By lex, on March 17th, 2006
One down, one to go.
We did our final report today for the marketing class – knocked it out of the park. I’d put together a “promotional video” which included a bunch of pictures of things getting blown up by airplanes. You just can’t lose.
Things blowing up tugs at the heartstrings of the aerial warfare class.
Next week! Systems Engineering final. There is no good way tug at the heartstrings of a systems engineer. Is what I’ve found.
Mr. Lileks was on a roll this week, put together another one of his patented retrospectives here. Keep clicking “next,” at least until you get here. I swear I’ve been in that room, or in a room just like it – my father’s second (third? one loses count) career was as a systems analyst – click the sound link embedded here to find out what a systems analyst did – and worked on this very system, I am convinced.
It all seemed so very… advanced, back in 1969. Tape drives! Punch cards! Girls in mini-skirts!
I was too young to really appreciate that last bit. The summer of love was going on all around me, and I was only dimly aware that everyone else seemed to be having a lot of fun, or at least, that they were pretending to. Desperately.
When I was a mid, we got a brief from one Captain Dick Stratton, USN. Spent six years and a bit (or, as his bio tells it: 2,251 days) as a guest of the NVA in the Hanoi Hilton. Said the part about being a POW that sucked the worst was that mini-skirts came and went and he missed the whole thing.
Although I’m not sure that’s really true.
And no, I’m not all ready to forgive Hanoi Jane for what she did, although I’ll grudgingly allow as how she may have done useful things since then.
But some things – like manning a AAA piece that’s aimed against your countrymen in a time of war, simply because you disagree with the policy of the government that sent them there – are simply unforgivable.
(I know what some of you are thinking: You’re thinking, “He should have said “an” AAA piece.” But I regret to inform you, Mr. Language Person, that while it may look like it should be pronounced Ay-ay-ay and therefore deserving of a phonetic contra-elision, it’s pronounced “triple ay.”
Hence, the “a.”
Fortunately, a lot of time has passed since then, and as a country we’ve learned so very much about how to properly disagree with each other.
For example, ABC news reports today (full with editorial disclaimers) that some of the newly declassified and translated documents coming out of Saddamite Iraq purport that Iraq actually had al-Qaida ties, and collaborated on plans to attack America. That may or may not be true, but time and patience will certainly tell.
Unless of course, for some reason, you are personally invested in the idea that it’s not true. Couldn’t be. Can’t.
Because if it was true, then W isn’t a liar. Which means that everything you fervently believe in stemming from that foundational preconception trembles in the balance, before collapsing in a pillar of salt.
In which case I’d say that maybe you’d already made your mind up for whatever reason, and probably weren’t worth talking to.
So it’d probably useless to point you over to this fascinating alternative history *– too broad to excerpt – asking, what if we hadn’t gone in?
As I say, good thing we’ve come so far in our discourse.
Heard a friend of mine, my east coast counterpart actually, on NPR today. Reporting from Guantanamo, which is where he’s been sent on one of those 12 month “Individual Augment” thingies that Navy has gotten so keen on in the last few. We’ve got senior naval officers down in Gitmo, as well as over in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Now, contrary to your first assumption, sending career naval officers over to the Green Zone in cammies and carrying carbines does not prove, in and of itself, that all is lost.
They’re merely helping out, in whatever small way they can. And just between me and thee, it’s causing a bit of a ruffle in the ranks, rutting around in the dirt being considered sojer work, for the most part. Beneath our dignity, like.
Which, sack up, says I. There’s a war on, innit?
If land warfare is anything like flying the ball at night, that last paragraph is just about a dead solid karma equivalent to hurling your hat to the deck in a tantrum because the JO’s are having a hard time getting aboard. Having done so, you are virtually assured your own very private night in the barrel.
That’s the bad news. Good news is that it’s tax free over there.
So, Saint Patrick’s Day. Hope all of you wore the green for Eire. Raised a glass of Guinness – for strength! – and wished each other slainte. Because even if you’re not a little Irish, everyone’s Irish today.
Besides – don’t you have a little Irish in you?
Have a great weekend!
* 07-13-2018 Link Gone; no replacements found – Ed.