Around the second or third grades, my brother (we’ll call him “Malone”) invented the Super Specialized Assault Attack Team, or S.S.A.A.T. Never mind the leisurely nature of the moniker. This was a team of action, punctuated by violence and one-liners. The roster consisted of ten boys from our grade-school class, and the team was led by none other than the cagey Malone himself (the Angry Czeck was, generously, the official second in command). This is how the roster ultimately shakes out:
1. Malone: Master tactician and good at everything
2. The Angry Czeck: Ace pilot and master of disguise
3. Jason: SEAL operative and explosives expert
4. Raphael: Expert in booby-traps and sabotage
5. Leslie: Computer wiz/communications
6. Jamie: Heavy artillery and flamethrower
7. David: Heavy artillery
8. Casey: Small weapons expert
9. Albany: Ninja
10. Danny: Daredevil pilot
Not a bad team, admits the Angry Czeck. The SEAL guy, Jason, who despite being a big, puss-dripping dick, was the most popular guy in class. I always liked that Jason was the frogman. Sort of made him the Aquaman of the team. It was only sweet-justice that Jason became the least interesting character. We gave him a spear gun to make him more versatile on land, but he was still reduced to blowing up ships in the harbor. SSAAT made its debut in the form of a third-grade spelling assignment. The goal was to compose a work of fiction employing that week’s spelling words. My brother Malone stupefied the entire class with an adventure that not only featured half the class, but offered fisticuffs in the bargain.
The villain in SSAAT stories was Fiz Nuinski, a man of mysterious nationality, immense intellect, and a yen for world domination. Sometimes he was portrayed as an overweight bully who didn’t seem to have the right leadership skills to command a platoon of evil troops. Other times, Fiz seemed more a misunderstood mastermind who, under different circumstances, might have been offered a gold-plated SSAAT membership and a locker in the volcano lair. Alas, Fiz was simply a precurser to Karl Rove, who leased his considerable mental gifts to the forces for darkness.
Malone achieved instant fame for his action-packed creation, much to the ire of the attention-hungry Angry Czeck. Rather than invent an original fictional device, I happily thieved SSAAT from my brother and made the military team the subject of my own spelling-word assignments. And while I cannot claim credit for inventing SSAAT, I can claim (with some argument) to have authored the definitive SSAAT saga, poetically entitled War in Cuba.
War in Cuba was an explosive epic handwritten on twenty-four pieces of Big Chief paper. Twenty-four pages not only encouraged slick character development, but also cemented a number of narrative details. It was revealed that SSAAT was not an arm of the military, but contractually employed by the government (sometimes for as high as ten grand per mission). Furthermore, SSAAT was headquartered in a secret lair – an extinct volcano, no less – that owed much to Air Wolf and the Transformers. One of the more regrettable character developments was that Albany obtained his ninja weaponry from the local 7-11.
Naturally, when I wrote SSAAT stories, the Angry Czeck played a more prominent role than one might expect from a mere second-in-command. War in Cuba was no exception, as my character became a dynamite blend of Templeton Peck, Remington Steele and Rambo. The Angry Czeck got all the good lines and delivered most of the two-fisted action, although I seem to remember Jamie somehow saving the day with his flamethrower.
I wish I could recall the plot of War in Cuba, but I can’t. I can’t even remember why it was set in Cuba. I do remember that the conclusion was very exciting, and that it involved most of the team being completely surrounded by NPT troops (“NPT” stood for Nuinski’s Platoon of Terrorists). That’s when Jamie arrived with the flamethrower.
I bring up SSAAT only to illustrate the following whim: Wouldn’t it be cool if SSAAT really existed? Right now? When America needs a super specialized assault attack team the most?
Instead of a massive deployment of troops facing the Syrian dead-enders in Iraq, simply out-source SSAAT to do the job. Not only would the turnkey execution be press-free in its clandestine approach, but it would only cost the US taxpayer ten thousand bucks. You think Bin Laden would still be making hairy-faced videotapes if SSAAT were unleashed upon a cringing Middle East? You think Iran would continue with its shifty nuclear program if SSAAT had ten grand smoldering in its homemade leather wallet of karate chops and plastic explosives? Do you believe women’s rights in Saudi Arabia would not improve if Jason were lurking on your docks ready to plant a compressed O2 powered spear into your chest cavity?
Don Rumsfield is all for a scaled-down military. SSAAT is only ten guys! Unless you have Lee Marvin on speed dial, you’re not getting more scaled down then ten third-grade boys. Plus, you save on expenses because Albany gets his ninja equipment at the local 7-11, remember?
The best part about hiring SSAAT to stabilize the Middle East is that once the mission is a success, SSAAT modestly returns to its volcano lair without making embarrassing revelations to the press, like there are no WMDs in Iraq. Karl Rove could simply explain to the media that the WMD’s were destroyed in a terrific firefight during an attempt to rescue a female prisoner of war, or that the Iraqi public failed to embrace the U.S. as liberators because they’re just jealous that less than a dozen 9-year-olds fucked up their Dorrito eating dictator’s shit in just twenty-four Big Chief pages of all-spelling-words-used action. Bush could say “Mission Accomplished” and actually mean it. And if a member of SSAAT should happen to “accidentally” leak to the press that every tactical agenda achieved by attacking Iraq could have been achieved by better securing Afghanistan, well, who cares? What does a 9-year-old know?
But really, what greater humiliation to pass down to the Middle East than to have their asses handed to them by third graders with a seven o’clock curfew? That would really lend some credence to Rumsfield’s assertions that the insurgency is nothing more than a bunch of dead-enders, right? And we all want to embrace Rumsfield, because he doesn’t take shit from the liberal media. And that’s something we like to see from our government officials; the total disdain for society’s caretakers of truth. As far as the Angry Czeck is concerned, Rummy is a one-man CNN. Except for the Iraqi nukes, the missing adulation of the Iraqi people, the assertion that the insurgency is nothing more than Syrian dead-enders, and the promise of a quick exit from the region, “Telling It Straight” Rumsfield’s word has been absolutely golden. Who the fuck needs the press? Rumsfield tells it like it is! I’m canceling my subscription to USA Today right now.
The only element missing to a successful SSAAT operation is Fiz Nuinski. You’d never catch Fiz squirreled inside “a spider hole,” nor would he have allowed anyone to photograph him wearing nothing but his Calvin Klein tidy-whities. In addition to being a boxer shorts man, Fiz had a little more class and a lot more brains. When Saddam was content with Kuwait, Fiz had his death beam aimed at the entire planet. While Saddam considered Reagan and Clinton as pretty good guys, Fiz was spitting colorful evilisms to momentarily captured SSAAT operatives. As Saddam vaguely hinted about a nuclear program that existed only in White House security briefs, Fiz was personally training a platoon of henchmen who wore smart red jumpsuits. It’s a sad world with SSAAT sitting this one out. For just ten grand and directions to the nearest 7-11, we could be out of this Iraqi mess in a few as 24 Big Chief pages.