Thursday, June 22, 2006

Couldn't Wait...

Well, folks, I wasn't planning to post again until I could give you all a link to the first appearance of my book. But I couldn't wait. See, I've been thinking again. And that's always dangerous. Puts me in a foul, foul mood whenever I pay attention to what's going on in our world. So I've got to get some of this ire out before it makes me really sick.

Share my misery! C'mon, it'll be fun!

Here we go...

Someone on the Huffington Post commented on a photo he saw of an ecstatic newly molded soldier embracing his commander in chief. See it here:

Like me, the blogger feels that he and the soldier must be living in completely different worlds. We are, man, we are. I commented on the thing, and here's what I said:

"It's sad to see people who are considered nothing but cannon fodder going ga-ga over the guy who'd willingly throw their lives away for fun and profit.

"Before you armchair hawks start giving me crap about it, I'm the daughter and granddaughter of real life military grunts (not officers) and can count at least a dozen military people among friends and family. So I know whereof I speak when I say...

"This 'fighting to preserve our freedoms' crap is nothing but military propaganda used to make the cannon fodder feel good about their sacrifices. Don't kid yourselves. If we weren't so utterly spoiled and self-indulgent, if our leaders weren't such pseudo-royal jerks, and if we didn't vomit our cultural ideas all over the rest of the world while sucking up the vast majority of its resources to maintain our outrageous standard of living... If not for squandering all the global good will turned our way time and again, we wouldn't NEED to have our freedoms protected by throwing everything our military has at a country the size of New Jersey. The US military exists in its current form as an economic crutch. And the lives of its soldiers are no more valued by the guys in charge of 'human resources' than are any other tool in the arsenal.

"My freedoms are not being protected right now, anyway, except perhaps by the Coast Guard. If we were attacked directly by the Chinese army (perhaps seeking repayment of the billions we now owe them thanks to this war), the current people in charge wouldn't have a clue what to do about it."

Katrina and 9/11 pretty much showed how well the blokes in charge can handle a real live threat to "the homeland."

But that got me thinking even more as the day went on after that... Quite distracted, I was in fact. And here's the thing. I've heard this argument many times from various family members (mainly) and others too that the world is out to get America and the only reason we're not all speaking Russian or German or what-have-you is because of the courageous efforts of our great and powerful military. This goes hand-in-hand with the support-the-troops thing, and is to be expected in a family with so many members having been said troops. (No officers, mind you, just privates and the like.)

And make no mistake, I do NOT blame "the troops" for what's going on politically right now. In fact, it is their commanding officers I blame somewhat, and going up the chain of command to the decision-makers. Deciders, if you will. But here's the thing. I've had it up to here [picture hand and throat] with this double-standard superiority/sacrifice image we give the military. In the movies, in the propaganda, you name it. Civilians don't know anything about how the world really is, and only our brave and gallant troops out there defending freedom are in the know, and we're ungrateful louts who barely deserve said protection.

Never mind that it's mostly civilians whe are involved in the economic alliances that bind the world together, and that many of us have been to other countries and met other people in real life...

But let's be honest. How many countries are there in the world? And how many of them have smaller militaries than ours? And how many of them are currently being pounded into shit by opposing armies? Guess what? It's a biological imperative to stay alive and not take stupid risks for no reward. Countries don't go to war every freakin day just 'cuz they know the other guy can't fight back. Yes, it happens. It has happened. But the percentage of countries who've done so vs. those who haven't shows that it's the anomaly. It takes raging stupidity to throw your citizens and your resources at something like that.

Our Fearless Leader would have us believe that Muslims "hate our freedom and want to destroy it." Well, that's so totally off-base, it's laughable. They don't hate our freedom. Lots of people are JEALOUS of it, yes. Thus the immigrant issue. But hate it? No.

What do they hate? I kinda' listed it in my Huffington Post comment. They hate that we get to live the highest standard of living on Earth just 'cuz we're 'murkins... They hate that we're bullies and push everyone else around economically and militarily, etc. They hate that we suck up resources like a giant Hoover vac... They hate our arrogance. They hate many aspects of our culture that we ourselves hate: nasty porn (nothing like the stuff they put on regular TV in some parts of Europe, BTW), excessive violence, consumerism/materialism, greed, waste, etc. In many ways, in fact, what Republicans claim to hate about our culture is what fundamentalist Muslims hate about it. Except for the stuff that makes them money.

So what keeps people from sending their armies in and taking our stuff? The largest standing army on Earth belongs to China, which is utterly opposed to our way of life and also happens to be our largest creditor. Why haven't they sent a million guys onto our Pacific beaches? Is it our glorious military?

Much simpler than that. We have nuclear weapons (and so do they, BTW, which is probably why we haven't tried to stamp them out yet), and we've shown that we're happy to use them. Our military's kinda' tied up elsewhere now, in fact, and has clearly shown the world that it can't even handle a country the size of New Jersey. If anything, the Iraq situation is making it very clear to everyone else that we're nigh unto incompetent when it comes to such things. It's almost like hanging out a big "Come get us, we're idiots" neon sign over the Statue of Liberty. (I posit that our Fearless Leader knew damn well there were no WMDs there, or he'd never have gone there. It's the only real deterrant.)

No one dares to come after us 'cuz we're big, mainly, and that makes military actions here very difficult. We have a fantastic infrastructure thanks to FDR's new deal and other massive public works projects. You know, big government. Also we have The Bomb and aren't scared to whip it out. You can thank Einstein and Oppenheimer and a bunch of other scientists for that, BTW, not the military. The only other thing that keeps us safe is our numerous alliances, both political and economic. So many different countries have a stake in the US, it's not even funny. We'd only have to worry if they, I don't know, maybe all ganged up against us and demanded the money we owe 'em or something.

Unfortunately, the current administration believes that alliances are for pussies. They obviously don't give a damn what anyone else thinks about us or what we do, unless that's someone who has something we want. And they're just as likely to say "Screw 'em," take their shit in the name of liberation, and set up housekeeping in their capital city than possibly consider what they might want themselves.

Why are we farting around in the middle east when a lunatic leader in North Korea is brandishing very real WMDs in our direction? Because he doesn't have anything we want. And because we can take care of the so-called threat he presents by tossing a couple of bombs his way. No troops necessary.

Ah, yes. Back to the troops thing. I know more people who washed out of the military for whatever reason than who are successful there. But both, OK, so I've paid attention to both sides of that equation. And the fact is that our military is nothing but an economic crutch, a political bargaining chip, and worst of all a collection of human cannon fodder whose leaders will throw away like garbage on the whim of a holy war.

Support the troops? I ache for them. I'm disgusted and personally guilt-ridden over the exploitation of them that I see, that I tacitly allow. Never mind that I can't do a damn thing about it. But I sure as hell don't support it. Not that. It's the way of the world, man, but that don't mean I gotta' like it.

2,500 is "just a number." So's 100,000 (the approx. number of Iraqi casualties, both combatants and noncombatants). So's $350 billion. So's 1984. And freedom's just a word. Sorta' like peace and prosperity, security and privacy, life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The people in charge right now don't care about any of these things. If the numbers aren't attached to dollar signs, positive dollar signs on their own personal balance sheets, then none of it matters.

The past few years have done nothing but convince me that the world is packed full of stupid people.


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