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Rant #160
(published January 1, 2004)
Love Me Some Death Money Ecstasy
by Our Anonymous Friend in the Sand

(Editor's Notes: This piece is in reply to Theoderic, King of the USA by Fritz Garner Swanson.)

O.K., Fritz, you sound a little angry. I feel your anger may be misplaced. You seem to have a few misconceptions about this whole global war on terrorism thing. I would like to start by addressing what I see as your misconceptions, then I will attend to the more specific concerns you outline in your rant.

I understand your skepticism of our current government after the last elections, given the track record of scandals and debauchery going on in the White House and, hell, everywhere in our country. On this matter, however, I would like to make the suggestion of comparing the frequency (not the severity) of scandal in your own life. Few of us know anyone who has not done something they shouldn't have. The difference in severity should be expected in comparison to the positions these people hold— it is a cut-throat business, and sometimes throats are cut. I urge you, when you think about the "global war on terrorism" or our military and government in general, not to assume that it is a scandalous simply because there may be scandalous people involved or even actual scandals occurring. These things are inevitable in all aspects of life. Every college campus, religious organization, political party and American household has had its share of shady business. This does not excuse these actions or the individuals, but you can not hold the organizations and ideals they represent responsible.

I get the sense that many people believe that this war is pointless or unjustified. Superfluous, it may be. Unnecessary it is not. The idea is to put an end to senseless violence. The method which the powers that be chose and which, at least initially, American people supported to accomplish this is simply to fight fire with fire. Somebody started a fire in our back yard. To prevent future fires we are going to start a series of controlled burns around the perceived threat and prevent it from spreading. This is a crude metaphor for a complicated issue, but for our purposes I think it should suffice. This may not be the best course of action but I have yet to hear a viable and effective alternative from the mouth of any nay sayers. I shouldn't even have to mention why there is a need for action; that Event has had enough attention. For those who say that our nation's actions are accomplishing nothing to this end, I can only say, as a participant, I have seen and produced evidence to the contrary.

If you really believe there is some great circle jerk of assholes deciding the fate of the world and exploiting the masses for their own purposes, I think you may have read the Illuminatus Trilogy one too many times. If that is the case, you may have picked up on the idea that large social groups tend to have a mind of their own. So, I suggest that if such a great circle jerk exists they are not bending the masses to their will so much as profiting from the will of the masses. In doing so there may be some wholly ridiculous scandals taking place but I would dare to say they are only sideshows. They are the commercials for the new gadgets you want to buy that you see between news anchors spewing out the endless live coverage of the war on terror.

You ask Who will fight the next great war? Who will drive the super tank? Who will push the button? The answer is no one. That is what the masses want. That is what they are getting. It may be hard to accept that when all you see on the news is sexy 3-d graphics depicting some far-flung conflict. Our television sets may have become more graphic over the years (again that is what the masses want), if you look past it you will see that combat has not. Compare the number of deaths with our increase of technology and you will find the meat grinder you speak of is grinding less meat more efficiently. That may sound harsh, but it is not nearly as harsh as the realities of previous wars. The deaths you see on the news are no less tragic, but they're being reported in much smaller numbers than Vietnam or WWII. Although death has not and may never be removed entirely from conflict, its role is diminishing. This is due to the "money shots" like the stealth bomber and its smart bombs, as well as all the fucking better-than-rave-quality death money Ecstasy the companies who produce "surgical strike" technologies are getting for their contribution. Maybe we are spending a ridiculous amount of taxpayers money but what price can you put on the lives they are saving. (If you would like to argue the point that these technologies are saving lives I would like to point out that if we were not using them, whoever decided to start flying planes into buildings would not have stopped. In addition less American lives are wasted and less collateral damage is sustained.)

To address the immigrating soldiers issue: This is not some government ploy to keep us in the labor market. We've been out of the labor market for a while now because Americans refuse to give up their lifestyles and the wages that support them— speaking of which, you seem to liken the wages and lifestyle of the military to that of those in line at the soup kitchen. I assure you, as an enlisted member of the U.S. military, that without a college degree I am living as well as anyone without entrepreneurial tendencies could hope for. And for those of you with a college degree, the commissions offered by the military, though not luxurious, are far from impoverished. In addition to the better wages, if you have a college degree, as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army, you have the opportunity to change policy, if you are ambitious enough. The reason we have to import soldiers is Americans don't want to get involved. They are perfectly willing to complain about, or point fingers at, the military but they refuse to get involved. The American military is an organization of Americans trying to do the right thing. If your opinion differs with what the military is doing, that is because people with your opinions seldom join the military. That is why we need to get foreigners to fight our wars. I would also like to add that these foreigners are not being thrown to the meat grinder. Most of us are quite comfortable in comparison to our predecessors and our peers. If we weren't, the foreigners would join their own nations' armys, who in case you hadn't noticed, are fighting the same war on the same front.

I am not trying to recruit anyone. Hell, I'll be getting out of the Army as soon as I can. Some people just aren't meant to do this sort of thing. However, if you have qualms with national defense and you lack the fortitude to change it from within, get involved in an organization that is supporting your beliefs. If there isn't one, create one. That is what we're defending, your ability to do whatever-the-fuck-you-wanna-do.

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