24 November 2008

Monday Musings...
If there is one thing I've come to learn in all my 56 years on this planet, it's that one must always be willing to become surprised.
And such was my fate this past Saturday, when the Missus and I went grocery shopping. As is our customary procedure, we fuel up every OTHER week, and this week was one of THOSE weeks.
As we neared the B.P. station at S. Anthony & Tillman, I noticed the LED sign proclaiming the current price, and I had to do a triple-take. I thought maybe some of those LEDs had blown the hell out.
The sign read: $1.69 (a gallon).
OK...now I'm in shock.
Sure enough, gas prices have fallen THAT much...
And suddenly, I don't feel too bad about tanking up and paying a whopping $19 in the process!
Help the economy, I always say.
Of course, that was, what you could call some icing on a sorely missed cake.
I also found it surprising (and a bit disturbing) that little if anything was mentioned Saturday (22 November), being it was the 45th anniversary of JFK's assassination. Astounding how important events in history seem to be mishandled over the passage of time.
While we're still speaking of surprises, I also stumbled upon a show that I had the honor of watching on the Military Channel.
Let me say that when it comes to cable channels like THIS ONE, I'm a junkie...can't get enough.
But one show caught my attention and I have to rank it one of the best I've seen in years.
IRAQ DIARY: ALPHA COMPANY is not one of those shoot 'em up shows rivalling some Sam Peckinpaw flick or explosions that make the ANY Michael Bay movie lame in comparison.
It's neither of those.
This is a story (from 2005), told over a six-month rotation of one company of the 3rd Marine Recon Battalion in country.
Filmmaker Gordon Forbes, embedded with the outfit, patrolled with them, ate and slept with them, and provided a rarely seen facet of military life in a foreign nation. It's not another evening news snippet.
And it sucked me in and wouldn't let me go.
Here is the link to the channel that airs this show:
The chronicle of tedious duties, constant awareness, as well as how our soldiers cope with every tasks, orders, and even down time is told in detail. And Forbes' perspective is well balanced. The camera usage is great and gives you a feeling like you're right with this unit as they carry out their daily tasks.
Some days are mundane as hell, while others are tense beyond reason, but one comes to realize that so many of our warriors over there have to endure the same things...day in, day out.
The fact that any situation our troops face can go from good to terrible in a heartbeat is ALWAYS present, and this series tells you as much.
While the company had no fatalities or casualties, that does not mean the time spent was not without it's own problems.
Scorching, unrelenting heat, sand and dust everywhere...faces of locals you cannot trust...attempting to gather intel from people you can never turn your back on, and yet never fully realize that the mission YOU'RE on is to make THEIR nation better for them. Children being mistreated by uncaring parents...weapons caches discovered...lies, deceit, and circle-talk designed to throw you off the trail of insurgents.
The assistance rendered to injured civilians such as stitching up an Iraqi woman's hand, using a Humvee hood as a makeshift "aid-station", or perhaps making sure another family's home has it's roof repaired after terrorists lobbed a mortar round at it last week, and even handing out some snacks to hungry kids. It's all of this the public rarely sees...and perhaps more.
I highly recommend this show/series.
Like I said, it's not a show for everyone...it's just a show for those who care about what our warriors are accomplishing.
If nothing else, we owe it to every one of them to watch it.
Now I'd have to say that when it comes to war, there is no "winner".
Sure, we can be victorious in combat, and we might defeat "the enemy" (whoever that might be), but we ALL pay a price for it...on BOTH sides (and never just in dollars and cents). The whole concept of war is to make the "other guy" lose a helluva lot more than YOU do.
That is what victory is all about.
Does that mean we should never fight and avoid any and all losses?
Hell, no.
Impending and provoked conflicts are like that noise under your car's hood...turning up the radio and ignoring it doesn't make it go away.
Fixing the problem does.
...And we fight to "fix" these global problems.
We fight because we know it's the right thing to do.
We fight because if we don't, probably no one else will.
We fight to preserve freedom and liberty.
We fight to offer those same freedoms and liberties to others.
We fight to promote democracy.
We fight to defend our nation.
Maybe all that makes me more "hawk" than "dove", and I'm OK with that, but when all other options have been exhausted, and we (as a nation) have no other alternative, it sure as hell seems like the best recourse.
History would be the best example as to how this plays out.
And always remember that if we don't LEARN from history, we are most definitely destined to REPEAT it.
But hey, that's just "my" opinion.


indy said...

i am sure that it is a wonderful show to watch. i cant. even if i had cable i couldnt. got my own memories of 90/91 some very good and like a family. some not so good. one day my unit thought it was safe for us to go out around kkmc (king kalud military compound my spelling might be off) and i was running late to chow. everyone had left me behind. as i passed under a bridge that was military housing for saudias they realized i was a woman out by myself. as i made the dash to the chow hall i could hear them yelling at me. i showed my chow hall pass and the e6 asked me what had happend i told him and after that we were not allowed to leave our buddies behind. then when we flew up to iraq for a moble mission (we took a chinhook) i was scared of our own troops since i was like the only woman around for miles. when we went to get in the humvee to go back to the landing pad there were only 4 seats. they said they would come back and get me and i said no and sat on top of the back raised up section. (to this day i dont know how i did that ) so i wont get left behind. so no. i cant talk much more about iraq/saudia i got my own memories. very vivid memories.

Bob G. said...

Didn't know you served...It's my honor to have you as a regular reader & I salute you.

And I can fully understand your reluctance to nto view this show, I really do.

Hours of drudge laced with seconds of sheer terror...
I know of it, as do so many more.

Thanks again, and I DO appreciate your candor.


indy said...

yes, did active duty army for 7 years. lived around the world except for japan and korea. seen alot. been told alot. probley be back overseas if i didnt have a kid. right now i go by many names, pretty face, mom, indy, i...........(my real name), and of course hey you.....lol and i am sure other people that dont care for me have other choice names. i really dont talk about the military that much. i've talked about it with you more then most. and those are people that i have worked with for a decade or so. so when they honored the vets at work the vast majority assumed i was airforce and just did the 4. lol lol lol lomao..l...ol...

ummmm NO.

take care have a good thanksgiving