Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Interrupting MurderTube for the End of War

In looking at Counterinsurgent warfare we can see a reflection of the change that is happening all around us and learn how change can be implemented in our communities. Counterinsurgent warfare means an end to a frontline marked on a map or with razor wire and the birth of “Suspicion in 360 degrees” as David Finkel puts it in his book The Good Soldiers. His book takes place during “the surge” in Iraq and focuses on one of the battalions stationed near Baghdad. This battalion’s commander, Kuazlarich, is a true soldier ready for war. Instead, he and his soldiers are tasked with being community developers and advancers of democracy instead of winners of battles. As an aside, the difficulty of this kind of war is why we won against the British Empire in That War. This kind of war makes one nostalgic for World War II where the boundaries and objectives were clearer and met advancing in one direction.
Counterinsurgent warfare demonstrates the complexities of the issues we face domestically. Take education for example: there is no war to be lead. No front line to charge at. I think this realization disappoints a lot of people. We saw the citizens of Iraq pull down the statue of Saddam – we saw Saddam and Bin Laden killed – but none of these moments give us the feeling of victory that we think V day would have given us. Our current society really lacks the moment when we get to see THE END. And I venture that is it because THE END was the biggest lie we ever swallowed. This reality really upsets people. We carry signs about what God wants and who He hates. We yell in the street. We make an Independent film and make our family and friends sit through the unabridged version or we start a “noise band” or a blog. Whatever our outlets we get a little upset and start longing for WWII and the Cold War and to be European because the boundaries were clearer and we had someone to demonize.
In education we have no demon. There is no leader of inequality that we can hold siege and give our list of demands to. There are just 1,000 towns that deserve long term cohesive teams. Early on the education movement we had a progression: the creation of public school and Brown vs. Board. We crossed boundaries. Now, we have a giant mess. There is not a clear answer beyond finding teachers and principals who can work as a team that are committed to excellence in a position that –with wonderful notable exceptions – is seen as noble but without prestige. Can we expect 6,000 U.S. soldiers to become duel citizens, fluent in Arabic, and commit their lives to changing a country they’re not from? No, but we can expect U.S. citizens to become involved in their local communities.
After each election we look to the President to change everything for us. We want the Legislative branch to bow to him and have our favorite Ex-President awakened from the grave (metaphorically in legislation) and enact the new Golden Era or become Europe!
Instead what we are called to become involved our communities. In volunteering, becoming active in local elections, paying attention to our neighbors and neighborhoods we can create change. There are no IEDs or EFDs waiting for us as we go to get the mail. Only a neighbor we hate because they’re too loud; a school we wish would just go away so that we can pocket the millage; a local proposition we don’t have time to read about; a child who is not ours and therefore not our responsibility. Becoming involved in one small aspect of our community and contributing a garden or free technology workshop or giving our time as Big Brother or Big sister can prevent  a shooting, give happiness, raise property value, and enhance our self-worth.
Spoiler alert: we weren’t able to change Iraq into what we envisioned, but we can change the U.S. It just takes the grit to continuously act on the problem we see right in front of us every day.

This ends this public service announcement we now return you to your regularly scheduled MurderTube. 

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