Welcome back to Gaming For Official Use Only. Ever since the powers that be here at the Rebellion
lost their frigging minds allowed me to write on their site, I’ve been wanting to cover both of the topics of today’s post, but it took me until now to realize how similar the two are. I can’t say for sure that Kojima intended to do that, especially considering calling the Metal Gear storyline a schizophrenic mess is being generous, but it’s hard not to think of just one when discussing the other. Let’s get to it. I do believe this is a good time to throw up the ol’ “SPOILER ALERT,” isn’t it?
As I stated before the storyline of the Metal Gear series is hard to follow at times, as it’s been subjected to retcon upon retcon, so a solid timeline is likely beyond what I’m doing for this article. However, since the first Metal Gear Solid game, the main antagonists have always been the
Patriots La-li-lu-le-lo, or their puppets. The true story of the Patriots gets unveiled as the games go down the line and reveal a gigantic web of conspiracies and gambits that would make the Cigarette Smoking Man throw his cancer stick down for good. Ostensibly, the Patriots are the offshoot of a previous organization, the Philosophers. The Philosophers were a group of powerful, wealthy individuals from the U.S., Russia and China who banded together after World War I to help steer the world away from the brutal warfare that it inflicted upon humanity. Yeah, that really didn’t work. I also want to point out how China was not a major power at this point in history, so it makes no sense that they would be involved. Not only that, but the China that would have been involved at this point is not the China that made it past the 1950’s. They would not have aligned with Russia as the Soviets were communist, as were the terrorist bands led by Mao Zedong that eventually took over China. Sorry, I like my history correct, not made up to fit some weird decision by a writer who thinks he can get away with it.
After WWII (see what I meant about not working?), the Philosophers split up as the West and East faced off in the Cold War. As the Central Intelligence Agency and Department of Defense began to exert more influence, Major Zero, Big Boss’s commander during Snake Eater, decides to act. He forms the group Cipher, who eventually became the Patriots as they took over the actions and the giant resource pile known as the Philosophers’ Legacy. The Philosophers’ fall came at the hands of their former sleeper agent, Ocelot, as he took the Legacy from the Director of Central Intelligence and assassinated him. Zero contacts Ocelot, asking him to join the Patriots to which Ocelot agrees on the sole condition that Big Boss joins. Rapidly, the other members of Naked Snake/Big Boss’s support team from Operation: Snake Eater decided to join the group, along with Chinese agent EVA. The idea that Zero has for the group is to remake the world as the legendary Boss wanted it, where true patriots were treated well. The problems came as the two strongest leaders, Zero and Big Boss, had wildly different ideas of what this meant. Zero envisioned a world under one will that meant a truly unified world, while Big Boss simply saw a world where soldiers were far more than simple tools for governments. The two men eventually had a massive falling out, and this fight leads directly to the events of the series. Zero’s fears of Big Boss abandoning the Patriots led to the Les Enfants Terrible project, which I’ve already covered here, but as a tl;dr, I’ll say that the project ended up producing three clones: Solid, Liquid, and Solidus Snake. Ironically, this insurance policy of sorts ended up causing what Zero feared: Big Boss becoming disgusted with the Patriots and leaving the group.
After Big Boss exits the group, his main confidantes, EVA and Ocelot, also start to distance themselves from the group. EVA actually leaves, but Ocelot stays inside the group while acting as a spy for EVA and later, Big Boss. The remaining members become twisted and morally bankrupt, exposing the darker side of their chosen field. Para-Medic, acting as Dr. Clark, becomes a sinister doctor for FOXHOUND and develops the cloning process that leads to the Snakes, as well as other genetic engineering programs that were ostensibly illegal, but the Patriots escaped this by virtue of the treaties invoked not actually being binding. Sigint, aka Donald Anderson, goes on to be chief of DARPA (Defense Advance Research Projects Administration), the Dept. of Defense’s research group. During his tenure, he accepted bribes while helping to develop AIs. Zero accumulates wealth as an information broker and eventually starts to influence policy as far up as the White House itself. The group establishes a black site at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to torture and interrogate POWs for information. This also conflicts with actual history, as the US did very little with their Cuban property until the onset of the War on Terror. This was obviously written in as a commentary on the admittedly horrible things that were done in Camp X-Ray, but have no basis in history of any sort. And no, that includes any variation of “that’s what they want you to think”, the rally cry of any conspiracy theorist who must face up to actual facts that get in the way of what they choose to believe.
Zero, who by this time had went into hiding after his falling out with Big Boss, uses his proxies under the name Cipher to have triple agent Pacifica Ocean, aka Paz Ortega Andrade, infiltrate both the KGB and CIA. This was so they could subtly influence Big Boss’s paramilitary group Militaires Sans Frontières to participate in the Peace Walker project, which were AI controlled weapons systems. The plan was to have MSF act as a military force to keep the Patriots secure as they accumulated more power. They planned to do this with Pacifica Ocean hijacking the Metal Gear ZEKE prototype, but Big Boss refused. The Patriots ordered Ocean to use the Metal Gear to nuke the U.S., framing MSF for the crime, but Big Boss defeated the Metal Gear by strategic use of the principal weakness of all Metal Gears, one dude on foot with a big ass rocket launcher. The success of the AI platforms interested Zero, who then worked with SIGINT to develop the AIs who would eventually dominate the information age, as Zero no longer trusted his human subordinates to follow his plans once he died.
The Patriots soon folded all American intelligence and military agencies under their umbrella, but the Joint Chiefs of Staff took action to stop them. Hiring the MSF itself to infiltrate the Patriots’ Cuban base, the JCS got the Patriots riled up enough that they convinced the UN to do a weapons inspection of MSF’s home base. This turned out to be a diversion as the XOF, a paramilitary group under Patriot orders, attacked the base. This attack was so successful that it put Big Boss himself in a coma.
There is likely to be more, but the Phantom Pain isn’t out yet and we all know it’s not a Kojima game without some sort of freaking retcon.
When Big Boss recovered, he was more than a bit upset with the Patriots. Not only had they personally attacked him and destroyed his group, but their program of cloning and use of indoctrinated child soldiers infuriated him. He saw no option but to attempt to overthrow their control over the U.S. Government. His two coups were thwarted by his own clone son, Solid Snake. After this, with the world thinking him dead, Zero had Big Boss put into a nanomachine-controlled coma. With his biggest threat off the table, Zero allowed his AIs to succeed him as leader of the Patriots, and by extension the United States. They controlled all information flow, as well as faking presidential elections to deceive the American public into believing the government was still a democracy under the Constitution. One of these false presidents was George Sears, aka Solidus Snake, who rebelled against the Patriots by having Solid Snake’s own unit FOXHOUND start the Shadow Moses Incident. Ocelot was instrumental in this action, as his torture sessions allowed him to kill a Patriot, Donald Anderson. Since Para-Medic/Dr. Clark was killed by their own experiment, Grey Fox, this left Zero and the AIs as the only remaining Patriots. With their backs against the wall, the Patriots let Solid Snake be used as a counter, infecting him with the FOXDIE virus which targeted the genes of Big Boss, now spread throughout the military thanks to the genetic engineering done to the Next Generation Special Forces. At the end of the Shadow Moses Incident Ocelot ended up with the data on Metal Gear REX which he handed to President Sears. The Patriots now saw Sears as a threat, so they had him removed from office and planned to assassinate him, only to be thwarted by the efforts of Ocelot. With REX’s data on the black market, the Patriots made this work for them, using the vast money accumulated from it to fund their new project: Arsenal Gear.
Meanwhile, the US Navy created their own anti-Metal Gear, known as Ray, which conflicted with the Patriots’ plans. As Solid Snake and his group Philanthropy were also a thorn in their side, the Patriots moved to kill two birds with one stone. They leaked the Ray info to Philanthropy, which caused Snake to go to the dummy tanker ship to investigate. Ocelot arrives, steals Ray and sinks the ship, which the Patriots take as a success, then publicly blame Snake while building the “clean up” compound known as the Big Shell. However, the Big Shell was another false front, as it simply covered the creation of Arsenal Gear. This was designed just to house the AI GW, which could control and filter all information worldwide, essentially giving the Patriots a stranglehold on the entirety of Earth. The Patriots’ own indoctrinated former child soldier Raiden was a large part of why they failed, as he took on Arsenal Gear along with Solid Snake, destroying GW in the process.
While the other AIs were designed to fulfill Zero’s idea of a world military state, a flaw in their programming introduced free will, which allowed them to consider a new way to control the world: war. Their schemes caused the entire global economy to become based on warfare, known as the war economy. Advances in warfare tech led to the information system SOP (Sons of the Patriots), which allowed the AIs to control information and the war economy through individual soldiers. Their control was then threatened by one man, Liquid Ocelot, supposedly possessed by the ghost of Liquid Snake in the replacement right arm grafted onto him. Yeah, science really doesn’t work that way. At all. Ever.
Ocelot bought the largest private militaries and combined them under the name Outer Heaven – the same name Big Boss gave to his first coup d’etat. The Patriots used Meryl Silverburgh’s Rat Patrol term as unknowing agents to help Solid Snake and Otacon in their campaign to kill Ocelot. However, the efforts of Sunny – Olga Gulkovich’s daughter and Dr. Naomi Hunter, developer of the original FOXDIE virus, created a computer virus called FOXALIVE which finally destroyed the Patriot AIs, while leaving some vital portions of the economy to keep the world going. This left just one threat: Zero. Big Boss, finally free of the nanomachine coma, met up with his clone son Solid Snake for one final meeting, bringing the vegetative Zero. Big Boss finally kills Zero, then shares a smoke with Snake before dying due to the FOXDIE virus still in Solid Snake. Thanks to the death of the AIs, the information formally censored by the Patriots become free, which the US government eventually covered up because it was safer to do so.
A group of extremely powerful business leaders aim to control a government, only to have the evidence covered up by the same government to “protect” the public? That could never happen…could it?
This leads to our real conspiracy, the infamous Business Plot. While nearly every left wing freak show likes to talk about how the rich and corporations control America or aim to, the Business Plot is the only time this was true. It’s also the only conspiracy that was laid out in no uncertain terms before Congress, with no action made against the traitors. And yes, I have no problem calling the sons of bitches who wanted to institute a fascist government in the United States traitors.
In the 1930’s, the world was reeling from a Great Depression while still recovering from the horrors of World War I. The election of Franklin D. Roosevelt on a platform of highly increased government intervention scared some powerful conservative businessmen, and they decided to take action. They started formulating a plan to launch a coup d’etat against the Roosevelt government to install a government based upon the fascism as established by Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini. The conspirators decided to enlist the Bonus Army, a large group of WWI veterans who had camped out in front of the Capitol in order to get the bonus due them as WWI veterans, as their army. To do so, the conspirators would need a strong leader, respected by many and determined to completely destroy the America government.
They chose… poorly.
On paper, United States Marine Corps General Smedley Butler was a fine choice to lead a military coup. He was a legitimate badass war hero, one of just 19 soldiers in US history to recieve the Medal of Honor twice, and had recently given a speech to the Bonus Army throwing his support to their cause. Seriously, his war record reads like some amalgam of Chuck Norris, Rambo and the lyrics to half a dozen Iron Maiden songs. Gen. Butler had joined the USMC just in time for the Boxer Uprising, and served through WWI. At the time of the Business Plot he held the absolute highest ranking that the Marine Corps possessed. Saying he was a badass is a bit like saying Da Vinci was an artist; yeah, it’s true but it doesn’t say it strongly enough. Beyond that, Butler was a born leader who was respected by anybody who recognized his name in the US. You could not have named a better soldier for the job, but ther was one minor problem – Butler was a Roosevelt supporter, critical of capitalism and a staunch pacifist. Beyond those disqualifications, Butler was a staunch patriot and could not take up arms against his fellow citizens. Instead of becoming the leader of a fascist uprising, he turned the tables on his would-be masters and reported all of their information to Congress.
I want to stop here and point out that this was an actual fascist movement. This was not “fascist” like so many coffee shop hipsters throw it out. This is not someone who dares to disagree with you, or refuses to change to what you want them to believe, but a horrifying brutal nationalist totalitarian system that mixes the worst of the left and right wings. It enforced “traditional” sexual mores by brute force, while firmly advocating a government-ran economy with some private ownership allowed. The system required a firm rule by one party, while completely opposing all of the features of liberal democracy. Dissension wasn’t just disapproved, it was put down by force. Today, we see the name thrown at any group that someone may disagree with, much like Nazi. Also, much like Nazi, it dilutes the impact of the name when it’s thrown at anyone you don’t like. Real fascism is a brutal, murderous dictatorship that draws its power from the blood of its opponents. “Fascism”, as it’s often used today, is just people you don’t like. Interestingly, the name itself is based off fasces which is Latin for “bundles of hay.” The name was applied to various guilds and organizations in Italy, of which Mussolini’s Fascist Party arose. This is like giving the name of a innocuous piece of farming equipment to a brutal dictator. For example, maybe Combine?
Congress, in stark contrast to their normal modus operandi, got straight to work. Over days of testimony and investigations, the committee found Smedley Butler to be truthful, and that there was a group of powerful businessmen who aimed to overthrow the U.S. government. As will all problems, Congress did the only thing it does correctly – not a damned thing. The committee simply announced to the press the details of the Plot, then sat around with their thumbs shoved up their sphincters. This has led some to claim that Congress had been bought out by the plotters, or that the Plot was a total hoax. There are others who claim the Plot existed, but it was just a bunch of rich men sitting around talking BS. Interestingly, not one bit of blame is sent Gen. Butler’s way, as even the hoax adherents seem to believe that Butler was duped as much as anyone else. Congress refused to name any names in their report, citing the evidence as hearsay, but did confirm they believed Butler’s story. Not one name attached to the Business Plot would ever face any sort of investigation, with one very notable exception. Smedley Butler was castigated in the media as a liar, charlatan and every other name in the book. Even when Congress finally announced they had reason to believe Butler’s story, the media never retracted any of its smears against Butler.
While the fact that such a conspiracy actually existed is partly up for debate, it’s interesting just how big some of names were that were attached to this plot. To be fair, we can’t say for sure whether any of the listed names actually contributed or where attached later on (God knows Prescott Bush is attached to any conspiracy from that time ever), but it’s crazy just how influential these people were. Names attached include the DuPont family, the Remington family, and the aforementioned Prescott Bush. It sounds far-fetched, but it seems more likely when you find out that Henry Ford was an ardent support of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime. The support lasted until Ford, to his credit, found out about the genocide and immediately threw his full support to the destruction of the Nazi party.
I can’t say for certain Kojima had the Business Plot in mind when he created the Patriots, but the comparison is just too perfect. Now, the idea of evil businessmen plotting to overthrow democracy and institute a dictatorship is a well-worn trope, but the timeframe this occurred fits in perfectly with the rise of the Philosophers in the MGS timeline. Both groups are powerful businessmen who aim to influence the government towards their way of thinking, but the main difference between the Philosophers and the Business Plot is that the Philosophers are, at the onset at least, acting altruistically. They truly want to avoid the horrors of another world war and work together to avoid it. The Business Plot was from the onset, aiming to remove the threat of Roosevelt and forcibly institute a form of government the conspirators preferred. In this way, they are actually closer to the Patriots, who force the U.S. government under their heel, transforming the American society into a brainwashed mass. It was the Patriots who instituted a fascist society, albeit one that even the citizens who suffer under it are unaware of. Perhaps that’s what Kojima, in between breaking the fourth wall and throwing in increasingly annoying meta commentary every 4 seconds, wanted us to understand: the threats to our liberty and way of life that we should be the most afraid of are not the ones who come out right and say they’re a threat. It’s the ones who do so by actions instead of words we should fear. Until next time.