A Strange Thing Happened on the Way to War

I probably need to see Jarhead, if only because I missed the actual war. I think that might be the moment I disconnected from the American experience. It’s a strange thing to accidently be in a foreign country while your home country is at war. People ask you questions you not only can’t answer (which will always be true in war), but for which you’re utterly unprepared. I was in Mexico, and in Mexico they’re always convinced gringos are there doing something sketchy. It’s more interesting that way. And they’re right half the time. And the other half they still make money at it. But they were convinced I was there “dodging the draft.” Try explaining to someone in another country, speaking a different language, that you’re not dodging the draft, that in fact there is no draft, and this isn’t a real war. It’s a tough sell. It was a tough sell back then, when the actual war was about four days long. I can’t imagine what it would be like today.

And Gulf War 1 was a really odd one to miss because, as I heard when I got back, it was the CNN war. Shit was blowing up on television! I heard… I was out of range of television. I missed that brief moment in the sun. I also missed that brief moment, in the sun. Notice that shit doesn’t blow up on television this time around. Even with record numbers of journalists in harm’s way and twice as many news channels. Possibly because we’re not doing the blowing up of shit at this point, and so we don’t know where to point the camera. We’re not wagging this dog.

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