Mood: accident prone
Topic: "Escalator Escalatin'"(5)
Frodo is not one for serials. Readers, to paraphrase Forrest Gump, are never sure what they're going to get when they click on the appropriate links to the Hobbit. Except this time.
The Hobbit is increasingly concerned about events in another part of the world, again. This, perhaps because of clamor in the media about all sorts of domestic issues, is not receiving enough careful analysis by the inhabitants of Middle Earth. Frodo believes that the "heavy lifting" on healthcare reform is done, and that what remains is implementation. Not to discount the importance of the issue, but Frodo, as explained a bit below, thinks another worm from the flick "Tremors" is in pursuit of the protagonists of truth and justice.
Reports this morning of 90 more Afghan deaths, 40 of whom are civilians, by "coalition" efforts underscore Frodo's concern. Frodo knows, dear reader, that you know that there are 58,000 (give or take) American troops in Afghanistan right now. Frodo also knows that you know, dear reader, that there is a very distinct probability that these numbers will increase significantly in days to come. What Frodo also believes however, dear reader, is that you didn't know that there are 72,000 American mercenaries, also, in Afghanistan, at this very moment. These are "employees" of firms with familiar sounding names, e.g. Halliburton, Blackwater, et al.
Anticipating your mental questioning, know that these "employees" are not subject to the terms of the Geneva Convention. What's more, there is no distinct definition as to their duties and responsibilities. That means that they can use deadly force if there is a perception of threat to life or property, and that their conduct is often intermingled, in the minds of the Afghani civilian population, with that of the regular Armed Forces. The "employee" of Blackwater who sprays a truck with an automatic weapon is not viewed as an "employee," he is viewed as an American. Perhaps it is better to refer to him as an "Ugly American."
The reference above to a great narrative that is now more than forty years old is intentional. The fact that there are more "employees" in Afghanistan than there are American soldiers should make everyone stop and ask the questions that are now running through your head, dear reader.
Frodo is a believer in the fact that War should be expensive. War should drain national wealth, it should cost many lives, it should produce immeasurable suffering. For Frodo believes that the only way that History has shown the successful prevention of War is by the exposure of its terrible potential result. It is a bad idea to seek to make War cost-effective by, for example, out-sourcing the responsibility for War to an "employee." There is no room for "the best and the brightest" graduates of MBA School in the decision-making process leading to War.
We've been there, done that.