Thought You'd Never Ask

Just mouthing off -- because I can.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Gone fishin'

Well, my family and I are not "gone fishin'" in the literal sense (not this time). We're "gone fishin'" in the metaphorical sense. We're headed off on a family road trip into a big part of Mother Nature we don't usually get to see these days: the American West. We're going to dwell for a Biblical period of time (about 40 days) in a wilderness of sorts: we'll be sleeping in unfamiliar motel beds and campgrounds in about 15 states around our great nation. I'm taking books to read instead of my laptop, and I'm turning off my cellphone. This, my friends, is for me the modern wilderness, a vacation away from email and the media, enjoying some Blue Highways roots.

I'm not even going to blog. I decided I wanted my head to be with my family on this adventure, not stuck on myself. I didn't want to find myself at some point irritated at my family for interrupting my "creative process;" I didn't want them to have to wait for me while I struggled to upload my deathless blogprose for some amorphous outer world. The heck with that. I'm sending old-fashioned postal postcards to my friends, and other than that, I want to "BE HERE NOW" (thank-you, Babba Ram Dass--there are still a few vestiges of my hippy California college days worth hanging onto, including those three words). I want to get back in touch with my inner Little Women, my inner Scarlett O'Hara, with the kind of people who don't surf the web or check a blogroll every day (not that there's anything wrong with that).

My children are 15 and 10 and eager and excited to go--they will not long stay 15 and 10....My Dreamboat and I are willing and able to hike, climb mountains, and wrangle gear and kids. We will not always be this energetic and capable. These few weeks will be a precious snapshot of and for the four of us, flash-frozen in time to always remember.

And we are the third and fourth generations in our family to make and love these crazy road trips around the nation, gobbling up miles and gasoline in our peculiar, casually adventuresome American way--striding like Paul Bunyan across vast distances. Our grandparents set out on similar journeys back before the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System was born, before Route 66 came and went. And it's still the same country, our country, depite the 21st-century surface gloss, and I want to see it again, and show it to my children.

Do kids still hang their bare feet out the car windows in the desert slipstream? Are there still date shakes and Burma Shave and Wall Drug signs? Does an orange soda pop still taste so good after an afternoon's forced hike, and does it still leave an orange mustache on the youngest kid's upper lip?

I'll let you know when we get back.

Friday, June 02, 2006


Mona Charen writes about the latest storm brewing about alleged U.S. Marine war crimes in Haditha, Iraq:

No one yet knows what happened in Haditha, Iraq, last November. There are accounts -- unconfirmed -- of a massacre perpetrated by a unit of enraged Marines against unarmed civilians. Unless I miss my guess, this is about to become the biggest story in the world....

Actually, My Lai was not evidence of the moral bankruptcy of the Vietnam War. It was exactly what America-haters here and abroad claimed it was not -- an aberration. It is endlessly frustrating to see those who were so wrong about the Cold War, starting with Vietnam, invoke the memory of that conflict to stand for the opposite of what it should. The principal "lesson" of Vietnam that our enemies learned was that America could be driven from the battlefield by psychological warfare aimed at the home front. They always flee, teaches Osama bin Laden. The lessons our liberal professors and editorialists learned was that the war was immoral. And no amount of experience -- a million boat people, genocide in neighboring Cambodia, the collapse of communism nearly everywhere -- has been sufficient to alter their view.

There are any number of liberal congressmen, commentators and opinion leaders who, like their European counterparts, actively wish America to fail in Iraq because it will mean the failure of the hated Bush presidency. Their reporting from Iraq has therefore been one-sided and defeatist from the beginning. (In fact, the defeatism preceded the Iraq War and was evident in the early days of the Afghanistan campaign as well when The New York Times famously declared the conflict a "quagmire" after only a few days of fighting.) ...

Incidently, I just finished reading Mona Charen's book, Useful Idiots, and it is a very interesting and informative historical review of how socialist/communist ideologies and apologists, beyond all reason and in the face of overwhelming contradictory evidence, have appealed and still appeal to so many beyond our nation's borders during the last century--and (tragically) inside them too. Young people especially, who don't have a clue about the history of the Cold War, should read this book.

I agree with Jeffrey Barnett at Michael Yon's Frontline Forum about the still-emerging Haditha story; the Mudville Gazette offers some factors to think about (both via Instapundit).

There is no way we can know what has happened until the full investigation (a reality and a process Americans can and should be extremely proud of in the face of the world) comes out. In the meantime we owe it to our soldiers, like any other U.S. citizens, to presume them innocent (and/or to presume they are being framed by various forces) until proven guilty. Too bad not all of our politicians and media feel that way. The anti-American, anti-war feeding frenzy has already (and predictably) ratcheted up into a disgusting spectacle.

UPDATE: Mark Steyn puts it into perspective.