Tuesday, November 18, 2008

We're at War. Whose winning

My brother, Ron, the photographer/MBA, sent this picture to me taken of my Aunt Sally during WWII. He's digitalizing some of the old photos and I'm really thankful. When I showed this picture of my aunt to a glamorous friend, she wrote back, "your aunt looks like a fashion model." Growing up in Winnipeg that's what she always appeared to me. She'd fly in from Toronto bringing city cosmopolitanism to our prairie town where the radio reported the daily hog and wheat prices.
In the 40's she was working as a Canadian secretary for the WW II war effort in Washington DC. I remember her teaching me a valuable lesson about war, "I loved it," she said, "It was the most exciting time of my life. We felt badly for the boys going overseas but for those of us in Washington it was often such a terrific party."
I remember a radio operator stationed on a american submarine telling me the same thing about his Vietnam War years. "It was the best time of our lives in the Navy. It wasn't like the Vietnamese had a navy of their own so we just got to play with all this high tech listening equipment with little risk to ourselves. We felt badly though for those guys who were humping it in the jungle.".
Someone told me that for everyone in actual combat there were dozens if not hundreds profitting from their sacrifice. And the further away from actual battle you got the more money you could make from the war. Indeed it's always those who are somehow above war themselves who today who most recommend it.
Now we're at war. It's difficult to hold a position of pro military and anti war mongering but that's exactly where I stand. I have the greatest admiration for individual soldiers but increasingly see them being used for business rather than "peace keeping". It's the same attitude I have for the police knowing that individually they serve to keep the city safe but quite frankly find it offensive that so much of their work is sneaky tax collection rather than traditional 'law and order'.
As to the Canadians in Afghanistan, I'm thankful for Dr. Patterson's book "Outside the Wire." because it really brings home the complexity of this war. As with the Vietnam war, those who profitted from war said ,"either you're for us or against us. " It's always with this kind of primitive lizard brain reasoning that real discussion is silenced. Ad hominems (against the man) are perhaps the strongest evidence of a weak argument and one of the classic fallacies of rhetoric. The bumper sticker I saw this summer in Portland said, "I"m a patriot and that's why I'm against war!"
I heard Barrack say he was going to get America out of Iraq. Such promises in Vietnam years though preceded more military spending and death. Why find cures for cancer, build geodesic dome cities on oceans, develop space station solar power plants, study prayer and telepathy, move forward on the scientific teletransportation of matter, or have fair housing and employment when it's so much more fun to blow up people and things. A cruise missile costs a million or two a deadly firecracker. I don't think Lennon was wrong when he and Yoko did the Montreal bed in singing , "All we are saying, is give peace a chance. "
Given the extent of evidence that 9-11 certainly was, in part an inside job, and that the weapons of mass destruction were being made in Korea not in Iraq, surely a time out might be considered to see who had the most to gain and has gained the most from invading the wrong country. It's a toss up whether Wag the Dog or Art of War with Nicholas Cage is the best commentary on postmodern war.
However the Berlin Wall fell and America has a black man as president elect. I'm betting India will beat China to having the first man on Mars! This morning I was studying the findings of functional MRI's. Lizard spit is helping diabetics. Viagra works by giving the penis laughing gas. The Lord truly works in mysterious ways!
There is always hope. My Aunt Sally was a stalwart Baptist and always believed in a new day.

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