Monday, July 31, 2006

War Zone Daydreams

117 War Zone Daydreams

You get used to the war zones after awhile, and when a new one pops up, you lust for it.

Where do you want to go? Which side are you on? Where can you do the most good.

Talking, here, about reporters, not soldiers. Soldiering is a lousy job. The pay stinks, the hours stink, and after awhile in combat, YOU stink.

Things don’t change a lot. But one thing has: instead of the old men sending the young men off to fight and die, it’s the old men and women sending the young men and women off to fight and die. And to rub the privates of the captives and threaten them with Good Old American Eternal Life. The motto could be “You’ll live forever and never meet Allah.” (“And oh, by the way, I’m going to attach this little electrode to your skin. This may tingle a bit.”)

So where DO you want to go? Maybe Beirut? Maybe Jerusalem or Tel Aviv? The coffee’s much better in Lebanon. So is the wine. But the air is less safe. And the ground.

You go either place and you’re going to see a lot of blood. Who’s you want to look at? After it gets out of the body, it’s all pretty much the same.

But like the legend of the “Scorpion and the Frog,” nothing you do is going to change anything over there. So the coffee, wine and air notwithstanding, Jerusalem’s probably a better bet than Beirut.

You say you don’t know the scorpion/frog thing? Okay, here’s the short version.

The two creatures are sitting on a riverbank and the scorpion asks the frog to swim him to the other side. The frog demurs fearing the scorpion will sting him and he’ll die. The scorpion points out that if that happened, he, too would die since scorpions can’t swim. The frog reluctantly agrees. The scorpion climbs aboard. Halfway across he stings the frog and as the two start to drown the frog says “you promised not to do that.” And the scorpion’s last words “ah, yes. But this is the middle east.”

So the sides will swim and sting and almost everyone drowns. But don’t worry. There’s still Syria and Jordan and Egypt and Saudi Arabia (which remain in the closet, claiming peace but not trustworthy,) Iraq, Iran, and a handful of Rhode Island-size Sheikdoms each of which has its own supply of stolen Soviet nukes and more money than Allah.

Who’s left to fight another day? The above Good Citizens of the World and a handful of Israelis who somehow learned to swim.

Ah but it still has to be covered, right? So send in us clowns. We’ll get to the truth. We always do. The sounds and smells of battle. Cordite. Explosions. Bullet holes in the walls, in the furniture. Yum!

Lusting for the war zone gets old kind of fast once you’re in it. Ask anyone who’s ever been to Viet Nam or Nicaragua or Somalia or Chechnya or the Balkans.

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2006 WJR

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