June 29, 2007

1,2,3 WHAT ARE WE FIGHTING FOR?

In keeping with yesterday's theme, what do Rosie O'Donnell and jihadists have in common? They both dress their kids up like insurgents.

Quiz: Which one is Rosie's kid and which one is the Palestinian?

rosie_kid.jpg

Would you be able to tell if the skin tones were the same?

The Palestinians mean it when they dress their kids up like this. I have no idea what Rosie was thinking. Supposedly she's anti-war, but the fact she dressed her kid up with bullets suggests that maybe there is something she'd be willing to let her kids fight for. Obviously it's not the United States, though.

(found via One-Sided Exposition)

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June 28, 2007

THE BEATLES

What do Lileks, Annika, and I have in common? We don't really get The Beatles.

I discovered The White Album when I was 12, and then heard everything else. That's doing it quite backwards, to say the very least. And I was a fan back then, from age 12 to about 15, buying cassette tapes and hanging out in freaking head shops downtown looking for memorabilia. But somehow a weird resurgence of Beatlemania hit my high school in 1995 and the Fab Four completely jumped the shark when the annoyingly popular girls from my school were camping out on the sidewalk outside Best Buy all night to buy the Anthology album. And got interviewed for the newspaper for it. I kinda dusted my hands off and thought, "Well, OK, that was fun while it lasted." I stopped listening to the most popular band of all time because they got popular. Heh.

But now, even though I'm old enough to not pick my music based on what's cool, I still can't listen to The Beatles anymore. I just don't feel the music. When I was 13, songs like "Mean Mr. Mustard" were cool because they were weird for the sake of being weird. Now they just feel weird.

I still very much enjoy the song "I Will." That's about it. I've come to think Quentin is right: I'm an Elvis fan, and you can't be both.

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June 27, 2007

HOORAY

Today I joined a group.

I went into a craft store to look for something for my mom, and naturally I cannot go in a craft store without sneaking into the yarn section. There I found a table with five older ladies knitting and crocheting. I immediately joined their club.

They call themselves the Fairy Godmothers, and they meet twice a month to knit and crochet little caps and sweaters for the preemies in the local hospital. I got patterns from them to get started on, and I can't wait until the next meeting.

I made five friends today. They're all my mother's age, but who's counting?

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ONE-SIDED BRIDGE BUILDING

Here's a fascinating blog post about a church that invited someone from the local mosque to speak to the congregation.

The stated purpose of the visit, from my church’s perspective, was printed in the newsletter: “In an increasingly fragmented world in which followers of other religions are often viewed with fear – how wonderful it would be to build bridges.” But when we’re told flatly, “Touch Mohammed and there will be riots,” it’s obvious that it’s less about bridge building and more about schooling us as to how we are and are not to behave to avoid what Muslims who think like our speaker believe are the reasonable consequences of offending Islam–or even the more “aberrant” consequences. Ironically, this pattern reminds me of radical feminists, whose aim is to curtail the behavior and speech of people, particularly men, whom they deem offensive. In both cases, this reveals an absolutely infantile grasp of human relations that insists you tightly align your behavior with their proscriptions because they simply cannot handle, or respond appropriately to, what you might say or do. Our speaker, in answering my questions about the Mohammed cartoons, asked vehemently and self-pityingly why we could not leave Mohammed alone, why Islam cannot have even one thing that is sacred from the opinions of others (my words). I remember pathetically wondering this myself when my sister wanted to play with my toys–when I was about eight. But this begs for control of the behavior of others rather than planning for measured responses of one’s own.

Read the whole thing.

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June 25, 2007

NOT HAPPY

So far I have been a fan of the Army Wives TV show. I think they do a decent job of portraying what our lives are like. But last night's episode didn't sit well with me at all.

In a nutshell, there was a situation where a sergeant took the lieutenant colonel's husband hostage because he was mad about events that happened in Afghanistan. It wasn't the hostage situation that I thought was bad; it was the events in Afghanistan.

According to this story, a "patrol" (no idea how many soldiers) was ambushed and was heavily outnumbered. This guy, the hostage taker, was wounded by shrapnel, so they left him in the Afghan village to be taken care of by the locals and went back to the FOB for reenforcements. But "because of the heat", they couldn't get back to rescue him for days, so the Afghan family took care of him. Once he was rescued, he vowed to come back and help the family. So this sergeant, his lieutenant colonel, and three other soldiers went back to the village to take medical supplies and food, only to find that 12 "heavily-armed" insurgents were burning down the house and raping the 10-year-old daughter in the middle of the street. Because they were outnumbered 12 to 5, and because "the Rules of Engagement are clear: do not interfere with civilian affairs", the lieutenant colonel told them to maintain their positions and stay hidden while they watched a child get raped and murdered.

OK, where to begin. I know I am not a soldier, and I know neither I nor my husband can possibly know all of the strange circumstances that arise in battle. But I cannot imagine any situation of any kind where a unit would leave a wounded soldier behind in an Afghan household. Period. And not for days on end because of the heat! It also seems ridiculous that a lieutenant colonel would roll around Kandahar with a four-man team. My husband's LTC had an entire platoon of entourage at all times, at least 20 men. It seems a bit of a stretch to me that anyone besides Special Forces types are going anywhere in our war zones with only five people! I just don't think that's realistic. So they would've never been outnumbered if they'd taken a proper number of soldiers on this mission.

Finally, the Rules of Engagement thing is not exactly the way my husband describes it. He quoted me a common rule of thumb: a unit might be authorized to use deadly force in circumstances where there is loss of "life, limb, or eyesight." He thinks the rape of a 10 year old in broad daylight would be grounds for a fight, especially if this child belongs to a family who is a known supporter of the American military operation. Again we go back to them being outnumbered 12 to 5, which I don't see ever happening, but my husband did say that in times when you might be extremely outnumbered, there might be cause to not intervene. But this whole "do not interfere with civilian affairs" thing was junk to him because, as he quipped, all al Qaeda types are civilians, so not intervening in civilian matters would apply to everything!

Yeah, yeah, Sarah, all this is just details. But this is the stuff that matters, in my opinion. Most of the people who don't like Army Wives are saying they don't like it because officers don't hang out with enlisted, because you wouldn't get a citation for not mowing on your first day in housing, because a female officer wouldn't be dancing drunk in a jody bar. They think all that stuff gives us a bad impression to civilian viewers.

What about the civilian viewers who now think that American soldiers will sit back and watch a 10 year old get raped and murdered? That our Rules of Engagement won't let us step in and prevent insurgents from killing an innocent family and burning their home? That we are married to men who sit by and do nothing while vile insurgents ruin people's lives? That's a far more dangerous picture to paint for civilians than whether we have all-rank tea parties.

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USEFUL IDIOT

Dear Cameron Diaz,

The next time you're in a country to "participate in a television show that celebrates Peru's culture," make sure you learn a little about the culture before you show up. Like learning that your Chairman Mao purse might tick the locals off, you know, since the Shining Path spent a decade killing Peruvians. And when you apologize with "The bag was a purchase I made as a tourist in China and I did not realize the potentially hurtful nature of the slogan printed on it," you reveal just what a dumbass you are. If you can't understand the hurtful nature of Mao Zedong, you really need to get a clue.

Sincerely,
Sarah

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WORKER BEES

When I have a knitting class scheduled, I have to call in to the store in the morning to find out if anyone has signed up. I am always amazed at how put-out the cashiers seem when I call. I am always cheerful and it only takes them a second to look it up. But I always get gruff, one-word grunts from these sullen people. Is there anyone in my class today? "Hang on. Nope. Click." Do they not know how rude they sound?

I work for Michaels. I make about $50 per month, which is so low it makes me laugh. I can spend that in supplies for the class. But I love teaching people to knit, and Michaels gives me that opportunity. So I do everything I can to make people happy in the store. I take people's email and phone numbers and go home to find information for them. I type up patterns for them. Currently I am helping an elderly lady change her lace pattern to a larger size. Not easy. And she already knows how to knit, so I get nothing out of it. I don't get paid to do it, and she'll never take a class from me. But I want her to have a good experience in the store. That's part of my job, right? They didn't hire me to be stingy and grumpy.

I taught my mother-in-law to knit when she visited, but she was having trouble with a stitch once she got back home. We were unable to figure out the problem over the phone, so she decided to drive up to her local Hobby Lobby to ask for a little help. She brought her needles and yarn and just wanted someone to watch her to see what she was doing wrong. They refused to help, saying it was against store policy to spend time helping customers on individual projects. Have you ever heard anything so ridiculous? My mother-in-law put the yarn back on the shelf that she was intending to buy and left. They could've taken ten seconds to help her purl and then would've made $15 in sales. Instead they got nothing.

I don't understand most workers. Yeah, it may just be your crappy minimum wage job to answer the phone, but your grunts and gripes aren't even worth eight dollars. Take some stinkin' pride in what you do instead of doing the bare minimum, and think about something larger than yourself for five minutes. You represent a company, and they don't owe you a paycheck for mediocrity.

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THEY HATE US

At the risk of repeating myself for a third day and using again the phrase Aristotelian gods, here is a prime example of lefties looking down their noses at us country bumpkin Republicans and saying that they know so much better than we do what's good for us:

Even with the low poll numbers, liberals still feel stymied in conveying just how bad this administration is. It's been the ultimate frustration to consider the people who don't see Bush's malevolence: In 2004, rural America cited national security as their number one reason for voting for Bush. But people in the major cities, where there's actually a chance of being victimized by terrorism, people voted against Bush. Frustrating. In the cities, where most people are utterly at two with nature, people cited Bush's raping of the environment as a major reason to vote against him. In rural America, where people fish and hunt and generally do things outside, they voted for Bush. Sooooo frustrating. On Sutton Place and in Harvard-Westlake, where kids go to college after high school, they vote against Bush. In rural America, from where the majority of tragically killed kids in Iraq soldiers come, they vote for Bush.

And if that's not enough, let's throw a big heaping tablespoon of malice in with the condescention. Malice and condescention pie, yummy.

You could argue that even the world's worst fascist dictators at least meant well. They honestly thought were doing good things for their countries by suppressing blacks/eliminating Jews/eradicating free enterprise/repressing individual thought/killing off rivals/invading neighbors, etc. Only the Saudi royal family is driven by the same motives as Bush, but they were already entrenched. Bush set a new precedent. He came into office with the attitude of "I'm so tired of the public good. What about my good? What about my rich friends' good?"

This is how they see conservative values, folks. We're worse than fascist dictators. We really don't believe in things like supply-side economics; we just make policy like that up because we want to screw as many people as we can. We want to help rich white guys and blow up the levees around black guys. Bwahahaha.

The comments section would be funny if I didn't know it was true. They really think we don't care about the troops, hate Mexicans, look to our "pastors" for voting advice, seek to destroy the Constitution, and that AM radio is the same thing as Hitler's Beer Halls.

I really don't understand how human beings' brains can be hardwired so differently.

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June 24, 2007

THE VILLAGE

If you haven't seen the movie The Village and you still plan to see it, don't read this post.

I don't do scary movies. I hate them. But when I saw the preview for The Village years ago, I always wanted to be brave enough to watch it. I finally did yesterday, and I'm really glad I did. It wasn't really that scary...at least not in the way a horror movie is supposed to be. On the contrary, the ending reveals something far scarier than monsters.

The Shyamalan™ ending isn't nearly as gut-socking as the revelation of opening the Box of Secrets: Utopias only work at gunpoint. A select few act as "Aristotelian gods" (what a delightful new phrase I've learned) and decide how the masses should live, but the only way they can enforce their society is through manipulation and fear. And though they think their society more moral and just than the outside world, it is a society based on lies. These things play out in the real world; I just didn't expect such a lovely allegory in this movie.

And naturally I found the exact opposite of the River Kwai experience when I looked up reviews of the movie: people hated it. Obviously I don't have the same opinion on what makes a compelling story as the majority of movie reviewers! But I personally think if they hated it, they missed the forest for the trees.

Or maybe, if I may be so snarky, they're the type of people who really think we could live in peace and harmony if we halted all progress, with some college professor to lead the way.

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June 23, 2007

ECONOMICS

My husband came home from work with a small book called A Student's Guide to Economics. He breezed through it, since he's taken more econ classes than one human should take, and handed it to me. It's a little 50-pager about the evolution of economic trends from Adam Smith to Milton Friedman. I thought it was fascinating and quite accessible, so I thought I'd mention it here in case someone else is interested in an afternoon of light economics reading!

My favorite passages came from the section "Ignorance and Self-Interest," in which Heyne writes about people who propose policy as if they were "Aristotelian gods":

They grossly underestimate the amount of detailed knowledge that has to be used to provide food and housing for the inhabitants of a city; to assure enough but not too many physicians, plumbers, poets, and airline pilots; to make electricity and telephone service available to everyone; to maintain processes of discovery that will provide new and valuable answers to old problems of discomfort, disease, and disaster.
The dramatic failure of socialism that could no longer be denied at the end of the twentieth century was not, as many seem to believe, a consequence of the fact that people are selfish and put their own interests ahead of the interests of society. It was a consequence of the fact that no one is omniscient. We put our own interests ahead of the interests of most of those with whom we interact because we know what our own interests are, but do not even know the identities of most of the people with whom we cooperate every day.
...
The basic principles of economics will not be readily understood or appreciated by people who believe that economic theory explains the operation of an essentially immoral society, one governed by selfishness or dominated by the desire of "material welfare" rather than "human welfare." ... People who talk this way literally do not know what they are talking about.

Mmmmm. And there's more deliciousness where that came from.

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HMMMM

Found a very old Grim's Hall post I missed the first time around:
"The secret of social harmony is simple: Old men must be dangerous."

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June 22, 2007

BRIDGE ON THE RIVER WHY

Tonight we watched The Bridge on the River Kwai. Never have I seen such glowing reviews for a movie I disliked so much. None of the characters were even remotely honorable. Heck, none of the characters even existed; for a movie that was supposedly based on historical events, it sure played loose with the facts. 16,000 Allied POWs died building that stupid bridge, and the movie didn't show a single one. Oh, did I say POW camp? I meant Happy Camp, where Japanese and British got along swimmingly. What a load of crap. If I were one of those real-life POWs who surreptitiously tried to sabotage the construction and survived the war only to find a movie made ten years later in which I collaborated with the Japanese and built them a purty lil' bridge, I'd be pretty f-in' steamed. And to sit through a movie where the main message is that all soldiers are mad, war is pointless, and bad guys and good guys are all the same deep down? I'd be out of my mind.

You remember how Neil was looking into publishing a book based on his Armor Geddon blog? You know why he didn't publish it? Because no one was buying what he was selling. They wanted more "internal conflict." They wanted him to struggle with his role in the war and the world. They didn't want to hear that the only regret soldiers like Neil have is that they weren't able to kill more bad guys.

War does not make all men go mad and lose their sense of right and wrong. But apparently making a movie in which they do will get you a 95% approval rating.

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June 21, 2007

HUH?

I'm always amazed at what people will name their children these days, but this one takes the cake: Pair told not to name son '4real'. Apparently we're so advanced in weirdness that numerals seem like a possibility.

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WE CAN DANCE IF WE WANT TO

Via Photon Courier, an article about the effect of protecting children too much:

Children are so cocooned by their parents that they rarely venture far from home and have little concept of space, volume and how the world actually works, David Willetts, the shadow education secretary, said yesterday.

The area in which children were allowed to range freely by their parents was a ninth of what it was a generation ago, he said.

CaliValleyGirl and I have discussed this at length and how we hope to address it when we have our future children. And boy do I think it's tricky today.

Remember when Lileks wrote about the new Winnie the Pooh character?

This year the new Pooh series will introduce a six-year old girl in Christopher’s stead. I’m sure she’s spunky and adventurous and kind and empowered, and I’m just as sure my daughter will find her boring, because kids can smell pedantic condescending twaddle nine mile off. (It’s one of the reasons many girls love Arthur – his little sister is sixty-five pounds of smart, devious, narcissistic, naughty sass.) Here’s the part that makes me truly sad:

The little girl wears a bike helmet.

Because you could fall down in the 100 Acre Woods and hurt yourself.

I swear, they’re going to put airbags on Barbie’s Pegasus next, and require thick corks on the point of all unicorn horns.

That's how ubiquitous safety has become: cartoon characters need helmets.

On my last day of fifth grade, my mom let me ride my bike to school. Some of my friends who lived closer to the school got to ride their bikes often, but we lived in a neighborhood that was further away and so I was a bus-riding kid. (Oh, and every day my brother and I walked down the street to the bus stop and waited alone.) But finally my mom said I was old enough to earn the right to ride my bike to school. I just google mapped it, and it seems I rode roughly two miles. And I felt SO COOL. I was one of the big kids now. I was independent. I had Done Something Awesome. And without a helmet.

My mom and I talked about that not too long ago. She says looking back she can't believe all the parents let their kids ride bikes to school. And she's not sure she'd let me do it today. Even she has a hard time remembering when cartoon characters didn't need helmets.

I needed to ride that bike to school. Heck, I still remember it. As a crowning achievement, as a milestone, as a step on the way to Growing Up. The thing that scares me is wondering if I will be able to let my kids take those steps too.

"A study by the Children's Society found 43 per cent of [British] adults thought children should not be allowed out with their friends until they were 14 or over." And apparently there's a debate in England over whether kids should be allowed to climb trees.

I fell out of a tree once. I also broke my front tooth playing tag once. I broke a kid's finger playing flag football in school. And once I fell in a ravine and couldn't get out, which was perhaps one of the scariest moments of my childhood. And I didn't tell my parents about it because I didn't want to lose my freedom to go play near the ravine.

I don't have kids yet. I nearly had a heart attack when brand new Charlie puppy ran out into the street in front of a car, so I know that I am going to battle overprotection. But it's a battle I'm going to have to have with myself if I want my kids to at least grow up with the independence I had, much less what my parents had.

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June 20, 2007

DEVIL'S ADVOCATE

Surprise, surprise, Michael Moore thinks 9/11 was an inside job. The only thing he said that shocked me was at the end of his rant:

MOORE: See, I’m not very good at the physics and all that. But believe me, the questions need to be asked.

I'm amazed that he even admitted that he has no idea what he's talking about. You think that might have something to do with why he still has questions? But apparently it doesn't matter what the answer is, only that the question gets asked. Repeatedly. Reminds me of something Bill Whittle recently said (er, recently in Bill Whittle Time):

"We're just asking questions" was the official, voice-over disclaimer. You hear that too from the 9/11 Truth crowd when confronted with the lunacy of their claims. We're just asking questions... Well, in that vein I'd like to ask some questions myself. Is Michael Moore a serial pedophile? I'm just asking, and I'm sure a lot of my readers would just like to have some questions answered. I heard that Rosie O'Donnell ate a baby at a Satanic Ritual once -- is that true? Can you please provide the evidence that this did not in fact happen? Thanks. Who has murdered more hookers: Bill Maher or Charlie Sheen? Come on, you can't tell me there's no smoke there. I just want a possible explanation...

I think it's a rare gift to know how not smart you are. I've met way more people who think they're smarter than they are than people who underestimate themselves. And a sure sign of thinking you're hot stuff is to argue these stupid devil's advocate ideas.

My husband has had the delightful fortune of running into several people like this lately. These people don't know anything about economics or business, yet they claim that the Chinese are gonna screw us on treasury bonds. It could happen, I'm just sayin'. Do you know how these bonds work? Well, not exactly. These people don't know a Sunni from shinola, but they claim to know all sorts of stuff about Iraq's civil war. They don't know thing one about how corporations operate, but they sure do seem to know a lot about how well Halliburton is doing. I'm just sayin', as I shrug my shoulders and grimace, it's probably a war for oil. Your evidence? Oh, you have none. And you don't care enough to go find any either.

My husband and I decided it would be more pleasant to discuss these issues with Markos Moulitsas than with any one of these devil's advocate people. At least you know where you stand with Kos and you know he will bring his A game. But how do you carry on an intelligent discussion with someone who thinks Manufacturing Consent might be how the world works but doesn't know anything about business, the media, or even Noam Chomsky himself? Noam who? And what's a blog? Yeah, you're a prime candidate in a debate on the media's stranglehold.

Devil's advocate arguments are the refuge of the intellectually weak. If your whole side of the debate consists of question marks and I'm-just-sayin's, then you need to work a little harder. And you need to stop holding strong opinions about things you don't understand.

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June 19, 2007

HOPE

The title of this one is all you need...
Iraqi Orphanage Nightmare: U.S. Troops Discover And Rescue Orphan Boys Left Starving, Chained To Beds
The photos made me weep. They're concentration camp liberation for my generation.

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June 18, 2007

MILITARY READS

After the Milblogs Conference, CaliValleyGirl wrote:

Since my boyfriend/fiancé has returned, I have distanced myself from the Milblogging community. Not really on purpose, but just because once my soldier returned I wanted to celebrate his being home, act like we were a “normal” couple, doing normal couple things
...
When he was deployed I knew everything that was going on, the names of operations, the areas of operations, how things were going in these areas. I would check the names of fallen soldiers and read about their lives. I read milblogs religiously. I sought out new connections, searching for degrees of separation. I lived and breathed the war on terror. And I was shocked, shocked I tell you, that other people didn’t share my fervor in following all things combat related.

I often complain that war is too distant from the general public. Because of the deployments, soldiers clock-in and then clock-out of the war. They aren’t in war mode the whole time. And consequently their families aren’t in war mode. I complain about the general public lacking the passion to fight this war, but I realize that I am just as much part of that problem. As soon as my boyfriend came back, I clocked-out.

Over the weekend, I realized that if you aren’t a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem. I had subconsciously become one of those people who lives as if we aren’t at war. And part of me thought that in 2 ½ years things might be over in Iraq and Afghanistan, and my fiancé won’t be deploying again. That this war doesn’t really directly affect me anymore. Over the weekend I realized that I hope my fiancé deploys again in 2 ½ years. Because if he doesn’t deploy, it means that we have given up.

I can completely understand her feelings here. And I applaud her for expressing them so honestly; when I tried to bring this up once on SpouseBUZZ, it didn't work out so well.

I still spend roughly the same time online as I did when my husband was deployed, but the hunger for frontline stories isn't as deep as it was when he was gone. Back then I needed to feel connected to Iraq in a different way than I do now. And while I am just as emotionally invested in the outcome of the war, I know that I too am half-clocked out. Or at least enjoying the idea that I have the luxury of being half-clocked out until next year.

But I am trying to reconnect with what I've let go since March 2005. So I offer some military reads today.

Read this day in the life of Greyhawk.
Read this old Matt Sanchez story if you missed it.
And read this encounter with a suicide bomber from Tadpole.

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HEH

Mark Steyn:

There are immigration laws on the books right now, aren't there? Why not try enforcing them? The same people who say that government is a mighty power for good that can extinguish every cigarette butt and detoxify every cheeseburger and even change the very climate of the planet back to some Edenic state so that the water that falleth from heaven will land as ice and snow, and polar bears on distant continents will frolic as they did in days of yore, the very same people say: Building a border fence? Enforcing deportation orders? Can't be done, old boy. Pie-in-the-sky.

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June 17, 2007

LOVE AT FIRST LINK

Matt Sanchez asked the other day about the Deskmerc quote I keep up over on the sidebar: "While our troops go out to defend our country, it is incumbent upon us to make the country worth defending." I know that Deskmerc wrote it in my comments section a long time ago, but I can't find it and think it might have been back on blogspot, and all of those comments are long gone. But it so impacted me at the time that it became sidebar-worthy.

A google search comes up with quite a few hits for the quote, which means Deskmerc has made a name for himself!

I emailed him to joke that he was getting quite famous, and he emailed me back the following explanation behind the quote:

A physicist (Robert Parks, I believe, I may have him confused with someone else) was asked before a congressional committe in the 80's about the Superconducting Supercollider. Reagan had authorized federal funds be spent on the project ("Go deep", he said, and everyone assumed that meant "Build it.") The committee was asking the physicists all sorts of questions, such as "Will this cure cancer? Can this be used to defend the country? Are there any practical applications for this multibillion dollar device you want the taxpayers to fund?"

The physicist (I'm paraphrasing here) replied with "No, it will not cure cancer, and there are likely very few practical applications to the SSC. And it will not help defend the country. What it will do, is provide a tool to increase our knowledge of the universe around us, and in doing so, make our country worth defending."

So that kinda stuck on me for a long time, sitting in the background of my head waiting for some more context to pounce, I suppose. And along came a war in 2003 and many folks of many political stripes engaged in the "chickenhawk" accusation. If you aren't military, then you should have no opinion on the war, that sort of thing, and if you support the war, then you should go fight it!

But that's asinine, of course, and we all know that. Many people have no reason to join the military and fight, they can't or they just aren't up to it, and not everyone is. But there are different kinds of support that anyone can engage in, and probably the most important one is simply to be a good citizen, work hard at your job, whatever it may be, produce good products, turn out well rounded students, keep the gas flowing at market prices, mow lawns, sweep streets, babysit technical illiterates on the phone because they have purchase technology four times smarter than they are, was cars, fix cars, answer phones, WHATEVER, just do a good job. Do they BEST job you can, no matter how small, because in the end, it does matter to the guys on the pointy end of the stick.

I found, that after coming home in 92, that I could have cared less in many respects who won the recent election (Clinton? Who is he?) What mattered to me is that I came home safe, we did our job, my family was there when I stepped off the plane, and cheeseburgers hadn't been legislated out of existence. What sort of country will this current crop of military men come home to? Will it be a country where nobody did anything because we're too busy yelling at each other to accomplish anything, or will they come home at least to a place where everyone did their jobs?

There are guys out there who are getting blown up, stabbed, shot at, run over, dragged around. They put up with it because that's the job (anyone who joins the military not realizing this is an idiot) and the job is very satisfying, in the end, especially when we kick ass and win all the time. But what's more satisfying is that part when you come home and everything is still there (except when they build a new mall or something, and you wonder how the hell kids can grow up so fast these days) The only way that can happen, that coming home satisfaction, is if everyone does their part back home. Without that, what's the point in fighting in the first place?

So, while these guys go out and get shot at to make sure I can still have a job myself (I doubt certain Islamist factions would allow monster datacenters to be operated with impunity, especially if it has lots of porn, if they had their way) then I can damn well do my job the best I can. Like it or not, agree or disagree with the fundamental reasons for going to war or even fighting in general, these guys lay it on the line every day. Its not a rationalization, its an objective fact: without a military, none of us would be here. Its an uncomfortable fact for some who advocate for Departments of Peace, but that is the way of things. The least any of us can do to thank these people is to make the best of the jobs we can do, not litter, and keep the cheeseburgers coming.

We can all disagree on fundamental points of policy. We can even advocate withdrawing if that is the wish of the plurality. It is, however, a disgrace be a slacker, because for the professions that cocoon slackers from the rest of the world, slack is not an option.

It's rare when you can remember the exact first blog post you ever read from a blogger, but I know exactly how I found Deskmerc (it was his sadly defunct Cthulhu joke), and I've adored him ever since. His quote and the tank he made me are just two of the ways he's so awesome.

Spread his quote. And make our country worth defending.

Posted by: Sarah at 07:00 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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WELL SAID

Found a comment over at Buzz.mn that narrowly applies to seatbelt laws but broadly applies to almost everything we cover in the blogosphere:

Anecdotal Evidence Can Be Fun!
Submitted by jhugart on Thu, 06/14/2007 - 12:36am.

My dad used to wear seat belts only when he was driving on the interstate; he explained it by saying he could hold on to the steering wheel at lower speeds.

Then one day he was driving to the interstate, and had his belt on. Another driver ran a red light and smashed into his car, rolling it, and shaking him up a lot. He was uninjured, which all agreed would not have been the case had he been unbelted. From that point on, he always wore a seat belt.

For my part, I always put on the belt, and expect passengers to do so as well. I used to get the response, "Oh, I trust your driving!" My reply was, "It isn't my driving we're worried about." That always resulted in a thoughtful look and the click of the belt.

The entertaining part about anecdotal evidence is that it is great for supporting something you already believe in. If you believe seat belt use is a good idea, you can find stories to back it up. If you think seat belt use is dangerous, you can find stories to back that up.

Humans being human, I suspect that no scientific assessment of seat belt use, non-use, accidents, injuries, and fatalities would sway people from whatever positions they have already adopted. They are much more likely to be affected by a friend or relative who survived because of behavior X, whatever it happens to be.

The short answer is that there are all sorts of ways to die with a car involved. You can do your best to protect yourself, but sometimes you can get killed in spite of those efforts...and other times you can survive in spite of what may seem terminal stupidity. C'est la vie.

Jacob

(Thanks to this ColdFury post for leading me there.)

Actually, it reminds me a lot of something that's been bugging me immensely lately over at SpouseBUZZ: the idea that the new Lifetime series Army Wives is unrealistic because officer wives would never deign to hang out with enlisted wives. I say that my three best friends in Germany were all enlisted wives, and someone else says that in her entire Army life no officer wife has ever once spoken to her. And so our anecdotes cancel out. Ace says nicely today that "the plural of 'anecdote' is not 'data'", and I don't know if there's any data out there on this subject, but it sure does bother me to read over and over that I am too snobby and uppity to ever be friends with my three best friends.

Posted by: Sarah at 06:15 AM | Comments (9) | Add Comment
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