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Monday, August 22, 2005

Like A Blind Man Playing Darts

"…people are running around making strategic decisions and plans based on asymmetrical warfare and terrorists." - from an article in the New York Times on Monday, August 22, 2005

Buried In The Past

Old generals and admirals sit around collecting retirement checks unable to offer a clue about the current threats facing modern society. They still envision massive armadas sailing up to the shores of New York to launch salvos at the city. Some suspect the Chinese of preparing to sink merchant ships sailing to California. Generals refuse to understand the simple reasons why a huge army is unable to defeat a few guerrilla warriors in the desert. The Air Force calls for more nuclear warheads while militants slip across the border along with migrant farm workers. Old outdated concepts die slowly while the world rapidly changes, for better or worse.

The facts stare us in the face but the eyes of those in power remain firmly shut. An intercontinental missile provides no deterrent to a suicide bomber with a backpack full of explosives. Billion dollar submarines or aircraft carriers are no match for a small nuclear weapon packed into a 40-foot shipping container. A thousand B-52 bombers cannot stop a car bomb assembled a few blocks away from the intended target. Explain how a battalion of soldiers can stop a man in any city from building a bomb from common grocery store items?

Failing To Learn

The nature of war has changed in fundamental ways but the people paid to protect us have not changed tactics and tools to meet the threat. It seems only a few people are learning to speak the languages used by our enemies. Law enforcement agencies cannot get a decent computer system up and running. Borders flow and cities brim with undocumented immigrants. Nevertheless, the admirals cry out for more submarines and carriers. Will anyone learn about effective deterrents to asymmetrical warfare before the next big attack? Sadly we must expect the old commanders will always refuse to change, even after the next attacks and the next and the next.

A few million dollars in job training can take thousands of unemployed former soldiers off the streets of Baghdad or Gaza. Effective diplomacy can steer a trusted ally on a path certain to quell massive civil unrest. Thousands of people could be put to work manually inspecting air and sea cargo containers. Yet the old men in charge ignore these ideas and continue to spend billions mostly on big bombs.

Will the Old Guard ever see the sense in using human eyes, hands and ears to combat a rising militant underground? Give people real jobs and they will be less likely to want to blow us to pieces. Must the obsolete ideas of old men continue to be tolerated while young soldiers or civilians lose arms, legs and lives? How many rows must be added to cemeteries before we learn that bullets teach us nothing at all?

There must be some reason for all this pointless death other than just ignorance and stupidity.

Lost History Lessons

National policies promoting imperialism and colonialism were proven wrong during the World Wars and the Cold War, at the cost of millions of lives. So why do the leaders of superpower nations suddenly feel the need to establish new colonies in the Middle East? Do teachers in Great Britain still teach students about the great tragedy of the Colonial Wars? Students in the United States do still study the reasons for the American Revolution. Why don't they understand how Iraqis feel when an American army occupies cities in Iraq and shoots all who object to the occupation? History is taught but apparently the lessons learned are not applied to present-day situations.

Censorship and Propaganda

The results of terrible national policies are carefully hidden by clever leaders. Censorship prevents newspapers and television from showing pictures of the dead on battlefields or returning in coffins. Sadly, the history of our times is illegal to teach. The poor suffer more from this censorship than do the rich, who mostly refuse to serve and die in the military.

Politicians stand before us announcing victory. We were told the mission was accomplished years ago. So why not bring the troops home? Fake evidence and fake numbers are used to claim the Army is winning when it is actually losing. George Orwell's novel 1984 addressed this very issue. It seems nobody learned the lesson.

Poor military gear is called "state of the art" in order to protect a rich man in the Pentagon. The people that die using these lousy war tools are held up as patriots instead of the victims of poor planning. It is all so much war propaganda, learned from Hitler's example. When the grisly truth finally comes out the real criminals will be safely in retired in Texas and Wyoming.

Blindness and Greed

When we fail to properly educate ourselves we become blind to gross injustice. Poor citizens continue to send their children overseas to die to provide huge profits for rich business executives. Greed does not stop at pointless bloodshed. Humans love their own children but some still think nothing of sending other people's children to die for that next tank of gas. All the money rich countries spend on war and weapons is really money that should be spent on education and jobs. The people that spend millions of dollars to become our leaders know this fact. They also know that the rich people who donate money to their political campaigns make more money from war than from education.

In a rich capitalist country it is better to kill your neighbor to make a big profit rather than improve the schools so people can make smarter decisions. People are allowed to die for lack of health care but there is always plenty of money for guns. The war veterans are denied decent health care and good jobs. They can no longer fight so why spend money on them? The real terrorists are the people called "leaders" in these nations.

A nation will never know peace when the rulers are cold-blooded killers. Good citizens must learn the truth and fight for positive changes or perish as cannon fodder. Stand up for what is right before it is too late. Educate your children about the real cost of wars fought blindly. We must stop the carnage caused by the old men who refuse to mend their evil ways.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

A Family Revolution

Children Deserve Attention

The company of children is teaching me volumes about all humans. My neighbor, a four-year old boy and his five-year old friend are like most children. They want to play games outside and learn all they can about the world around them. My nieces and nephews are being pushed rapidly past this curious stage, but I still remember them passing through it. Most adults claim to be far too busy to spend additional time with the next generation. My observations of the "far too busy" excuse reveal a lack of patience and understanding of the next generation's needs. Too many adults are never too busy spend an evening drinking too much, never too busy for another cigarette and always have time to waste watching all the drug-addled professional athletes. There simply is no time left for the children produced by relationships we pursued back when we had the time.

When relationships break down children suffer more than adults. There is less time for children when the home must maintained by a single parent. The children we have "no time" for will soon stand beside us living as young adults. Do we want our children growing up with little or no guidance? I think not, yet the predicament still stands before us asking for attention, demanding a solution.

The people of the United States are obsessed by the need to work. Every man and woman is taught the fiction that our work defines us. People spend so much time at their work and so little time with their families. With the rapid decline of jobs that pay a living wage, most mothers now go to work each day. Men spend ten hours or more involved in their occupations and the commute back and forth. Evenings and weekends become essential time for rest, to maintain our grueling schedules. Our children get only whatever time they can steal from this routine.

For decades this society has undervalued the people that raise children. Mothers, schoolteachers, day care staff and babysitters are not occupations we associate with good pay. After all, what is the value in preparing the next generation to live in our society? Mothers are expected to raise children and work another job. Schoolteachers get only enough money to survive, the job they perform is worth little to the future of our nation, right? It is so much wiser to shower money on steroid-filled professional athletes and crooked politicians, they provide so much more for our future than mothers.

Prepare For The Future

People in the United States show a complete lack of concern for the future in so many ways it comes as no surprise that many children are neglected or even abused. We no longer save money, we depend on credit and home equity loans and we waste more energy than any other nation. If you step back and look at life in the United States objectively, most people live like there will be no tomorrow. Driving too fast and often after drinking alcohol, constantly smoking cigarettes, eating until we are grossly obese are three obvious examples. Divorce rates are another case where we ignore the future and seek only easy pleasures. Finally, we neglect to spend enough time raising our children. If you have none of these issues at all in your life, stop reading this right now. Everyone else knows exactly what I am talking about even if you already raised your family.

Now you want me to spell out easy answers to the problems mentioned above, right?

There are no easy answers, raising children and living the good life becomes a tough balancing act.

Grandmothers and grandfathers are being asked to help raise children in many cases. In some groups of our society, grandparents are regularly expected to become parents again. The mothers and fathers of the children have no time at all to spend with their offspring. Parents caught in the swirl of drug addiction or crime completely lose sight of their sons and daughters. Other fathers and mothers love their successes at the office more than they love seeing success in their homes. Finally, there are many parents who really do not know how to be good parents. For most couples it is easy to produce a child but extremely difficult to raise that baby to adulthood.

Parents Are Valuable

The first step is valuing the role of being a parent. Parenting is the very act of creating the future, an immensely important task. In relation to the future of mankind there is no more important task than preparing children to live in the world. It will probably never happen in our backwards culture but mothers or fathers must be given incentives to stay home and raise children. Parents are performing a far more important task than almost any other job you can imagine. We need to elevate the role of care-giver far above that of the sickening heroes we now adore. Is a home run hitter that shoots drugs in his buttocks really more important than a mother? Does a venom-spitting politician really deserve more attention than a great father?

We have been sold trash heaps as role models while the real examples of virtue go unnoticed. Television, radio and newspapers use fancy words to describe people who do nothing but live sickening lifestyles. Movie theaters and computer games mostly add to the mounds of garbage, choking family life to death. Mothers get a brief mention on Mother's Day, fathers get a story or two on Father's Day. The rest of the year we hear and read long stories about dishonest elected officials, murderers and millionaire athletes. Turn off the television now and start paying attention to your children.

The outside influences are an easy place to start fixing the family. Stop going to see professional sports, at least until they decide to clean up their stinking act. Play sports at the park with your children instead. Cancel your newspaper or newsmagazine subscriptions until they start writing articles that promote good family life. Check out good books from the free library and read them with your children. Take your children to parks, museums or zoos. Learn the answers to the questions asked by your children.

Along the way get ready to confront internal obstacles to a great family life. Stop smoking cigarettes. Second-hand smoke will give you and your children lung cancer. Is this really a good family atmosphere? Stop drinking so much alcohol. A half-drunk parent is no help to a child. Learn how to love each other more, this includes children, husbands and wives.

Family Money

Turn the power generated by the money you earn into family money. We know that business people are not going to pay a living wage to most families, no matter how much we spend. So forget the advertisements businesses shove in your face every day. You do not need to buy all the things that make your monthly bills so high. Raising a family does cost money but think about how you spend family money. Do you spend family money on violent movies? Why? Do you spend family money on sports played by reckless professional athletes? Why? Do you donate money to politicians? Why? Each of us has the power to promote families rather than support really bad ideas.

Along the way, we need to learn to live without consuming and wasting so much. You have two children, why do you need a vehicle that can transport six people? Drive less and stay home with the kids. Are you and your children overweight? Learn to eat less food, especially junk food. Think about the name we give it, "junk food." Why buy it? Make another point not to eat fast food anymore. The people that sell it have no concern whatsoever for the health of your family. They want your money so they can get even richer and continue to pay people lousy wages. Do not give it to them. Save it for the future of your family.

Starting The Revolution

You should know that making a real effort to raise your children properly will start a revolution. A peaceful revolution is still a revolution in so many ways. If you start spending more time with your children, your neighbors might notice. If you stop smoking cigarettes, the vile tobacco company executives will notice. If you stop going to professional sports, the players and owners will soon realize this. When you stop pulling into fast food restaurants and handing them twenty dollar bills this is a revolutionary act. All these things will change the world around you faster than you can imagine.

Stay home with your children, this will change the world in the most significant way. The future will suddenly look more promising than you ever imagined it could. Other people will soon join the revolution, your example will be the reason why.