Saturday, June 02, 2007

Post Titled: A Brunch like CLUE (minus the Murder.)
Post Sub-Titled: Seattle vs. Berlin or the US vs. Germany
Post Sub-Subtitled: IRAQ... Iraq... Iraq...

Constnatly had to weigh the pros and cons of Seattle and Berlin this morning, (which I do in my own mind quite often anyhow), but today a young Air Force Officer at brunch was leaving the service soon and seriously trying to decide which one he should to move to... so, simple and brief, it goes:

Seattle Pros: Beautiful location, many interesting and intelligent people, great arts and music scene,
Berlin Pros: all of the same minus the ocean and rainforest, but plus the cheap cost of living and an excellent public transit system.
Seattle COns: full of Americans, Rain, crazy people (i.e hipsters, crackheads/junkies, apathy, social clique-ishness...
Berlin CONs: cold, humidity, unemployment, (or difficulty getting work permit or residence permit if you are non-EU), language barriers, Germans (are often) considered to be notoriously hard-to-get-to-know.
so cite a few...
COnsidering that Seattle has one million or so population and Berlin has 4-5 million, I would rate their cultural advantages as almost equal after the adjustment for polulation and size. Jesi said once: "Berlin is like New YOrk in the 80's" - not that I have any way to qualify that statement other than what I saw in Downtown 81 and those graffitti documentaries, but somehow that sounds about right... random, active, broke-ass and unfinished... gimey, decomposing and brightly-colored at the same time... (minus the murder rate, though.)

Brunch at Yorckschlosschen this morning had a most unique lineup: an Author, a rock musician, an Italian Professor of sorts, a Conductor/Composer, a Teacher of many things, and Iraq War Vet, and the "Blogger" (myself.) Such a peculiar lineup constantly reminded me of the characters of the boardgame CLUE... great way to officially start a weekend. I was fascinated by what the Air FOrce guy had to say (he will remain anonymous) but was also quoted via Helen on Freakonomics recently: CLICK HERE.

"That country is FUCKED, and we fucked it up. Every day our guys found 20-40 corpses in the streets of Baghdad whose kneecaps and eyeballs had been drilled out with electric drills, then they were shot in the head. How can they be expected to function normallsy living in constant fear if they could be dragged out of their bed in the middle of the night and killed at any time, or their wives or daughters could be raped in front of them? There are just streams of raw sewage running down the streets that you have to avoid stepping in all the time... I mean, yea- Saddam was a horrible dictator but at least then you didn't have stuff like this happening." This was making my stomach turn, it was a strange was a moment in which everything I have ever read in the news sunndenly matched up with someone who had seen it with their own eyes. I hadn't felt so gross about the war since my mom and sister made cookies and we brought them to Landstuhl hospital in the winter of 2004 and saw the wards of injured troops recovering from all manner of injuries sustained in Iraq. It was just yesterday that I had emailed my father that I really had no further ideas, recommendations or comments to add to the Iraq debacle. The young Air Force Officer said "We just have to leave. They (the insurgents) can still rile all these young men against the Americans so long as we are there. I mean, they hate us- and they should hate us, look what we've done!- we've invaded their country and turned it into a nightmare- ! Basically, we need to pull out, and the violence will most likely then escalate to become a full-blown civil war, and then- after a lot more suffering- I think things will at least reach a balance..."

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2 Comments:

Blogger Johanna said...

I guess you were the only real authority on Seattle today...
I'm very curious to see which city will win in the end.

7:48 pm  
Anonymous Jax said...

I wonder if this Air Force gent actually knew what he was talking about or if he is only repeating what he heard about on CNN. I am a former soldier and I served in Baghdad and while there is violence (and of a type not seen in the US)and life is unstable, to say that things were not like this under Saddam is either an enormous misunderstanding or an out and out lie. To say that there was not this kind of torture on an ongoing and pervasive basis under Hussein is so misguided as to be beyonf the point of refuting. If anyone wishes to say there was not raw sewage under Saddam, they need to visit with someone in Sadr City about the streets covered in raw sewage. Soldiers used to see kids playing in the street in the sewage because it was all they had ever known. The US Army cleaned it up and life is better there now. He is entitled to his opinion, but the American people are entitled to the facts as well.

6:58 pm  

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