Friday, September 15, 2006

I am not well suited to the current fashions in public discourse. I really shouldn't have a blog, I will have such high hopes for all the things I could say and then those hopes will fall flat because I am, quite frankly, not fast enough in my thinking to be quick and on the ball. Bloggers are supposed to be first responders to events, amateur feedback must be immediate if it is to be noticed. But I take much longer to form my opinions, days or weeks even. Even after I've thought a topic through, I often change my mind several times as new information comes to light- or even just as I think about it more.

I don't think this is a bad thing, as far as what it says about the state of my mind. But it does make me ill suited to blogging.

For example, I have a piece started about war crimes, the rape/murder in Mahmudiya that was in the news a while ago, comparing it to war crimes in Vietnam, specifically the accounts published by the LA Times- again, several weeks if not months ago. My first reaction was that
our willingness to admit that a crime was committed meant that we had advanced in human rights as a nation and as a military since Vietnam. Now, I'm not so sure that it isn't just a symptom of the information technology that has revolutionized the way we see public events; would the military command have covered up the Mahmudiya murders if they thought they could get away with it? Even if I finish this essay I've started, it will take me so long to decide the stance I want to take, the events will be long gone.

This is a problem I frequently encounter when reading Slate magazine. There is a reader forum for commentary on the articles published, and I am often inclined to post there, but by the time I have something coherent and thought out to post, the topics are buried pages back. Two articles like that popped up today, this one and this one. I would love to write an essay on the lessons we obviously didn't learn from Vietnam (in regards to overwhelming force etc), and I would love to put in my two cents about disabled veterans and the toll of serving a cause you don't believe in, but by the time I get my thoughts together, the forums will have moved on to other topics. And what's the point of having angry opinions if no one hears you?

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