Just Plain Foolish

Just a chance for an old-fashioned, simple storyteller to say what needs to be said.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Connections

This weekend, I headed home to be with my mom on Mother's day. We shopped together, ran a few errands, and ate out. And a few times we sat, along with my husband, in front of the computer with the camera on, trying to keep a connection going with my dad. Oh, wicked, wicked us. Don't we know it's better for soldiers to be lonely and cut off from their family and friends? Why, he might have said something to endanger himself or others!

If someone had been listening in, they might have discovered that he put the calendar my husband gave him in a prominent spot so he could see the days ticking by, that he looks forward to canoeing this summer, and that he liked the jalapeno mustard in my last care package. They might even have found out that he misses his family and hates to say goodbye. Other secrets revealed were the marriage and expectant condition of an old friend, a new floral arrangement in the living room, and the reef scene I'm painting for them from some of their diving photos. Weighty matters, indeed. Someone might even have overheard that I finally saw one of his favorite movies and also thought it was funny. The horror!

The new DoD policy on internet usage would be less heinous if at the end of the day, soldiers could go home, throw something on the grill, and hang out with their families. Dad has been deployed in situations where he had only intermittant access to communications, and it was hard on him and on us. Even the situation where he can read his email, occasionally get videos from us, and every now and again a teleconference isn't ideal - when I offer him a tomato juice, it has to go a couple of weeks through the post to get there - but it's better than nothing.

The DoD has done its level best to keep soldiers from talking to legitimate oversight, such as Congress or the press. Are they now doing their best to keep our soldiers from even talking to their families? Unfortunately, I think so. Col. Dan Smith, over at The Quaker's Coloniel, has written about this, noting that the official story is that YouTube and MySpace are taking up too much bandwidth. I'm not buying it. There are other ways than an outright ban to moderate the impact of such connections. And, as I've just discussed, there are other programs which can take up bandwidth. But our conference didn't create a permanent record that other people might see. I think that they're more worried about controlling the image people have of war than they are controlling the bandwidth.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous quietpaths said...

I heard from crooks and liars about the DOD blocking Myspace and Youtube. They've been consistently sifting information for years. Check out Sullivan's post about the party of torture which puts yet another spin on things. Thank you goodness your Dad will be home soon. andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2007/05/the_party_of_to.html

5/17/2007 9:51 AM  
Blogger Plain Foolish said...

It disgusts me to hear people talk about torture as simply another "interrogation technique." Torture doesn't just change the person being tortured. It changes the torturer, too. I would ask anyone supporting torture to look in the mirror and ask themselves (if they can't come up with a better question) whether they want someone to talk about them like people talk about such lights of history as Tomas de Torquemada, Erzebet Bathory, Pontius Pilate, Josef Mengele, and "Bloody" Mary Tudor.

5/17/2007 10:38 AM  

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