Keeping it real and kicking it old school.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Fahrenheit 9-11 made me a Flip-Flopper

Once upon a time in previous life I was a soldier. Not just a soldier really but an Airborne Ranger, a soldier’s soldier. And, I was really into it. I held my black beret (back when only Ranger’s wore them and they where still cool) adorned head high. I didn’t join the Army and go Ranger out of any overwhelming sense of patriotism or desire to serve. I did it for the love of a woman and at that time I would have done anything to be close to her. Predictably, she dumped me of course. But, watching others around me break and give in during the Ranger Indoctrination Course energized me to keep going even though my reasons for starting had vanished. Being part of something like that, something so much bigger then myself felt really cool. I excelled at being a forward observer (the guys that help drop bombs and artillery on people and things. This is important later). Part of being in “elite” unit is constantly being told you are elite. Even has a private walking around base I could see the look of admiration combined with envy in other non-airborne soldiers faces. Even from soldiers much older and higher ranking then myself. The world around me kept telling me over and over that I was the shit and I bought it hook line and sinker.

They say that Rangers pray for war and it’s true. In late 94 our country stood ready to invade Haiti. I honestly don’t recall the exact reason for us going, something about a dictator doing bad things blak blah blah. There was a dead line of some sort set for these guys to stop doing what ever it was that they were doing or else. The clock ticked away and it got close, real close. Then out of no where Jimmy Carter steps in and smoothes things out. I was furious at Jimmy. He had robbed me of my opportunity to prove myself. My point here is that I was a blank slate when I entered the US Army and they were all too happy to issue me a world view.

Over time the coolness of being a soldier wore off and by 2000 I was ready to leave the Army. I procured myself a school drop and even got out three months early. I had never paid much attention to politics and I barely took note of the 2000 election. I actually remembered thinking that there was a certain novelty to having a father and then a son from the same family becoming president. I didn’t vote for him in fact this year will be the first time I have ever voted. I was making my way a civilian, working hard but getting by if not ahead. And, then the towers of New York fell and the world became like a Tom Clancy movie. I was alone in my car driving back from Georgia when the war in Afghanistan started. I cheered and I honked my horn, I was overjoyed that we were striking back at the evil that had cut us all so deep.

To me, a kid growing up in the 90’s Saddam took on an almost Darth Vader like quality. After we defeated him the first time, ever so often we were reminded of his existence by small blips on or collective American consciousness radar. A sound byte here about the no fly zone and magazine article there about his two psychotic sons. Although, I joined the Army several years after the war I was surrounded by more senior soldiers who did fight in Kuwait. “We should have got Saddam” was the mantra. The collective feeling was that it was a job unfinished. In the beging of 2003 I was so high on America kicking ass, that I would have believed anything the powers that be said to be true.

For the life of me I could not understand the protestors in the streets before the war. How could you be opposed to ousting Saddam? The terrorists from 9-11 used box cutters, Saddam has WMDs imagine what they could do with that stuff. What? No WMDs of course he has them everybody knows he does! Shut up hippies! The war started, I took a week off to watch it.

The mighty Texas cowboy landed on an aircraft carrier and said it was over, we had won. Our nation had saved the world again. Sweet! It was only a matter of time till we found the fields of 55 gallon drums full of anthrax, the hydraulically controlled mosque towers that open to reveal a intercontinental missiles with the words “From Baghdad with Love” spray painted on the side. Yeah……not so much. Every day I would open my Web Browser to see the one line blurb on MSN “Two soldiers killed in roadside bombing”. Wasn’t that yesterdays headline. I would hit refresh and it would still be there. Two Americans, with there whole life before them reduced to a one line blurb on MSN. This wore on me.

I went to Holland once, for the 53rd anniversary of operation Market Garden. They LOVE US there. They have clubs to celebrate the 82nd airborne; these grown middle aged men dress up in uniforms and reenact battles. They have even have replica weapons and jeeps too. They were there waiting to cheer us has we jumped on the same field that our grandfathers did 53 years prior. And then they wanted to buy us drinks in the local pubs. They got us damn hell ass drunk. When they pulled down the statues of Saddam, the people were cheering in the streets. I saw an Iraqi on TV saying “Thank you Bush” over and over. Remember that? I wonder if that same guy is now lurking in a back alley with an RPG on his shoulder. What went wrong? How did we fumble the ball and lose an opportunity to accomplish a new version of Operation Market Garden?

In truth my opinions had begun to swing the other way before June 25th. But sitting there in that theater on opening day a hazy picture came in to focus. No other movie has caused a physical reaction like that for me, my hands became sweaty my heart raced. I felt like I was on trial and it took all my will to not get up and leave the theater. The hardest part for me was the scene where a man holds up the body of a little girl from the back of a truck and asks if this is liberation. My job in the Army was to direct bombs and bombs as “smart” as they maybe these days do not discriminate. While I was home on the couch playing armchair commando in April 2003 some guy just like me had to have looked through pair of binoculars and given the command “Wings level” to a pilot who then let loose the fury that snuffed this little girl’s life. It could have been me, just as easily. And right there in the dark I had never felt so dirty and alone. Without even knowing that I was doing it I a silently mouthed the words “I am sorry”.

Thank You Michael Moore

Thank You Norah

And thank you to Jimmy Carter

Random Movie Trailer the beginning of this trailer is super creepy and it had me really excited to see it. Then all of the sudden it turned into a crappy looking “The Ring” rip-off with Michael Keaton. The fact Michael Keaton is making a movie about voices coming back from the dead is just to f_ing ironic, since the last I knew his career flat lined like five years ago.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Everyone can exhale now, I am back. For the moment school is over, therefore I once again have a little time on my hands. Several months ago I felt the need to take down a number of my posts. This was due to an issue with the time stamps on the posts (lets just say it may have conflicted with my work schedule). A couple of people asked me where the funny pictures on the site had gone, well stop bugging me they will be reposted soon and maybe some new ones, if I feel like it.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

I be back soon, and at that time it will start rocking.....HARD