Monday, October 23, 2006

Duty and Honor

Far be it for me to cry foul on free speech. We are in America, and this is where you can say whatever you want - no matter how ignorant, stupid or wrong you may be. But lately, as things have taken a turn much for the worse in Iraq, I've been pondering. Pondering the state of things today, and where we are going, but most of all where we have been.

Someone mentioned on the radio, "could you imagine how CNN would cover D-Day?" It struck a nerve with me.

I Googled and found this tremendous article that describes in detail what the media coverage of today might look like over 60 years ago. Yes, this editorial is snarky and satirical, but it cuts to the heart of what I think is the biggest danger we face from ourselves.

A total lack of duty and honor as Americans.

There are people who are against what we are doing, fine. There were people in 1941 that were against entering the war as well, and they had the misfortune of being labeled traitors and communists. I don't think we need to go that far with the current crop of naysayers. But I do think a healthy disdain of defeatists isn't really a bad thing.

We have to win in Iraq. The consequences of losing are just too dire. Think back to D-Day or Iwo Jima, or any other initial SNAFU's in our military's history. What if Abe Lincoln had to give detailed daily reports on Civil War casualties to today's media? Do you think Americans could have stomached 7 or even 10 thousand deaths a day?

War is ugly, war is brutal. But by God we need to support the men and women overseas who are fighting for our freedom. I don't understand how Americans can be so glib about what a 'disaster' the middle east is right now. How Bush is 'evil' and 'lied' to us and how it is all hopeless. It baffles me how "torture" at the hands of US Soldiers should take priority in discussions over and above killing insurgents and extracting information from them.

I've come to realize that those who are for bringing the troops home yesterday, and who think that everything that we do is a joke, and that we are NOT fighting for freedom and peace; these people, are truly without honor. I have no use for them. They have no concept of how lucky they are to live where men and women are dying right now to protect their stupidity.

I also believe that there are some among this crowd who truly want us to fail. Deep down they believe that our soldiers are not the best and the brightest, rather they are the poor and stupid, and just one order away from murderous animals.

Ultimately, they think that being right is more important than the prosperity of our nation and neighbors. I just repeat to myself, "I do not agree, but will defend to the death your right to say it..." this quote helps me stomach the honorless.

And then I look at the world and America's reaction to places like Darfour. 60 minutes ran a piece last night that didn't even use the word "Muslim" once in it's description of perpetrators of the systematic rape and murder of over 300,00 Africans (so far) living there. Yet they were happy to blame the US for the problem. Yes, our country is apathetic, and in many ways pathetic, even impotent in the face of this crisis. But how can journalists call out our government, and yet not have the courage to call the killers what they are? No sense of duty as Americans, no honor as human beings.

These "blame America first" journalists are self-hating hypocrites who condemn and ridicule this country every chance they get, with no regard for the very real consequences of their defeatist jargon. They do not help, they actually hurt, our chances of victory in the middle east. They are dangerous in a very real way - they put lives in danger. This goes beyond free speech, beyond dissent, and into the realm of treachery.

Now I believe this is America, and there is nothing legally that should be done against these deluded cowards, but I wish some of their more centrist colleagues would call out these American bashing journos once in awhile.

They need to rediscover duty, and put America first in a time of war. At the very least, they need to rediscover honor, and intellectual honesty when it comes to painting a picture. In this day of instant media gratification, more than ever, it is time for clarity and truth. Arriving at the truth can be complex, especially tricky is navigating through the dogma centers that pass for Universities these days, but the truth can be found and boiled down to an absolute.

We must win.

It is harsh for some to hear, but when I look at my daughter, I know we cannot, ever, EVER, give in. I have studied history all of my life, and I know it is repeating, RIGHT NOW.

What scares me, is that so few of my fellow Americans know this - or even care. They really believe that if we could just get out of the middle-east, everything would go back to normal; just like Vietnam. (Oh yeah, the Vietnamese communists slaughtered hundreds of thousands of their own people when we left, but things went back to normal for us, I guess that's all that matters.)

Newsflash: Iraq is not Vietnam. Even the most ardent anti-war congress members concede that immediate withdrawal would be a disaster. So why, why, WHY, are so many Americans hell-bent on seeing this thing fail?

I just don't get it.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Best Show on Television

I've always been a geek film lover; Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, etc. Movies and television shows that take us somewhere else, different worlds, strange beings, I love it all.

I've never been a huge fan of "real" drama. Shows like ER, Law and Order or movies like Million Dollar Baby, are expertly written and produced, but often so grim and depressing as to be classified as something else besides entertainment. I go for the sizzle, the fun, in movies and tv. I want to enjoy myself when I devote two hours of my time to sitting on my butt.

Which is why I am at a loss to explain why I love, love, LOVE the television series Battlestar Galactica. Oh sure, I can hear you saying, another Sci-Fi series, another goofy show with plastic sets and latex covered actors. Wrong. BSG is a gritty, dark, drama of the highest order; on par with the likes of The Shield, The Sopranos, or any other grim top quality show you can think of.

This is not phasers and photons, this is bullets and knives. You may remember the cheesy show in the late 70's, about a handful of apocalypse survivors on the run from metallic monsters called the cylons; well this version of the show has the same premise, only told without the wacky aliens, cheesy production values and wooden scripts. Imagine the hardest hitting drama you've seen, acted out in space - with intense emotions, unflinching violence and very adult situations; and you have the new Battlestar Galactica.

As I've said, the show is by no means fun, but I still love it. It is strictly for grown ups only, with intense developments on a weekly basis that have included graphic murder, intense agony and even a rape scene (my absolute least favorite thing in movies) as well as frequent f-words. Okay, so that word is "frak" a substitute for our favorite expletive, but you get the idea - this show pulls very few punches in delivering the drama.

And yet, maybe it is because there are so many cool things in this world; spaceships and explosions, different worlds and fantastic imagery, that I put up with, and even find myself enjoying all the angst. I also think that the rich tapestry of very real, though very flawed, characters, elevates this show way above standard fare.

Above all, as depressing as the show seems to be, it still has that faint glimmer of hope laced throughout. That search for a new home is ever present in the day to day calamities of these people's lives - and you can see it in their faces. There is a better place for us somewhere, and we are all on this journey together through hell to get there.

Do yourself a favor; rent the first disc of the first season of this show on DVD, and watch the first episode for fifteen minutes. If you are not absolutely hooked and sold, I would be absolutely shocked.