Current Commentary

Veterans Take
Guest Editor
Curtis Hendel


Signs of the Times

Technology is a pretty amazing thing. In the last century we have gone from horses to horsepower and the telegraph to the Internet. So many dreams from centuries past have become reality as man developed the capability of powered flight and even landed on the moon.

There are very few people in our country whose standard of living has not been advanced by all of the new gadgets in the last 40 years. The age of electronics has been absolutely mind blowing. Just think of the progress, better yet, ask an older person to describe his or her childhood for you and the work they did when then were young.

In most career fields we are required to do much less manual work and we can cover much more ground and complete much more work in far less time. Food is more plentiful and the medical field has made tremendous strides in keeping people healthy and improving quality of life. So where has technology failed us?

From governments to their people, all races, creed and color have failed to find a way to use technology to stop senseless killing. Wars still rage all over the world and violent crime now comes with automatic weapons fire. Then there are the terrorist organizations that move in small numbers but use all of the technology available against civilians.

We did use technology to stop the Hitler, Hirohito, and to stem the spread of communism. Just our technological superiority has deterred many potential enemies from moving against us, to monitor our enemies, and fight crime more effectively. So where did technology fail us? It didn‘t, we did. As our world became a better place, the dark side of human nature tried to take control, and we have moved to stop them. We have worked to use our technology to help this world rather than harm it. Our “smart” weapons have limited the number of civilian casualties in the latest war substantially. The nature of past conflicts and the less sophisticated weapons caused far more casualties to civilians; it was the nature of the conflict. But in 2003 the mainstream press can turn one errant bomb into an atrocity because the war was not on the scale of, say, World War II.

So what is my point this time? Our country, our military, and our very way of life are at war. This is a broad based war unlike any we have ever seen. The enemy is not confined to one country but moves like a shadow. Many of our local guard members are now being activated to fill slots left vacant by units moved into the combat zone. There are questions on weapons of mass destruction and intelligence sources. I feel that in time these will be answered.

As a country we cannot start to bicker about what we don‘t know. Personally, I am not privy to the files of the FBI, the CIA, or military intelligence from Iraq. Most of us are not on the “need to know” list. The fact is that we do not have the right to know everything that goes on.

We need to remember that in our modern world many of the greatest threats are unseen by most of us. We also need to remember what these unseen threats did to us less than two years ago and what it did to our souls the day the towers fell. We must keep momentum behind our forces. Those that wish to undermine the mission to keep us safe will take advantage of a lack of public support if we allow them to. Support our men and women, they serve us.

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