American governments, the
UN becomes involved, and demonstrates its fearsome capability by setting up
a committee to study the problem. Meanwhile, Bogdanian troops are rampaging
through the Balkans, slaughtering and raping ethnic minorities at will.
Day Twenty Seven:
The Bogdanian President defends his actions against the
ethnic minorities in the invaded areas, claiming that the Bogdanian people
are taking their revenge for an incident in the 16th Century when the Balkan
ruler Konstantin the Flatulent inflicted a crushing defeat on the Bogdanian
king during a particularly vicious game of backgammon.
Day Thirty One:
The UN announces that it will send unarmed UN observers on a
monitoring mission to deter further human rights abuses.
Day Forty Five:
The UN observers are declared a resounding
demonstrated their capacity to observe vast amounts of brutality and murder
under all circumstances.
Day Fifty Two:
Doubts begin to emerge about the effectiveness of
observers, as it becomes apparent that the usual response of Bogdanian death
squads to the observers is to exclaim, "What the hell are you staring at,
The UN replaces the observers with armed peacekeeping troops,
under strict rules of engagement that if fired upon, they are to phone the
UN headquarters in New York where a committee will be formed to discuss
matters and vote on whether the troops can fire back.
Day Sixty Eight:
The UN rules of engagement are rethought after
a platoon of
UN troops is wiped out when the UN committee is delayed in its findings by a
Day Seventy Five:
Western governments announce that they will
send food aid
to civilians caught up in the fighting. The Bogdanian government responds
positively. Some of their death squads haven't had a hot meal in weeks.
Day Eighty Two:
The British and American governments press the
Council for a resolution authorising military action against Bogdania. The
UN Security Council considers the request and passes a resolution declaring
that the actions of Bogdania are "not very nice" and "will they please stop
Day Eighty Five:
The British and American governments decide to
UN and attack Bogdania anyway. US Secretary of State Madeliene Allbright
insists, "We will not allow international law to get in the way of
maintaining international law."
Day Eighty Six:
US warships in the Aegean fire fifty Tomahawk missiles at
targets in Bogdania. Six of the missiles actually land in Bogdania. One of
them hits a military target. Well, it was something green, anyway. The
Bogdanian military decides to respond to the attack by slaughtering as many
of the ethnic minorities as they can while they still have control over the
Day Eighty Seven:
NATO forces follow up the missile attacks by launching air
strikes using the latest hi-tech missile guidance technology to guarantee
accuracy. Several missiles are deflected when they accidentally lock on to a
Sony playstation in the Bogdanian capital.
Day Eighty Eight:
NATO air attacks continue. A NATO press spokesman
jubilantly presents combat reports of the US Air Force "scoring plenty of
hits" without realising that the reports actually refer to the drug habits
of US military personnel.
Day Ninety Two:
US fighter-bombers launch a devastating attack on an
armoured column, inflicting massive damage. Unfortunately it was a British
armoured column. Bogdanian troops continue purging the invaded areas of
terrorists based in strongholds such as creches, nunneries and geriatric
Day Ninety Eight:
NATO spokespersons defend the decision to
carpet bomb a
public toilet, which they insist was a valid military target as top-level
Bogdanian generals had been known to take a leak there.
Day One Hundred and Four:
The President of Bogdania declares, "I
afraid of NATO bombs", from a reinforced concrete bunker in a secret
location surrounded by heavily armed bodyguards.
Day One Hundred and Ten:
British paratroops advance into the
liberating several brothels and a strategically important brewery. UN staff
set up a command post in the brewery, where they try and fail to organise a
Day One Hundred and Fifteen:
Tony Blair attempts to rally public support by
staging a photo-opportunity of him grinning inanely in the cockpit of an RAF
Tornado. The photo-opportunity is marred somewhat by an unfortunate incident
involving the ejector seat.
Day One Hundred and Twenty:
Cilla Black, Paul Daniels and Cliff Richard
announce their intention to visit the Balkans to entertain the British
troops. Morale plummets.
Day One Hundred and Twenty Five:
NATO deploys a multi-million dollar laser
targeting system to make its attacks more effective. The targeting system is
rendered useless by a light smog.
Day One Hundred and Thirty Six:
After fifty days of NATO bombing, most of
Bogdania has been turned into a smoking pile of rubble. Bogdanian genocide
has reduced the ethnic minorities to a goatherd called Stavros and his
asthmatic niece. NATO begs the Bogdania president to agree to a peace treaty
on the grounds that they are running out of things to bomb.
Day One Hundred and Forty:
A peace treaty is signed and a UN
force is installed to protect Stavros and his niece, who rapidly become the
world's richest ethnic minority.