So it turns out my boss lied to me about when our fellowship program
ends. He said originally six months after Labor Day
2004. Now he’s saying that Labor Day 2004 is the day the money runs out, and money for our last group of fellows runs out March 31, 2004
. This is the second time I’ve been misled about the future of my job -- I can’t help but suspect that things will end March 31, 2004 and not on Labor Day. Giving me a year instead of nearly two to find a new job. When he broke the news to me in January, he said that if we don’t find new funding by December 2003
, I had his blessing to being sending out resumes. Considering this economy
, it seems now that I should give myself a bit of a head start
And of course, he still gives me the same old song and dance: “Not to worry, new funders are going to be flooding in this summer. Just you wait.”
Ah yes, new funders. Right after he so deftly botched things with our old financial backer. Sorry if I don’t jump up and down with excitement.
Today I begin work on the very last design project -- a newspaper advertisement for our May conference. To say I’m completely demoralized would be putting it mildly. It’s difficult to get up the enthusiasm to work on something that seems so futile. After it’s done, all I have do is deploy the new website (which is mostly complete), and my work is completely finished. I can’t begin to imagine what I’m going to do all day long at that point. Probably look for work.
So the war rages on, and as I suspected, it’s not going as easily as the government and the press would have led us to believe. Two days into the campaign, you would have thought from the media coverage that victory was inevitable. Now billion dollar Apache attack helicopters are getting shot down by RPG’s and small arms fire, and Saddam is parading American POWs on television.
I read a transcript of the tape, where the Iraqi interrogators asked one of the soldiers what he was doing in Iraq. Dazed, the man responded: “I fix broke stuff.”
It really upset me when I read that. The bad grammar, the simple and concise definition of what he does in the Army. This poor guy -- a mechanic really -- is in the custody of the Iraqis, probably being tortured just because he’s an American soldier. I’m not sure this is what he saw for his future when he first enlisted.
My mom says that now that the war’s on and there are POWs that I should stop protesting and quiet my dissent. I disagree -- now is the time to yell and scream. This war is completely unjust, and the American soldiers are just as much the victims of it as the Iraqis. People enter the military to find a better life for themselves and to theoretically defend their country, not to invade other nations under false pretenses.
My philosophy of management -- whether you’re an office worker or the President of the United States -- is that you should never expect a subordinate to do something that you yourself are not willing to do. This does not necessarily include expecting someone to do something you’re not capable of doing -- theoretically, if you were capable of doing it, you could also be willing to do it. Leaders lead by leading. I know it sounds overly simplistic, but it’s true. It’s important for a leader to set an example -- he or she loses all credibility if they can’t demonstrate that they would also be willing to be in the trenches with the troops.
George W. Bush was not willing to go to Vietnam to fight in the infantry. He chose instead to serve in the Air National Guard, an entire year of his service completely unaccounted for. Who knows what would have happened had Bush been alive during World War II -- how he would have dealt with forces that truly threatened American security? We won’t ever know the answer to that. But I think it’s safe to say that Iraq is analogous to Vietnam, not Nazi Germany -- the Iraqi regime and its weapons of mass destruction represent a theoretical threat just as the communist Vietcong represented a theoretical threat. If Bush was unwilling to fight in Vietnam, he should never have felt that he had the right to command U.S. troops into a similar situation.
How people are unable to draw the same conclusions about Bush’s credibility as they did about Clinton’s is beyond me. Both men evaded service in Vietnam -- neither was really qualified to command the armed forces into battle.
Of course, this fact was lost on Bush himself during the Republican primary campaign. He managed to somehow swindle the conservative Southern voters into thinking that he was pro-veteran while John McCain, a real war hero and former POW, was not. I can’t help but think that this entire situation would have been handled differently if McCain were in charge.
Don’t get me wrong; although I disagree with the war, I want us to win it. We don’t have any other option. But watching the Iraqi resistance -- which is quite different from the welcome the administration assured us our troops would get -- makes me worry about the costs. They’re not going to just roll over and give up -- this is possibly the fiercest fighting American troops have been engaged in since Vietnam. It’s certainly overshadowed both the first Gulf War and the Somalia campaign.
This is definitely a strange and conflicted position to be in. Disagreeing with the war, but hoping it’s successful. I’m not sure our President with his simplistic policies and black and white worldview could even understand it. His advisors are another matter altogether. Richard Perle, anyone?