20 October 2009

Reintegration Cliche...

There's an old cliche about the reintegration process which basically states that, upon arriving back in the United States, returning troops often feel a little jaded as to the news stories which average Americans find themselves watching. For example, Soldiers returning from Iraq or Afghanistan may feel taken aback at the number of Americans watching, say, celebrity news as opposed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Aviators are, by their very nature, far removed from the realities of counterinsurgency. Rarely will aviators discuss topics such as Arab-Kurd relations, Iraqi politics, economics, and the like. Oddly enough, even though I was in Iraq, I was stuck within the confines of the forward operating base, only knowing Iraq as a featureless swath of sand which occasionally passed below me as I went from base to base. I would have to teach myself about the happenings in Iraq myself; strangely enough, I got some of the best analysis from bloggers who were back in the United States, and who never wore a military uniform.

You see, the Armed Forces Network's news--really just clips from the major media sources--had plenty of "not news": movie openings, Michael Jackson's death, you name it. All of these stories were devoured by many Soldiers, while real news (such as the Iranian elections) were often ignored. The information technology of the 21st Century allowed us to entertain ourselves with mindless drivel, even in the middle of a complex counterinsurgency environment.

Although, the strange fact of the matter is that even the most reputable military analysts delve into this realm. Today's example is Jules Crittenden. Yes, Crittenden's post today involves a love triangle between Jon Gosselin, Kate Gosselin, and, most shockingly, the Octomom. I have no idea why these people are so famous or why they're on every news stand, but seriously, stop it. Their fifteen minutes of fame is over.

Why can't we go back to the drama surrounding Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, whose exploits seem to be captured on a daily basis on Foreign Policy Online. From his steamy phone sex chats with Italian Equal Opportunities Minister (and former hot model) Mara Carfagna (see attached pic), to his teenage groupies, to...most shockingly...allegedly paying the Taliban not to shoot at Italian troops--this guy's got enough material to keep us amused for quite a while.

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