The Iraq War turned four this week.
If you're looking for streamers and party hats, you're either a moron or president of the United States of America. Four years later there's just not that much to celebrate. No weapons of mass destruction were ever found, we've created a safe haven for terrorists, and Iraqis remember the rule of Saddam Hussein more fondly with each passing day. Our budget is busted and nearly 3,300 American lives have been lost. There are no winners in George W. Bush's war.
Except for me. And others like me.
No, I don't own stock in Haliburton. And, yes, I'm just as mortified by the death toll—American and Iraqi—as any other thinking person. But I'm still getting something out of this war. Bryan Anderson, for example, the decorated Iraq war veteran who graced the cover of December's Esquire. Anderson is both a triple amputee and a smolderingly hot specimen of man. Sadly, he doesn't see himself that way.
"When you're looking for a girlfriend or a boyfriend, you have this mental picture," Anderson told Esquire. "Nobody's going to say that they're looking for somebody who's missing three limbs."
Well, Bryan, I've been masturbating to your picture for the last four months because you fit my mental picture perfectly.
Those in the know refer to people like me—people who dream of a roll in the hay with someone who had to roll himself out to the barn—as acrotomophiliacs, or amputee fetishists. Those of us who want to sleep with amputees are known as "devotees." Many of us are men, some are gay, and more of us than you might expect are women. And thanks to George W. Bush's war, acrotomophiliacs are going to have an easier time finding dates and masturbation material. We're the only "winners" of this war.
Now, I'm not a classic acrotomophiliac. I don't require my sexual partner to be missing body parts. I wouldn't kick an able-bodied Leonardo DiCaprio out of my bed—but if he accidentally sliced off a hand I would be a little more anxious for him to stay.
Where did this fetish come from? This is my best theory: As a teenager, my first crush was a man who happened to be in a wheelchair. He was different, and I found that sexy. I also liked the fact that, unlike my peers, he couldn't run away from me. Not because he was in a wheelchair, but because he was the greeter at Wal-Mart. He was paid to sit at the door and smile. I would sit in the food court and stare at this Brad Pitt on wheels as he welcomed fat shoppers in sweatpants. When the greeter finally caught me staring, he confused my lustful gaze with freak-show gawking. I felt horrible.
Ever since, I've been attracted to disabled men—and older men, chubby men, and guys with accents. For some, conformity is sexy (think typical gay men and the Abercrombie & Fitch ads that target them). For others, difference is sexy (think typical straight men and the American Apparel ads that target them). I always notice different; extreme difference catches my eye and sparks my interest. And isn't getting noticed the first hurdle we have to clear before we can find love?
Take, for instance, the picture of Army specialist Marissa Strock on the March 5 cover of Newsweek. Anyone can see at first glance that she's a good-looking young woman who—oh my goodness, she's missing both her legs! Now, this last physical detail will either titillate or repulse, but it will not fail to register. And it's okay to find someone attractive for his or her physical attributes alone, right? Nobody looks at Halle Berry and thinks, "I'd love to tap that I.Q." Initially, what makes Berry so attractive is her physique and willingness to go topless for her art. It's the same with my attraction to people with no thumbs. Maybe they're also Rhodes Scholars, but at first glance, they're thumbless, and I want them to fuck me. If that's objectification, then so be it.
This comparison is flawed, I realize. Berry hasn't lost a limb in a traumatic accident. (Though if she keeps drunkenly crashing into things she might soon. Remaining fingers crossed, everyone.) Anderson and Strock, however, have experienced life-altering traumas. But should that disqualify them from being seen as sexual beings? And should that disqualify those of us who find them sexy—as they are now—from seeing them as sexual beings?
And thanks to George W. Bush—and Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice and corrupt Republicans and ineffectual Democrats—there are going to be a lot more amputees around for me to see as sexual beings. During the Vietnam War, two American soldiers were wounded for every fatality. Now, thanks to advances in body armor and battlefield medicine, 16 U.S. soldiers are wounded for every fatality. That means fewer depressing military funerals and more sexy disabled vets, more Bryan Andersons and Marissa Strocks.
In the very recent past—that would be before March of 2003—prosthetic limbs were found mainly on little old ladies who ate too much sugar. But, now, thanks to George W. Bush, there's no shortage of strapping, fit, healthy amputees, limbless men and women in their physical prime. Most of the soldiers sent off to Iraq are just barely old enough to vote, so people like me can look forward to lots of barely legal, legless porn. It's enough to make me believe in God. Hell, it's almost enough to make me vote Republican.
George W. Bush has been feeling underappreciated, particularly by the Iraqi people. Where's the cake with four candles? Where's the gratitude? Well, on behalf of my people, George, I offer our thanks. You get an "A" for Effort. Stay the course, Mr. President. You're the Decider. What, you have another plan for victory? Wonderful! The more young Americans you send off to fight this immoral, illegal, and already lost war, the more will come back half the men or women they used to be. And I, for one, am not complaining.
Because as a proud, loyal, fucked-in-the-head American citizen, I would give my right arm for just one night with anyone who gave his right arm to Operation Iraqi Freedom. And the longer this war goes on, the likelier that becomes.
Hail to the chief.