I like this picture for many reasons, the foremost being it is an illustration of my primary learning technique.
I never really learn anything important unless I can feel, viscerally, the impact it has. I don’t think I am alone.
Our Global War on Terror™ seems very similar. As the Defining Struggle of Our Times™, you’d think we would actually feel its effects more. Even the ‘police actions’ of Korea and Vietnam had the draft. Funds were raised by raising taxes. WWII had people coming together as never before to support the war effort. Factories were retrofitted to produce military equipment. Everything of value to the ‘effort’ was rationed. In short, Americans were more than vaguely aware that we were fighting for something for which sacrifice was necessary.
So where are we today? Well, to start out, even as the auto companies are cutting production, the Pentagon cannot deliver enough IED resistant vehicles. The president is cutting taxes, running up a horrendous debt. Our military is beyond stretched. And average Americans wouldn’t even know there was a war afoot if it weren’t for television coverage, which is vapid at best.
So why are we stuck in another dead end war, a quagmire, if you will? Simple. We don’t really have any visceral connection to the war. None at all. If you have a family member in the military you certainly feel it, but the numbers are too low to generate any real effect on the public discourse.
So the picture above is a metaphor for the near future. We are the bystanders, watching the US huck itsself over another thrilling jump. But something has gone wrong, horribly wrong. And all we can do is stand there with varying expressions of horror, paralyzed by inaction.
But who can blame us? There’s no way we could have known that hurtling over a four foot high jump at high speed to a steep downhill landing could end up like this, is there? Is there?