FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Xmas Games for a Gitmo World

by DAVE LINDORFF

 

Looking for a last minute gift idea for someone who is hard to shop for?

How about a chance to wreck the nation?

That’s the idea behind a wacky political board game dreamed up by two California women who watched as Bush and the Republican Congress ran the country into a fiscal hole and started several interminable wars financed on credit and decided to do something about it.

Thinking that what they were watching happen was akin to Monopoly in reverse, they developed their game, where the winner is the one who can destroy the county by a combination of wars, tax cuts for the rich and outrageous budgets for military production, pork-barrel projects and corruption.

Players pick a token representing a politician beholden to one of four special interests, like defense contractor or the oil industry, and move around the board to a pair of thrown dice, plundering the public treasury along the way and trying to spend their $1-trillion share of the national budget.

“The way it works is you pick up fact-based cards along the way-all based upon things that Bush and Congress have really done,” says Jennifer McGlynn, one of the co-creaters of Wreck the Nation (they also had consulting help from McGlynn’s 12-year-old son). “Although an article in the Chicago Tribune called Wreck the Nation one of the 20 coolest board games, we haven’t made it into Toys `R’ Us,” says McGlynn, “and I suspect we never will. The game is just too anti-Bush.”

It’s also probably too educational. As an added bonus, when players pick up one of the game’s revenue cards, homeland security cards or expenditure cards, they can go to a website and punch in the numbers on that card to find out the true facts behind what the card tells them to do.

A typical card is this one from the Homeland Security deck, which reads, “Supreme Court rules you cannot designate terror suspects `enemy combatants,’ declare them outside the US legal system, and imprison them forever at Guantanamo Bay.” Go to the website (www.wreckthenation.com) and enter the code. This takes the player to a web page that says:

After the tragic events of 9/11, 660 men from 42 different countries were rounded up as suspected members of Al Qaeda & other terrorist networks and sent to a makeshift prison camp at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba.

As “enemy combatants,” these prisoners are considered outside of the U.S. legal system and can be held indefinitely WITHOUT TRIAL until hostilities in the “war on terror” are concluded. Or at least, this was what the Bush administration originally intended when the majority of these men were captured back in 2001 & 2002. There have been numerous court cases brought on behalf of Guantanamo prisoners arguing that they can not be held indefinitely without the opportunity to refute accusations and suspicions against them. The result of a June 2004 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court h confirmed Guantanamo prisoners’ right to challenge their detention in the U.S. legal system. To circumvent this ruling, the Bush administration established Combatant Status Review Tribunals in July 2004 to decide whether a prisoner is rightfully detained and imprisoned as an “enemy combatant.” In February of 2005, a federal court ruled the Tribunals are illegal because the Tribunals insufficiently address the rights of a detainee to a fair trial.

As of February 2005, 5 men have been released without charges from Guantanamo Bay and over 100 of the original 660 prisoners have been handed over to other countries for further incarceration and interrogation.

As of February 2005, there are still 550 men imprisoned on the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay. They have been waiting for meaningful legal recourse in regards to their imprisonment for over 3 years.

Not bad for a game rated “12 and older.”

The same card entitles the holder to “Declare war against civil rights and civil liberties.” This requires the player to flip another spinner three times. Each time the spinner lands on the category “Civil Liberties” (other choices are Democrats, American Workers, Choice, Pick a Country, etc.), the player pays out $25 billion.

McGlynn, a Democrat, and her partner and co-creater Julia Carson, a Republican, are both Bush haters, says McGlynn. Carson’s husband, a veteran, just returned from a tour in Iraq, so the war’s not popular with either of them.

I asked McGlynn why she and Carson had opted for such a retro idea as a board game, instead of going with the times and producing an electronic version.

“The problem with video games is that it’s just one or two people sitting in front of a screen playing silently,” she said. “The idea with Wreck the Nation is to have a bunch of people sitting around a table talking politics.”

What a novel idea!

My favorite part of the game is media monopoly. If a player lands on a media square-a TV or radio station or a newspaper-she or he can buy it. Buy three markets that are adjacent and you have a media monopoly. Or buy all three of any one media on the board and have a monopoly. Either way, if you have a monopoly, which allows you to take advantage of certain cards. For example, one Expenditure card, useable only if the player has a media monopoly, says, “Discredit an opponent’s revelation that before 9/11, your Counter-Terrorism Chief repeatedly warned you al Qaeda, not Iraq, was the real threat. Use this card at the time of your choosing to send your opponent to any space on the board.” Another Revenue card that can only be used by someone holding a media monopoly says, “To discredit your opponent, launch the new group Slow Boat Veterans for Monkey Business. Use this card at the time of your choosing to send your opponent to any space on the board.”

Wreck the Nation also has a poll spinner. If the needle lands on “Small gain in the polls” the player spends $15 billion (remember, the object of the game is to spend all the nation’s money in your possession faster than any of the other players).

One way to lose money fast is to land on one of the black “Gouge the Government” squares. Then you get to shake the special dice in a little black “Gouge the Government” cup. Add up the total of three throws of the dice and you get to spend that many billions of dollars.

My recommendation: A great gift for you child’s classroom, or maybe for that annoying uncle who still has a Bush/Cheney ’04 bumper sticker on his SUV.

This game is available at www.wreckthenation.com

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” is published by Common Courage Press. Information about both books and other work by Lindorff can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@yahoo.com

 

 

 

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
April 28, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Slandering Populism: a Chilling Media Habit
Andrew Levine
Why I Fear and Loathe Trump Even More Now Than On Election Day
Jeffrey St. Clair
Mountain of Tears: the Vanishing Glaciers of the Pacific Northwest
Philippe Marlière
The Neoliberal or the Fascist? What Should French Progressives Do?
Conn Hallinan
America’s New Nuclear Missile Endangers the World
Peter Linebaugh
Omnia Sunt Communia: May Day 2017
Vijay Prashad
Reckless in the White House
Brian Cloughley
Who Benefits From Prolonged Warfare?
Kathy Kelly
The Shame of Killing Innocent People
Ron Jacobs
Hate Speech as Free Speech: How Does That Work, Exactly?
Andre Vltchek
Middle Eastern Surgeon Speaks About “Ecology of War”
Matt Rubenstein
Which Witch Hunt? Liberal Disanalogies
Sami Awad - Yoav Litvin - Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb
Never Give Up: Nonviolent Civilian Resistance, Healing and Active Hope in the Holyland
Pete Dolack
Tribunal Finds Monsanto an Abuser of Human Rights and Environment
Christopher Ketcham
The Coyote Hunt
Mike Whitney
Putin’s New World Order
Ramzy Baroud
Palestinian, Jewish Voices Must Jointly Challenge Israel’s Past
Ralph Nader
Trump’s 100 Days of Rage and Rapacity
Harvey Wasserman
Marine Le Pen Is a Fascist—Not a ‘Right-Wing Populist,’ Which Is a Contradiction in Terms
William Hawes
World War Whatever
John Stanton
War With North Korea: No Joke
Jim Goodman
NAFTA Needs to be Replaced, Not Renegotiated
Murray Dobbin
What is the Antidote to Trumpism?
Louis Proyect
Left Power in an Age of Capitalist Decay
Medea Benjamin
Women Beware: Saudi Arabia Charged with Shaping Global Standards for Women’s Equality
Rev. William Alberts
Selling Spiritual Care
Peter Lee
Invasion of the Pretty People, Kamala Harris Edition
Cal Winslow
A Special Obscenity: “Guernica” Today
Binoy Kampmark
Turkey’s Kurdish Agenda
Guillermo R. Gil
The Senator Visits Río Piedras
Jeff Mackler
Mumia Abu-Jamal Fights for a New Trial and Freedom 
Cesar Chelala
The Responsibility of Rich Countries in Yemen’s Crisis
Leslie Watson Malachi
Women’s Health is on the Chopping Block, Again
Basav Sen
The Coal Industry is a Job Killer
Judith Bello
Rojava, a Popular Imperial Project
Robert Koehler
A Public Plan for Peace
Sam Pizzigati
The Insider Who Blew the Whistle on Corporate Greed
Nyla Ali Khan
There Has to be a Way Out of the Labyrinth
Michael J. Sainato
Trump Scales Back Antiquities Act, Which Helped to Create National Parks
Stu Harrison
Under Duterte, Filipino Youth Struggle for Real Change
Martin Billheimer
Balm for Goat’s Milk
Stephen Martin
Spooky Cookies and Algorithmic Steps Dystopian
Michael Doliner
Thank You Note
Charles R. Larson
Review: Gregor Hens’ “Nicotine”
David Yearsley
Handel’s Executioner
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail