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Wars are on the menu

Sam Kass is America's Food Czar. Or to give him his official title, Assistant Chef and Food Initiative Coordinator at the White House. Anirudh Bhattacharyya writes.

india Updated: May 18, 2012 22:30 IST

Sam Kass is America's Food Czar. Or to give him his official title, Assistant Chef and Food Initiative Coordinator at the White House. When free of his carrots and celery, Kass may just be an expert on strategic matters, too, as he recently remarked, "Obesity may be our nation's greatest national security threat."

To that remarkable statement, former Senator Fred Thompson tweeted: "Really? Then let's try air-dropping McD's gift cards on al Qaeda."

No, there's no point looking at Iran going ballistic, literally, or Israel forming a war cabinet, domestic jihadis, the Af-Pak blunderland or even the Greek tragedy unfolding in Europe; the battlelines have been drawn and radical radishes and spirited spinach sent to the front. From shock and awe to steamed or raw.

In America, this is a time of war. Or rather, wars. There is a war on women, on marriage, on moms, on gays, on African-Americans, on illegal immigrants, on religion, not to forget class warfare. They fill a vacuum, since the Obama administration's State Department apparently believes that the War on Terror is "over". To which, the Lashkar-e-Taiba responds: "Over your dead body."

Meanwhile, the US Congress could concentrate on approving a new multi-billion dollar aid package to Afghanistan and Pakistan, focused on forcing the Taliban to eat their greens. After all, there's nothing worse than a diabetic suicide bomber. But, at the very least, reasonable folk should be satisfied someone from the White House is talking seriously about trimming the fat.

The obesity conflict is just another instance of a country that's completely war torn, where common sense is cannon fodder. Think Somalia on steroids but replace the dead bodies with deathly rhetoric.

The war on gays, of course, is partly due to them being denied the right to marry. Now that Obama has finally 'evolved' into a position of supporting same-sex marriage, we can't be certain whether the war is now a skirmish or whether a war crimes tribunal will be activated. Conservatives don't like that position. They want to defend marriage and point to worrying statistics like the decline of marriage in America, with just about half of all adults living in a state of matrimony. In a logical world, they'd be elated that at least someone in the country actually wants to get married!

Six months after the Occupiers' War on Wall Street, hardly anyone knows what the protestors wanted other than going camping in concrete jungles. But it was exciting to see bunches of young people, with their Apple iPads and Google's Android smartphones, clad in Nike sneakers or Calvin Klein jeans, carrying Gucci handbags or Ralph Lauren solar-powered backpacks, complaining about predatory capitalism. Their effort came complete with a dispute over trademarking the Occupy Wall Street or '#ows' brand. But we still aren't even quite certain who the 99% are. Meanwhile, #ows' flagship blog teems with intellectual capital like comments from African Mail Order Brides, who apparently want to occupy something or the other.

But truly, America is a country overrun by warlords and ladies. It's been difficult to identify the aggressors because with so many wars going on, people tend to get confused. According to unconfirmed surveys, just 14 Americans remain unwarred upon. Even less clear is whether they are legal or illegal residents of the country.

This slicing and dicing of the electorate has reached a new peak, one not even matched by a furious Sam Kass, blazing away in his kitchen towards healthful menu options.

But in good news for those living in this climate of terror due to warlords running wild, some futurists see a time when relative peace may prevail again. Perhaps coincidentally, that will be the day after the voting for the 2012 presidential elections is over.

Currently based in Toronto, Anirudh Bhattacharyya has been a New York-based foreign correspondent for eight years.

The views expressed by the author are personal

First Published: May 18, 2012 22:25 IST