Friday, September 08, 2006

The view from this hill...........

As you have probably noticed, I'm a pretty moody guy. Especially over the last few months. I've had so many ups and downs it would be funny if it were not happening to me. You would think I was going through menopause or something!

Yesterday was one of those lows. No real personal reason to relate, but it came from just looking at the surrounding scenery in the world. For such a beautiful place it sure is f**ked up right now. Lets look at the various locations and you will see why I am down.

Lets start with the blogosphere and my own pitiful contributions to it. I had thought I might have penchant for writing, but it seems clear to me that I may, but getting lots of people to read it is an uphill slope. Furthermore blogs in general hardly seem, to me, the "cutting age New Media" they aspire to be. Seeing one of my favorite reads, Christopher Allbritton pack it in got me to thinking about this. Listen to his commentary on the current "state of the sphere" and see if you do not agree:

One thing I've learned from this war is that when it comes to Israeli-Arab relations, most people don't want the truth: they want words that conform to their preconceived notions. I.e., that Israel is a aggressive, colonial construct with designs on the Litani's water, or that
Hizbullah is full of bloodthirsty savages who don't deserve to live.

Neither or these caricatures is, of course, accurate. But subtlety doesn't seem to have much place in the blogosphere anymore, where you get the most attention and the most hits by putting out whatever half-assed opinion one can muster. You only have to shout loudly enough and play to whatever audience you want to get the attention. Blogging these days seems to resemble bad vaudeville rather than thoughtful commentary.

I never wanted that from blogs. I had a vision of blogs standing alongside the so-called mainstream media and being the garnish of a well-balanced media diet, as I said in a lot of radio interviews. I never thought of blogs as a replacement or actively hostile to the Big Guys. Considering my background, that would be ridiculous. I'm a journalist. I'm a proud mainstream media journalist. My background is with the Associated Press, the New York Daily News and TIME Magazine. I'm very proud to be associated with such publications now and in the past and I'm proud of the work they've done, with or without my contribution.

But now, it seems the blogosphere has become more concerned with "gotcha" politics and "fact checking your ass" , mantras by armchair photo analysts who have no clue about what happens in a war or how photographs are made and distributed. They just want to score points in what seems to be, at best, a debating club rather than real life and death situations. Congratulations, your team won. Yay. People are still dead, you know. It's happened in Iraq and it's happened here, and I don't really feel like being part of that culture any more.


Are you listening, Michelle Malkin, Daily Kos, LGF, or anyone of a host of other sites who condemn anyone who does not toe the acceptable, "War is noble" line? War is still an abonimation, you know. Especially when I have lots of friends who are called upon, or will be called upon to fight it.

Which brings me to the war in general. Now my purpose here today, is not to go over the arguements about the war pro or con--though to be correct, each of the FIVE, US managed, wars underway today needs to be examined individually, they are different-it's to do the math on who has to bear the burden.

When I was down in my "happy place" last weekend, I would walk around and watch people going about their daily lives. I envied them. They don't have to walk around living in fear they are going to be jerked away from their loved ones to go do time in the sandbox. They don't have to fear being called a coward by fellow professionals because one publically expresses opposition to the prospect. In fact they do not have to worry about being shipped off in their own army to any of the current hell holes. They can just live their lives, make money, spend money, drink, eat, sleep, have sex, read, and basically do the things human beings are supposed to do. Sure they have to be vigilant against the criminal terrorist threat, but that place has not been attacked in over 60 years nor do I think it will. They can focus on the life that people were meant to live.

Even in America, the math is terribly unfair. Do it yourself. There are about 3+million people who work in the Active armed forces, guard and reserves-military and civilians. For them the threat of being shipped to Iraq, Aghanistan, Horn of Africa, GTMO, and other luxury spots is very real. They have friends actually over there having to sweat and work and everything else. And after 5+ years there is still no end in sight. For the rest of the 265,000,000 Americans the war is jsut something distant they see on their TV's. Even if you extrapolate the families, that's still only about 20% of the country or less that have a direct connection. For the rest, put a yellow ribbon bumper sticker on the SUV, and drive on in the pursuit of happiness and the almighty dollar, spirtiual Nirvana, higher education, the golden years or whatever it is that floats their boat.

I sat at the bars in my "happy place" and listened to the businessmen talk. In several cases they have countrymen engaged themselves, but it was not their concern. Their conversation dwelt on the software, the contract they were going to get, or whether Filipinas were better in bed than Chinese. ( I vote for the Filipinas by the way........). War, what war? Even if they do think about it, its only in terms of what advantage it might bring to their companies or to their wallets.

But wait, you ask, is this not a world wide struggle against tyranny? Perhaps. Except it seems as if the world as a whole does not think so. Its too busy making a buck, Euro, Yuan, Yen, Rupee or RMB, take your pick.

What about a free, stable, Middle East? That will make for a better world for all. Stable democracies do not make war on one another. (I sure wish someone could explain India and Pakistan to me then). It takes time to do that. Sure it does, but I would ask again who exactly made it anyone's job but the citizens of the country that is seeking democracy? It will turn backward states into modern, female friendly, countries. We just have to stay the course. These are times that demand stout hearts. Never mind that people we are setting out to save, to date, have been more concerned about the politics of an apostate religion than on buliding their country.

I'm starting off on the road to rantville and I wanted to avoid that. So lets leave the Central Front for a while (does anyone remember what that meant during World War I? I doubt it or the adminstration would have picked a different metaphor.). Lets look at the rest of the world- progress to be seen every where right?

Iran- War appears to be looming.
North Korea- creaking along, but still dangerous-like an old dog with rabies.
Nigeria, imploding on itself, thank you very much. Another nation made a nation long before, or if, it ever should have been.
Lebanon- Beacon of the Arab Spring?
Palestine-ingovernable because it does not present the prerequisites for a stable nation. And their voters sure made a good choice did they not?
Kyrgistan? Still looking for a missing USAF Major..........

Moving closer to home-

Taiwan- Still a problem.
China- Outspending the US 4-1, but not to worry we will solve the problem with less ships, Sailors, and Aircraft. They will be diversified and transformed, so the disparity in numbers will not matter right?

I've not even gotten to Darfur or Columbia or Venezuela yet...............

However the good news is that we have offered tohelp India improve its nuclear weapons, because democracies don't make WMD.............(Someone has to explain that one to me again.)

I can hear it now. "Skippy, you are a whiner! We can handle it- because we have right on our side........". Maybe you are right.

But it will still be just that 4 million people out of a world population of 6 Billion to do all this heavy lifting. (Maybe 5 if I count the Europeans). The rest of the folks, either are in the way, or out of it. And if they are out of it, they are just going to get a free pass to continue minding their buisness. For the people I care about though? All they have to look forward to is war without end.

And if it ever does end, what will my home country have become?

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