Bob's Links and Rants

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Wednesday, November 20, 2002

VietNam was the last time Americans were allowed to see what REALLY happens in a war. And because of the draft it happened to THEM. If you think about it, this means that no one under about 45 really understands that war is anything other than a TV show. It's like the meat in supermarkets - it comes in a nice clean package.

THIS is why the public thirsts for war. Much of the public sees this as a TV show. Clean. Sanitary. No REAL death. No REAL gore. It's just another TV show. Like the meat in the supermarket.
-- from the No War Blog.

At age 44 3/4, I'm pretty close to understanding, maybe. But I think he's mostly right. I remember during Gulf War I. I was a teacher in a high school back then, and my students and I all arrived bleary-eyed after long nights watching Wolf, Peter and Bernie explain the war to us on CNN. And you watched half-hoping that something exciting would happen, only half-knowing that it meant real people being killed and wounded. Actually, though, Vietnam was just a TV show to most Americans, too. The show may have been more graphic and closer to the truth than we've had since, but it was still a show. I'd say that unless you were in the military, you'd probably have to be over 150 years old as an American to really understand war. The Civil War was the only large-scale war fought where most of the action occurred in America. Few Americans have experienced anything like what Afghans, Iranians, Iraqis, Chechens, Somalis, Rwandans, Congolese and Timorese, to name a few, have experienced in the past 25 years. Huddling in the basement as shells explode around your house and wounded soldiers pound on the door begging for aid, but you're not sure whose soldiers they are and what they might do to you if you let them in. Trying to stay in others' footprints because you're less likely to step on a mine. Having all of your means for getting food, water and information disrupted. Having your pulse jump to 200 every time you hear the sound of an airplane. Stuff like that.