January 2, 2020
A long time ago, in a Central Asian opium field far, far away, a magical journey began when George W. Bush ordered the invasion of Afghanistan in order to bring democracy to the desert. Fans were drawn into the fantastical setting of the mountainous regions, where an engaging tale of goat-herders battling against one another while the most sophisticated military that ever existed bombed them unfolded.
“Desert Wars” was the ultimate tale of good versus evil, with the sparky forces of the US military fighting against the evil empire of the Taliban and their deadly Al-Qaeda strike forces as they searched for the elusive leader of the goat-herder empire, Osama Bin Laden. Fans immersed themselves in a world of pure imagination, as the US military tried and tried again to bring down a dark and diabolical threat to the entire world.
Due to the popularity of the first war, a sequel was quickly rushed out in the form of “Desert Wars: Iraq Rises.” This war introduced a new villain, the horrendously evil Saddam Hussein, who fans of the wars were shocked to find was the evil mastermind who had trained Osama Bin Laden.
Fans were immersed in a new world of continual bombings. And they were shocked to find that after Saddam was defeated, it turned out that the entire population of the country was actually evil and against democracy, so the war couldn’t end. The adventure continued long after the death of the Dark Lord Saddam, as the sparky US Marines fought to subdue an entire civilian population of evil-doers and bring them under the heel of democracy.
In 2008, “Desert Wars” got a new director in the form of Barack Hussein Obama. Many fans of the war franchise were disappointed with the studio’s choice of a then relatively unknown director to take over the franchise – especially since he had previously voiced a desire to retcon certain key elements of the plot. He had even suggested that Saddam Hussein was not actually the dark master who trained Osama Bin Laden, suggesting he would perhaps introduce some element of time travel to retcon Bin Laden’s entire backstory.
However, fans of Desert Wars were quickly won over by Obama’s storytelling abilities, as he wove a complex plot of mysterious “uprisings” across the Middle East, which involved new heroes known as “peaceful protesters” who began rioting in various parts of the Middle East and overthrowing various governments in the name of democracy. This culminated in a drastically dramatic scene when democracy warriors captured the Dark Lord Gaddafi and sodomized him to death with a bayonet. For a brief moment in the story’s development, it appeared that pure democracy would break out across the Middle East, and the franchise would enter a new era.
But just when fans thought they could finally take a breath of air, and enjoy the victory of our heroes, a new menace entered the fray: The Dark Lord Bashar al-Assad and his vicious band of ISIS agents, who were taking on the legacy of Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein before them, and once again threatening to throw the desert into chaos.
What’s more, the Dark Lord Assad was aided by the evil forces of Russia, which were hellbent on shaping the desert for their own malicious purposes.
“Desert Wars: Democracy Rises” is a beloved war, but many fans feel it is too heavily reliant on lore. It was certainly not an easy jumping-on point for new fans of the franchise of wars, given that it required a heavy knowledge of intricate developments to understand the backstories of the various factions involved in the eternal quest for democracy in the far away desert. “Obama Wars,” as these wars are called, has also been criticized for moving away from a strict “good vs. evil” narrative and embracing “shades of gray” concepts relating to shifting alliances and interests.
Critical reception for the Obama Desert Wars entries is mixed, though audiences have been much more forgiving, arguing that even if you didn’t have a full grasp of the lore, you could still enjoy the heated action of the seemingly endless battles.
Now, we are entering a new era of Desert Wars, with former game show host Donald Trump taking over the director’s chair.
Thus far, “Trump Wars” has left us with blue-balls, as we wait for something big to happen, and are continually let down. However, Trump has recently vowed to reinvigorate the franchise with what fans are hoping will be a full reboot.
Recently, a trailer was released for a new war in Iraq, which features a whole new enemy: Iranian-backed Iraqi protesters. In the trailer, we witness the burning of the US embassy in Iraq by this new villainous faction. Donald Trump has vowed that he will turn this minor skirmish into a full-on war, and open up a whole new storyline, involving a battle for democracy between the US military and the remnants of the Iraqi democracy against the dark forces of Iranian influence, which will develop into a full-on war against Iran.
Fans of the beloved franchise of wars are hopeful that Trump is returning the storyline to one of pure “good vs. evil” and doing away with the Obama era “shades of gray” storytelling style. However, the flip-side of that is that in attempting to return to form, Trump could risk relying too much on nostalgia and end up simply remaking the original wars.
As it stands, Iranian-backed Iraqi protesters are still mysterious, but they do appear to be very much a call-back to the “Iranian-backed Iraqi militias” of the classic Bush-era Desert Wars. What’s more, the Democracy Warrior Mike Pompeo has been criticized as simply being a slightly fatter version of the hero Dick Cheney from the original wars. However, a full democracy invasion of the dark anti-democracy base of Iran could indeed lead to the exact kind of innovation the franchise needs.
As long as Trump continues to introduce new and interesting characters, with moving story arcs, there is a possibility that the coming Desert Wars could bring back all of the magic of the original wars and, combined with the aid of new technology, end up being better than any Desert Wars of the last 20 years.
For now, fans of these wars are expressing what can only be called “cautious optimism.”