The fun just keeps on comin’!! Hey, speaking of comin’ (clear the filth from your mind!), my furlough is coming to an end. No more consecutive weeks of uninterrupted nights spent at home with my wife. Oh, well, I can’t possibly complain. Its all worth it. Think of all the time I have to peruse the world wide web looking up all this information and speculation to share with you! Also, I had a wonderful time these past couple of weeks, and I have one weekend more to go. I’ve got a few days left to finalize mi proyecto final para la clase de español. What fun that’s been. I felt as though I slacked off a bit this past semester, which for me meant that my pulse had to be checked regularly to ensure that I was still alive. I am a low-budget gentleman of leisure, after all. Still, it was fun and educational. The final project should be a joy to behold when all is said and done. We’ll see. Maybe I’ll be able to put it on the web to show you. The Microsoft thing might be a hurdle, though. Anyway, I’ve signed up for two web-based classes for next semester, and, if I continue with el español, I would have a whopping three credit classes to contend with. No more Mr. Slacker for me.

Hah! Nothing can stop my sloth. It is a powerful glacier unto itself. I give you more of my banter with the sheep in wolves’ clothing:

Strong feelings are part of human nature, but they are too easily manipulated. They can be carefully conditioned through years of acculturation and/or indoctrination. What doesn’t change are cold, hard facts. While it is tempting to try and interpret them all through feelings, though we certainly can’t rely on logic alone (that could lead to rationalizing), it is important, I think, to keep our bullshyt detectors set at their most sensitive levels. Those who give the military its marching orders depend on unquestioning loyalty from those expected to follow those orders. This has been the same throughout the relatively short history of organized warfare. What is different about the U.S. is that we are supposed to have an open democracy, where every citizen is not only able to, but expected to question their government. We have no kings, no emperors, no rulers ordained by God. To our elected (or appointed) officials, we the citizens are supposed to be the collective boss. So when they point to some other country or region and tell us there’s an enemy that needs a-slaughterin’, we’re supposed to ask who and why.

Now, you might argue that the military can’t function as a democracy. Discipline and a strictly adhered-to chain of command are vital for this unique type of organization. Life and death hang in the balance of such order. Even as a member of a paramilitary profession (the fire service), I understand this. This is why, in our nation, the military is supposed to be subordinate to civilian authority. This is why the framers of our constitution stated that only the Congress, the most direct representatives of the people at the federal level, could legally declare war. That is why the commander-in-chief is supposed to be totally civilian (which is why Bush’s aircraft carrier stunt was even more odious; not only was he wearing the uniform, but he had already soiled it as a younger man. Ike never put on the uniform while he was president!). We can’t have generals and admirals deciding our domestic or foreign policy. Unfortunately, the very thing Ike warned us about (and he knew), the unchecked growth of the military/industrial complex, has overtaken us.

I blame this in part on an undue amount of worship which is given to the military. Now, I’m not talking about respecting the sacrifices of brave souls who gave their lives for their fellow men…yada, yada, yada. That part makes perfect sense. What bugs the shyt out of me is the unquestioning deification of the military itself, and the indoctrination we give ourselves that plays into it. The saluting of the flag (didn’t Jesus say something about worshipping images, or was that Moses?); the pledge of allegiance (they don’t even do that in ‘communist’ China!); the near-compulsory singing of the national anthem; add these things to the peculiar, provincial vigor that U.S. citizens put into worshipping their local sports teams (from high school to professional), and you begin to get a picture of a land full of ‘free’ people who think nothing of offering up their loyalty and giving away their free will at the first mention of the right words and symbols. All these little sub-cultures within our larger culture add up to a very disturbing picture, but if you look at it a certain way it starts to make sense. That’s what I’m talking about. Cognitive dissonance to the nth degree. How else could a nation of supposedly fair play- and democracy-loving people sit back and accept a stolen election, a mysteriously successful (and not fully explained) deadly terrorist attack, and an illegal invasion of a virtually harmless country that had no intention (much less ability) to attack us?

This is why many people protest, either in marches, letters to newspapers and congressmen, or in forums like this. They still hold out hope for the democratic process, but they see it as being unduly influenced by people who just want the same old greasy order of empire, albeit repackaged in a snazzy, health-conscious-looking wrapper. While its tempting to play along with this charade as long as its comfortable for us, the consequences of such a self-delusional course can be quite disastrous. I think this is why so many people here, myself included, continually return to the example of Nazi Germany. Sure, the details might be different, but the flavor is the same. What we think we have won’t be worth the paper its printed on if we give it away, and the ugly truth is that these days all the foreign combat engagements in the world won’t do dyck to protect it. As history has proven, though, they can be symptoms of the disease that will kill it all.

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