Thursday, May 19, 2005

Hubris

There seem to be a large number of people in this country that believe that the world should be run according to some principles, and if the world refuses then it is the world and not their principles that need to be fixed. The idea that some principles must be scrutinized as to whether or not they can be applied or not to the real world seems to be far from their thinking when they make their decisions.

Now bypassing the whole discussion of trying to impose freedom and liberty by force and to instill democratic values on tribal sectarian structures through imperialistic institutions there are some things that are just insane within the country itself.

In a situation where the US military is incapable of meeting its recruiting goals the US Senate and House of Representatives have passed a bill according to which the military would have to restructure their forces so that women are not put into combat support positions. These 'forward support companies' would usually be in charge of logistics and can be imagined as being involved in training, supply, repairs and administration. This comes after the realization that support companies stationed in Iraq are coming under fire from the insurgents and that there is no front-line with convoys getting attacked regardless of their passengers. Now the wise senators and representatives have decided that frail women are not ready for war and that they need to be protected from the Arabs by bureaucratic means if necessary. This is in spite of the fact that as a result of such legislation the US military will simply have to take men that would otherwise be sent to combat units and redirect them to plug holes. I suppose they will take the women out of these units and send them to be secretaries... Progress is made once again towards the American utopia of equality and justice for all regardless of gender, race, national origin, etc... Does anybody suppose that the next time the US tries to preach equality of the sexes they might get an opposing argument based on such US policies as this one?

This bill has also decided to increase the number of Army and Marines by 10,000 and 1,000 respectively - at a time when they can't meet their current recruiting goals! Talk about living in the clouds!

This comes on the heels of another brilliant policy in regards to the US intelligence community. The US military has recently made headlines for axing linguists proficient in Arabic and Farsi for being gay. Now, as people might be aware, there exist a major need within the US government for people that are fluent in several languages - Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, Pashtun, Korean and Uzbekh to start with. These languages are useful for a very obvious reason - the TERRORISTS and INSANE PSYCHO DICTATORS speak them. And at least theoretically the purpose of an intelligence community is to understand the enemy and to provide the Vice President with
information about what the enemy is up to. Of course in America the purpose of the intelligence community is to create long analyses from which politicians can pick and choose sentences to justify irrational policies. I have ventured off-topic...

Back to the facts. Here is another fact: Americans suck at learning foreign languages. Go to any foreign non-English speaking university world-wide with a study-abroad section. I guarantee you that that the students who know the local language the worst will be American. This is in addition to the fact that Americans are not known world-wide as major travellers. They are more of the tourist bus people - off the bus at the Eiffel tower - quick Maggie take a picture - back on the bus - on to the Louvre - quick Joey take a picture - 'isn't Paris beautiful? its so much more beautiful than Bloomington.' (yeah, thats hard) - back to the States in 8 days. Paris, by the way, sucks.

Again I meander. What if I add to these facts another one: It takes 63 weeks for the US military to train a person to be proficient in Arabic or Farsi. In any case when you add up these facts you figure that the US must be doing everything possible to hire and keep the maximum number of these people at their jobs. See, here is another situation where logic doesn't lead you in the right direction. They are firing these people..

This country's moral standards are being set by a bunch of Southern Puritan white people for whom moral principles are more important than objective reality. These are the same people that believe that September 11 occured because of the 'pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America' (Jerry Falwell - September, 2004) Let me explain what the good reverend means. What he means is that Jesus is in person protecting and guiding the actions of the United States. As long as the US is a 'moral' country it will be protected by Jesus and will only be hit when the 'morality' of this country wanes. Why continue to explain? Let the honorable Dr. Falwell bury himself:

Falwell said he believes the ACLU and other organizations "which have attempted to secularize America, have removed our nation from its relationship with Christ on which it was founded."

"I therefore believe that that created an environment which possibly has caused God to lift the veil of protection which has allowed no one to attack America on our soil since 1812," he said.

(The veil of protection? I thought those were called oceans.)

And here is a serving of Pat Robertson, speaking right after Dr. Falwell.

"We have sinned against Almighty God, at the highest level of our government, we've stuck our finger in your eye," said Robertson. "The Supreme Court has insulted you over and over again, Lord. They've taken your Bible away from the schools. They've forbidden little children to pray. They've taken the knowledge of God as best they can, and organizations have come into court to take the knowledge of God out of the public square of America."

Frankly, I think that this country needs a bit of relief from the forces of religious fundamentalism. Could somebody please invade? Or even better maybe we can divide the country along the Blue/Red state lines? They can have Bush, Jesus, Texas and Iraq. We'll take Clinton, Guilliani, Cali and Hawaii... They can have all the Jesus and decency they want.... We'll just take the meager godless left-overs...

4 Comments:

Anonymous Mysterious Stranger said...

In defense of Paris:

Bubba, how long did you spend in Paris? On what basis do you say that it sucks? Could it be that you were there for a few hours, just long enough to see the Eiffel Tower?

2:12 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

I was there for a full day. I grant you that that is probably not long enough to fully enjoy Paris... In any case the comment is more there to keep with the flow of the piece than as an outright condemnation.

1:21 AM  
Anonymous Mysterious Stranger said...

Another question: Why is the purpose of the intelligence apparatus to provide the Vice President with information? Is that a dig at Bush, or does the VP have actual responsibilities dealing with intelligence?

Also, as far as foreign languages go, it is well-known that the bigger the country, the worse people know other languages. It is a simple fact that an American has to travel way farther than a European to get to a foreign language setting, rendering a foreign language less essential. It is not surprising that the most multi-lingual country is Iceland. Do you think that the average Chinese speaks a foreign language better than an average American? How about the average Russian? (There is a reason why the Russians take their movies dubbed.) The amount of foreign language instruction in American schools has traditionally been on par with their Soviet counterparts. Don't forget, too, that the US has an advantage in that respect due to its huge immigrant community. I doubt there is a shortage of Korean-speaking intelligence analysts.

6:46 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

As far as foreign languages go. I think its unfair to compare the United States to China or Russia (or the Soviet Union if you want). The level of economic development should be taken into account.

The explanation is simpler and there is no need to come up with explanations based on size, population, location or wealth. Americans don't study foreign languages because English is the universal language, rendering the knowledge of a foreign language less essential..

In addition, I hope that you are not going to argue that its physical distance or the country's size that is responsible for the lack of foreign travel by Americans. There are several much better reasons for this. The most simple one is that with 2 weeks vacation there is little time to travel abroad. Another is that there is a common perception that travelling abroad is prohibitively expensive. A third is that American schools place very little emphasis on world history or world cultures. A fourth is that in comparison to most foreign media, American media puts more of an emphasis on domestic affairs than on international ones.

As far as immigrant minorities go. The United States military and government have very strict security procedures whereby they would most often prefer to take a farmboy from Idaho who has never been abroad to a first or second generation immigrant with travel abroad and possible foreign connections. For this reason I am not sure about how many native Korean speakers the military and government are willing to place in sensitive positions. The same applies for many other languages. You think there are few people who speak Arabic or Farsi in the States? There are many Lebanese, Egyptian and Iraqi Christians who almost despise Muslims. There are also many Farsi speaking Iranian Jews and some Arabic speaking Syrian and Iraqi Jews.. Very few of these people would be able to get security clearance..

12:06 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home