Comments: EMPATHY

Heh. The crap they made us wear was even heavier. We would have killed for the niftier armor they make nowadays, but it was no big deal, my particular hatred was for those damned MOPP suits and gas masks. Armor plates are just heavy and bulky, MOPP gear is positively stifling, but we needed to wear it and drink lots of water to replace what we'd lost, because the risk of dehydration is worth it, considering what VX or sarin could do to you.

Anyway, the sequence you describe in "Over There" is entirely contrived. I see it as a failure of imagination, a lack of familiarity with what really goes on in combat or military in general. It's self fulfilling as well, the idea that we'd just blow up a house on someone's say so is "credible and gripping" because, well, that's how it is always portrayed in the popular media. Isn't that what we always see in the news, where we blast some house to smithereens on a tip? So it gets portrayed as such, over and over, till the popular perception is that it is standard procedure. And so it repeats, and it doesn't occur to the folks writing the story that we maybe just do things differently. Not in the approved paradigm.

Fortunately for us, the war is being conducted by folks who understand warfare, like Red6 and your husband, rather than some technoweenie in Hollywood who thinks 40mm grenades explode like so many pounds of dynamite and gasoline.

Now, don't get all bent out of shape because you didn't consider possible alternatives to blowing up the house in the stupid TV show. No alternatives were presented to you, suspension of disbelief was enough to carry you through the show, but at least you maintained sufficient incredulousnes to ask the question afterwards. But think of it like this, if the show was "Hyperknitting", and the rest of us were watching (who don't know squat about knitting) were led to believe that some overhand/underhand manuever (or whatever, I don't know squat about knitting) was the proper way to make a sock, and you know darned (heh) well that there are a lot more ways to make a sock...how would you feel about it?

I dunno if that last part made enough sense.

Posted by Jason at January 9, 2006 04:36 PM

That's probably the most frustrating thing about getting to be "in the know" about how the military works...I am by no means fully educated but it's getting increasingly more frustrating to deal with my ignorant civilian counterparts!...which makes me realize how little I knew for so long :)

Posted by Nicole at January 9, 2006 08:58 PM

Don't feel too bad. Having served in the (peace-time) Army, I can catch more stupid portrayals of the military than the average civilian, but even I get snagged. For the generations who grew up on TV, movies and mainstream media, it's tough to get away from a lifetime of indoctrination.

Posted by Eric at January 10, 2006 04:23 AM

that'll teach you to stop reading daily kos.

; )

anyways, there is historical precedent for what happens when you try to armor a soldier from head to toe. it's called the middle ages. Something will happen to make ceramic body armor obsolete, and then we'll stop using it altogether.

Posted by annika at January 10, 2006 05:12 PM

Great post. Just goes to show you should never form an opinion until you have seen at least more than one side of the situation. I don't think the kids at KOS will ever figure that out.

Posted by Titan Mk 6B at January 10, 2006 06:48 PM

I have to send my MIL to blogs like this so she can educate herself. She thinks most of the military are blooming idiots and WHY did I ever chose to serve. THANK YOU for keeping us informed.

Posted by Sgt Lori at January 13, 2006 07:21 PM