Everyone assumes I’m against the war in Afghanistan. Truth is, I am happy that I have not yet had to decide my position. I don’t really know. I know on the one hand that war is hell and all that, that it takes it biggest tole on people my age – 18-25, and that it is bloody, evil, misguided, destructive, and counter-intuitive. On the other hand, of course, I know that there are many people out there that, for legitimate reasons or not, are violating the laws of the land and international conventions (eg the Geneva Convention) is terrible ways, and there is no easy diplomatic solution to bringing them to justice.
I won’t talk about the million things that everyone else talks about – anthrax, smallpox, war, recession, peace, civilians, children. I will say that I have long ago and frequently said that the US is in no way prepared for a real war in the new world. We haven’t been ready since the Soviet Union fell. We never got the organizations on the right track. Remember that just a few months ago President Bush brushed aside proposals by a joint senate and house comittee for an “office of homeland security,” saying that Dick Cheney would look at other alternatives (probably involving missile defense, cause look how helpful that would be in the present case). We will learn the hard way that hazmat units, decon teams, and counterterrorism units are vastly understaffed, underfunded, and underequipped, especially in the big cities where terror is most likely to strike. I’m just glad I’m not living in a major metropolitan center right now.
On a related note, and the real reason I am writing, is to point out yet another excellent article on Salon.com about the war. I really, really, really hope Salon stays in business, because their reporting is just the best I see anywhere. This article is headlined:
The sorrow of war
With every heartbreaking picture of innocent victims, more of the world turns against the U.S. bombing. But the American military has taken more care to minimize civilian casualties than any other armed force in the world.
Click here to visit, but without Salon Premium membership you don’t get to see much.
I am the first to criticize our military, but I also believe that our force is probably one of the best ones in the world with regards to precision. Their precision guided bombs may not actually be able to hit a quarter in the middle of Baghdad, and they really should stop claiming otherwise, but you do have to admit they they are lobbing cruise missiles at $10 million a pop instead of just carpet-bombing because they want to fight wars the right way, the way the Geneva Convention and the rules of war dictate. So I give them credit for that.
Okay, i’m done being patriotic. Back to my old complaining self. 🙂