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Re: Am I the only one?
> In a message dated 3/31/2003 6:33:22 PM Central America Standard Tim,
> Cfbernard@aol.com writes:
> > You are not the only one! My concerns include our unwillingness to learn
> > from experience or the past, yet this appears to be an enduring fault.
> > Sadly,
People have traditionally learned the reality of things from present and
personal miseries. I wonder if that will be the case this time, though.
The generations that knew and experienced the Second World War and the
Korean War are fast passing from the scene, and the veterans of the
Vietnamese Conflict tell tales that few really want to hear. The horrors
of war as perceived by the present generation have been ignored because
they're only "history". War for most of them is a "hard-hitting" action
movie with which to eat expensive popcorn or view on television in between
commercials for all sorts of goods guaranteed to make one happy and thin.
Or perhaps war for them is a novel with easy words and "shocking"
language, or selected and sanitized, but "live", images beamed to their
living rooms by satellite and analyzed and annotated by a legion of
talking heads pontificating in terms, such as "collateral damage" or
"personnel insertion", that manage to make human conflict sound like some
sort of automated chess game.
Meanwhile, the audience is insulated by an assurance that _they_ will not
be put in situations such as those that they are viewing, but are urged to
lay in duct tape and think about getting a smallpox vaccination. Their
present and personal miseries consist are largely economic. Although I
would not suggest that the pain of unemployment, pilfered retirement
accounts, or diminished expectancies of living the good life are not real,
I _do_ feel that they are only indirectly and tenuously connected with the
realities of what is happening to our our forces, their opponents, and the
people who are so unfortunate as to be caught between them.
I'm afraid that most Americans are learning nothing from this conflict,
but perhaps I'm just discouraged by the news that the House of
Representatives has passed a budget that proposed the reduction of funding
for veterans' benefits by twenty-five percent.
There seems to be a discontinuity between what _we_ know is happening and
what others perceive.
Lynn Harry Nelson
Professor emeritus of
University of Kansas