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Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Perfect Storm: Iraq and its affects on us all

I don't know if The Perfect Storm title is appropriate, but it got your attention...I hope.

It seems since 9/11 that people are more afraid to express the idea of regret, wrongheadedness and blunders about the way America is going. If you attack (or critique, a better word) the way the United States has decided to take on issues, such as Iraq, then you somehow have betray the flag, apple pie and the spirit of our country.

On the contrary, I think you are expressing a sharper focus on the things we should be doing better. Because a nation of similar attitudes, biases and blindspots is doomed to miss opportunities, to advance, to improve and to foster better equality.

We lose perspective daily in this country. Between the media drowning us with frivolity, the message from leaders staid and the isolation we have driven to have amongst ourselves, no one has brought forth a coherent thought that people do not dismiss automatically due to some inherent value judgment made inside thirty-second time frame: the typical time we give all major decisions in our lives, just because it has become in vogue to do so. And with that, the objective amount of time, to fair review and to process of information has been shuffled away. No one thinks very long about it.

As an example, Iraq, an issue I can barely stand to talk about, seems to be a quagmire much like the Vietnam War. We are not welcome; our ideas are easily dismissed by Iraqi people; we are fighting a guerrilla war; even the alleged allies in the government are suspicious of future intents and have made alternative plans for our departure. And billions upon billions are being spent to what unfortunate end?

To further this problem, the enemy has our troops' unethical actions to prisoners as fuel. It has the Media's morose reporting to foster recruitment efforts of future enemies. It even has America's broadcasting of all our country's ills, decaying morality and dispicable behavior to reflect what "goes on" in our country. We provide the perfect propaganda to feed a willing young terrorist.

But we also forget this is a region that has long foster negative feelings due to our spread of Capitalism, Democracy and Christianity. The Middle East (aside from Israel) has had little positive actions since World War II ending. No matter how we approach the region, pitting one group, or country, or sect against those that refuse us - and our way of life - we soon find this particular side turns on us. We lose control of, or influence of, the side chosen.

It happened in the late 1970's in Iran. And we did support Osama in the 1980's against the Russians. Add to those missteps, the sole ally, Israel, has zero support from other Middle East nations, making us a very unwelcome visitor.

Lately, I find our stances, foreign or domestic, are in such chaos to what this country was built on, even through tumultuous times and circumstances, that most people are repressing their outrage, anger and dispair, only to soon release it in ways that are not healthy. (I have - and it isn't completely about direction of the country - but it is apart of it. Mine started even before 2001.)

We are becoming a virtual product of a fast-food, fast-talk, micro-computerized society, with video clips and TTYL attitudes. It seems fun until it become the standard to which we aspire, never (or barely) to reach anything higher. Within it, we function solely for ourselves. Outside of it, we barely conceptualize anything beyond a brief smile and appointment made to meet someone, or something else, probably a computer.

As an average blogger, I am as guilty of it as anyone that makes his living from the editoral pages ran for profit. But what has happen to solid discourse? Is it lost because we've gone too generic - too easy to make an opinion, post it or video tape it, and therefore, the totality has become a sea of sinking ideals, constructs and values?

Has our ability to empathize disappear? Are we just interested in our entertainment? Is our ability to care tied to how much profit can be found?

I am tired of using the word "hope" to describe what I surmise could be. I'd rather use, "it shall happen." But I am not confident in that hope.

To add to the morass, a pop song that sounds about like today's culture: Timbaland's "The Way I Are" (I actually like the backbeat keyboards...) The first words resonate: "State of Emergency..."

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