Wednesday, December 20, 2006


I work in the defense industry. As such, I try not to comment too much on the war in Iraq because I don’t want to sound biased – I’d be out of a job if the world somehow instantaneously agreed to eternal peace, love, and happiness. That would never happen, though, because conflict is an inherent human characteristic that will never disappear. Such is terrorism. Eliminating terrorism is impossible, so in itself the “War on Terror” conceptually is ludicrous. I think “War to Mitigate Terrorist Activity in the United States” (WMTAUS) is much more appropriate and in line with reality.

On September 11, 2001, the WMTAUS began, and perhaps three hippies disagreed with those actions at the time. Interestingly, in the years since, we’ve seen the war twist and turn and morph into something unrecognizable to most, and the dissenters have increased at an alarming rate. I support our Commander in Chief’s decisions, but I still have to look back and feel perplexed as to how the “Capture Bin Laden” initiative turned into the “Capture Hussein” initiative, and then the…what, now? There was “stay the course,” then “we never said stay the course,” which made no sense to me because I didn’t think there was anything wrong with staying the course as long as said course was “Capture Bin Laden and parade his captured, pathetic ass across all media outlets to let the terrorists know they’ll be hunted down and punished.” But I haven’t read about Bin Laden in ages. For all we know he could be sipping martinis in Zimbabwe because we don’t seem to be looking for him any more, or if we are, they aren’t telling us about it.

What I’m looking for these days is either a new acronym or more information about the existing WMTAUS. Getting back to the fact that I work in defense – while I always try to maintain a healthy dose of “speak for yourself – question authority” – I have been around a lot of authorities in defense, and let me tell you, these people know what they are doing. I find it impossible to believe that we’re puttering around overseas, not accomplishing anything, and simply losing American soldiers for nothing. Even the most embittered Bush detractor would have a hard time convincing me that our president (and the slew of smarter people that influence his decisions) would allow a war to incessantly carry on for no reason. Hence, we have a reason, hopefully an excellent reason, to be doing what we are doing overseas, but here is where the disconnect takes place: I think that the vast majority of Americans (including me) are unclear on exactly what the reason is.

Dear Mr. President: can we change the content of the information transfer that’s taking place these days? Let’s see – you have thousands of media outlets that are covering your decision to be at war, the advice you’re receiving from others, the critics berating your thick-headedness about staying (or not staying) a course that’s unmapped for most of us. These problems can be solved pretty easily – provide more information about the course. I can’t remember the last time I logged onto CNN and read an “Iraq Progress Report.”

“This week American soldiers killed 50 terrorists who were planning to blow up XX building in New York. We arrested 30 more who were terrorizing women and children in Iraq. We lost 20 American lives, but we saved 50,000 in our homeland as a result. We are still actively searching for Bin Laden.”

What an interesting concept. Clear, concise, informative. It’s just a little blurb, but I feel better about what we’re doing overseas already.

A side-note about said news blurb: clearly the Pentagon cannot release certain information because it’s top secret, or divulging said information would compromise American insiders’ safety. “Joe, our inside man posing as Osama’s masseuse, was SO CLOSE to getting us his whereabouts, but he couldn’t text message us before his battery died.” Not going to happen. It’s basic statistic evidence I think we need here – it’s hard to argue with numbers. And if someone in the press can show data that more troops have died overseas than Americans they potentially have saved, they’d have a great argument against the war. Go for it (Of course, yes, all of these arguments will be incredibly difficult to form because the amount of lives we have saved through our overseas presence is intangible and would be incredibly difficult to formulate, but I digress).

In the meantime, I’m growing tired of reading about whether we are going to increase troops, decrease troops, what the president read, who wrote it, when the new secretary of defense is meeting with military leaders to talk about our presence overseas…it just goes on and on, but none of these stories answer the most important question, the only question – why? Why should we take any of these actions? Why is being at war today helping us as a country?

I supported the war when we started it and I support it now because I believe our country is led by extremely intelligent people that know a hell of a lot more information than we do – most of which they probably cannot tell us. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try.


Blogger robby said...

the bush administration needs to hire some marketing people - maybe like "personal image consultants"? instead of spinning the war in a positive manner, they allow the media to spin it in any way that they want to, basically that the US is losing many lives and nothing is being accomplished. we, as drones, accept and believe what the media say. i mean, look at Cheney and Rumsfeld - it would not be appropriate to use "people person" in the same sentence with their names. of course, rumsfeld is out now, so that's a moot point, but you catch my drift...

perhaps they should hire me as an image consultant. "today in iraq 58 americans died in an ambush. fortunately, 10,000 black-market ipods bound for osama bin laden were seized and will be distributed to our deserving troops."

1:50 PM  

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