Postmodern classic?

Friday, February 16, 2007

Too much cynicism: time for a break?

Well, what to write. Here I am, approaching gainful employment soon enough and nothing to say. I've linked to a few articles of interest, but I think I'm about done with the blog for the moment.

Lieutenant General William Odom wrote an Opus this last Sunday on how we can't win in Iraq. Then he elaborates more on Hugh Hewitt's show on why we can't win anywhere- North Korea, Iran, Libya, etc... You really can't waste much more time on this guy. You'd think he'd have learned something from his years in the military. A typical candidate to make the case for 'Playing at War'. Let's wake up one day, in the midst of people shooting and trying to blow us up for the last 30 years that we've been ignoring, and do our best not to learn anything from our past failures; let's repeat the same exact mistakes and call it realism. Hard to believe, but this is what America pays more than a half a billion dollars on defense spending for. No wonder many others, in search of effective foreign policy, are looking to other options. A more articulate presentation of this dilemma is the Parameters article 'Toward an American Way of War' by LTC Echevarria, which argues that America doesn't have a way of war but of battle. A cursory glance at this brings up the possibility that the political stability of our republic that creates this 'bifurcation' and subordination of the military to the elected representatives is stabilizing politically, but short-sighted strategically.

So we have to leave it to others to make the case for 'victory' since our president sure doesn't seem up to it. That's what I think, until I actually hear what he says and read the transcripts of his speeches. This discrepancy is puzzling. Then I start to think those cynical thoughts about why doesn't his rhetoric get the amplification effect of say, Ahmadinejad or any other Arab/Middle East dictator with a smooth tongue. You'd think the President of the United States would be listened to, but evidently not. It comes back to politics, politics, politics... politics where myths of the Iraq war are presented as fact, 'anti-military' military experts are taken seriously, and other follies of the present day.

I'm too young to be this cynical. Fucking hell. Despite these great reports following events developing in the Philippines or light-hearted cultural commentary in other places, as well as a video of the Chinese soldiers killing the Tibetans. And here is a great article on the Chinese language, demolishing those old myths about the character 'danger', which actually means that: danger, as in not some weird crisis/opportunity philosophical kick. Or perhaps a brief history on the carbine, via Wikipedia. Instead I'll just stick to humor. Here is a funny Japanese multimedia presentation that follows your mouse, and some idealistic commentary on 'Solving Racism' and other things that college kids do. Or if you haven't heard any Chuck Norris jokes... you are a sorry son of a gun.

So: I don't expect to be around for a while. I'll be taking a hiatus from this while I wait and see what's next on the agenda for me. Cheers to all!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Supporting the troops but not the mission?!?

Ah, the blogosphere- where one's words are preserved in eternity. For better or for worse. While good portions of the blogosphere are anonymous, such as where you are visiting today, a growing portion chooses to use their actual names in order to have a more credible and approachable character. Using your name means that you stand behind your words. Which could be why journalism maintained it's character and reputation for so long. I stand behind mine, but I prefer the comfort of anonymity to avoid potential professional repercussions. I am not searching for some kind of sensationalist recognition, long-time readers know that this blog is more for my friends and family. Among those services I provide for my readers is to bring up the hot topics circulating in the blogosphere which might be missed in the major papers and media networks of our day, except maybe in tardy corrections or slyly-placed and obscure references. One of the nice things about blogs is that you can pretty much instantly check their references and make your judgment based on that aspect as well.

Today's topic is a certain William Arkin of the Washington Post, in some kind of position as a homeland security/military expert actually, having written an interesting little ditty about how the 'troops need to support America'. Innovative twist, let's just say... based on some video footage of troops grumbling to NBC Nightly News journalists visiting Iraq (Youtube footage here). I, and many bloggers with differing relationships to the military, felt that it was refreshing to hear our soldiers talk about how political differences back here affect them. However, our friend Mr. Arkin, has another perspective. Hint: political conflicts are not so abstract and sterile when you are at the point of the spear, but I digress. Oh, you should definitely read it.

I'm not going to jump on the bandwagon and offer my own refutation, since notable bloggers at QandO and Blackfive have already done so. Armed Liberal at Winds of Change has an interesting point of view as well, pointing out some of Mr. Arkins previous work (here too). John at OpFor really has the final say on it.
If there is a war that's unwinnable, it's the war on this type of horrid ignorance. The type of uniformed, intellectually lazy thinking that can only exist in the sheltered bubble of cocktail parties and classrooms. Arkin is a gazer. A man forever condemned to peering out the window into the real world, watching the exertions of men better than himself. And yet he fancies himself the educated one. Any logical human being would trade career in journalism for the expertise gained by serving a mere one month in the box, yet this slime fancies his opinion so informed, so expert, so utterly irrefutable that even the very soldiers who are fighting this war are shamefully ignorant for daring to challenge his infallibility.

That does seem to be the case in the current political climate. Our effete leaders cravenly following misleading polls and criminally warped media coverage to determine the fate of our military overseas. You expect that from one side, but the Republicans are now in the midst of this fever as well. In the words of the Roman rhetorician:
"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague."
--- Marcus Tullius Cicero quotes (Ancient Roman Lawyer, Writer, Scholar, Orator and Statesman, 106 BC-43 BC)

I'm going to do my best not to waste any more time on this issue. It's all out there on the web if you want to find it. I don't present this because I feel victimized by it's slanderous tone- my skin is thicker than that. I bring it for you to see and judge because I like to know of the face of those who would become my enemy, hiding under duplicitous Orwellian Newspeak, especially when that facade somehow slips in cases like this. But I wouldn't go so far as to say that this guy is treasonous. I'm just saying I wouldn't trust him in the foxhole next to me.