Obituary: The United States of America

In case you did not notice, the United States of America died on September 28th.

As is often the case with countries long in decline, the actual death went largely unnoticed by the public. The country first tested positive for the righteousness infection in 1981 when President Ronald Reagan was sworn into office. Tests reconfirmed the infection in 1985 and 1989. The infection though went into remission in 1993 with the election of President William Jefferson Clinton. Indeed, some doctors claimed the patient was now free of the disease. However, on January 20, 2001 it became clear that the virus had merely lain dormant for eight years. The disease metastasized on March 20, 2003. From that time on the disease became incurable. Although civil libertarians and liberals made valiant attempts to halt the progress of the disease, the Democrats in Congress refused to develop a spine, saying they did not want to be seen as giving aid and comfort to terrorists.

Death, when it came, came very quickly. The postmortem on the United States of America revealed that death occurred not from one cause, but two principle causes.

First, on this date Congress agreed to do away with writ of Habeas Corpus. Written specifically to ensue those captured in combat could appeal their detention and ignored by the President, Congress said the President could now choose precisely to whom it would apply. The writ has been in widespread use since its first use in 1305 in Great Britain. By the 18th century, the writ was so firmly established that the United States adopted it from the British legal system without a thought. On Thursday after 701 years of use, Congress decided Habeas Corpus was incompatible with fighting the War on Terror. In fact, Congress gave the President so much discretion that he can toss into prison anyone he deems an enemy combatant, including American citizens, and keep them there indefinitely. He does not even have to keep a list of these combatants. Effectively the President now has the sanction to let people he does not like disappear and with no accounting whatsoever. According to our Congress, this shows resolve in the War on Terror. It was noted that at the moment of Congressional passage, the country’s heart stopped beating.

Doctors attempted to revive the country, but were forcibly restrained by the Congress. Congress intervened in the rescue by passing another law that says the United States will comply with the Geneva Conventions by doing precisely what it explicitly prohibits. In doublespeak worthy of Big Brother, Congress declared that the Third Geneva Convention, Article Three which specifically covers treatment of noncombatants, requires them to be treated humanely and prohibits “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment” now permits torture. Unbelievably, Congress has interpreted the Geneva Conventions to mean any interrogation techniques that in the judgment of the president does not inflict “severe pain” may be used on noncombatants. Severe pain is defined as any technique that will leave a lasting mental trauma. Although the President is not a psychiatrist, he gets to determine which techniques do not leave a lasting mental trauma. Apparently, waterboarding (simulating drowning) may not leave a lasting trauma. If so, it is lawful and fully complies with the United States’ new interpretation of the Geneva Conventions. Consequently, attempts to restore the country’s heartbeat failed, and the country was declared dead upon passage of these bills. Although the country is dead, the death certificate has not yet been signed. The President is expected to sign both bills into law shortly.

It was noted by many independent observers that the country had been acting delusional since September 11, 2001. Once a beacon of liberty, democracy and concern for the rights of all citizens, the United States became increasingly paranoid and self-righteous. It refused to hear different points of views. Traditional allies who expressed disagreement with its philosophies were either ignored or castigated. Once able to navigate successfully in a pluralistic world, and admired by the rest of the world for its broad tolerance and generosity, it became insular and dogmatic. It counted as friendly only those who followed it without question or hesitation and cast aspersions on any country with differing points of view.

Osama bin Laden was at bedside at the country’s death, and expressed satisfaction. “Frankly,” he said, “we had no idea that such a resilient country with so many constitutional checks and balances could succumb to this infection so quickly. We are delighted to have succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. We have succeeded in killing all the aspects of this country that once was the greatest on the planet. Now the survivors will be more susceptible to our message, since we now share so much more in common. We believe in torture, and so do they. We do not believe in due process or trial by jury, and neither do they. We believe we have the holy truth and so do they. We believe in using whatever means are necessary to affect our ends, and so do they. Frankly, we had no idea that three airliners could kill such a robust democracy so quickly. We look forward to more death and bloodshed in the years ahead. Together we will spread intolerance across the world and bring about a third global war. Praise be to Allah, the Merciful.”

The survivors were too distracted by their cell phones, X Boxes and iPods to notice their country’s passing. They were last seen filling up their SUVs with cheap gas and tuning in the current episode of The Lost.

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