Yesterday, I wrote something about Peace, and I made an offhand comment about how everyone wants Peace, except the military/industrial complex.
I didn’t think much of it, since I’m always making stupid, throw away remarks, in conversation and in my writings.
Well, I got this email, and it’s made me think about it a bit more deeply:
Interesting comment on your website:
“Of course everyone wants peace (except the military/industrial complex, but I digress).”
As an officer of 14 years in the Air Force, I would suggest to you that anyone who’s been shot at in a conflict, or faced the potential for that, is pretty disposed toward wanting peace. It’s not just a hypothetical concept for us, it’s our work environment.
I notice that you consider talking to William Shatner as a first step toward peace. Good for you. I think people need to be a hell of a lot nicer to each other, perhaps more so to strangers because that’s more unexpected and may have a longer positive effect. But that seems to be as far as you want to go. Let me point out to you some of the things that I, a member of the military/industrial complex, have done for peace:
– 4 years pulling 24-hour shifts in an ICBM launch control center during the final years of the Cold War
– another 4 years at the Air Force Academy, teaching cadets about how the military works in concert with (and, preferably, defers to) diplomatic, economic, and informational means of national influence
– deploying to Macedonia, being forced to wear civilian clothes and have a bodyguard due to terrorist threats, so I can help them develop a military that works under the control of a democratically-elected government, rather than a military that IS the government
– returning to Macedonia and donning a baby-blue beret as a UN peacekeeper so a war in neighboring countries wouldn’t spread into a nation that was just starting to make it
– sewing a NATO patch to my uniform and deploying to Bosnia to keep the locals from killing each other long enough to get their economy started so they might see the benefits of peace over war
– parking myself in a little cubicle in Alabama for 2 years developing plans for responding to terrorism, plans the existence of which I had hoped would deter a terrorist from attacking
– attending funerals at Arlington Cemetery for my former Academy students who have died in the line of duty
– serving as an active member of the ACLU chapter in every state where I’ve been assigned and working with youth-oriented support groups
I’ve given up a lot to do that. I’ve lived in places I didn’t necessarily want to live. I’ve taken on responsibilities most people won’t accept (when you were 23, were YOU prepared to accept a job where you might have to kill millions of people? I didn’t particularly want to do it, but somebody had to be prepared to, thanks to the threats to this country). I’ve had to keep quiet about my religious beliefs…I’ve accepted less pay than my peers from college. And yeah, I’ve been shot at.
And a lot of people in uniform have done a hell of a lot more than me.
I applaud your efforts to be nicer to people. But feel free to get down off your high horse and quit making generalizations about people of whom you know nothing. Contrary to what Charlton Heston, Barbra Streisand, or Rush Limbaugh may think, a career in the entertainment industry may give you a “bully pulpit” but it doesn’t make you an expert on public policy.
Just my $.02 worth. Feel free to tell me to go [fark] myself.
Well, far from telling this writer to go fark himself, I have to apologize, and clarify.
I have always supported the members of the military, who are in the field, sometimes getting shot at, whether I agree with the war, or not. Regardless of how I feel about it, leaders are going to fight wars, and people are going to be involved in those wars. I think that I can support the men and women in the armed forces, without supporting Bush and Company.
Matter of fact, I so support the men and women in our armed forces, it really pisses me off when I see a president using them in ways that I think are inappropriate. But, this writer is correct. Being in the public eye does not make me an expert on any policies, at all…I told him in an email that I was just a guy, with a webpage, who talks about stuff that’s on his mind. I never meant to be on a high horse (when I’m on a high horse, I’ll make sure you know), and my generalizations were in the spirit of humor. I mean, all people who generalize are idiots, right?
So, consider this another step in letting Peace begin with me. If my comment yesterday offended anyone, please accept my deepest and most humble apologies, and please read it again, focusing on the larger message.
And let’s not forget that there are people, like this writer, who are, right now, 11 days before Xmas, far from their families, and nowhere near a Dr. Demento CD and a fireplace.
I hope everyone is having a nice weekend.