Monday, June 18, 2007

On the importance of precise definitions

Okay, so I just got an e-mail from a friend of mine, and in the name of OPSEC I'll refrain from sharing his branch of service or current location, but suffice it to say that it's very, very hot where he is, it's quite far away, and that he would have far more opportunities to buy Christmas presents in Dubai than anyone currently in their offices in Washington.

Because he's, y'know, there, and not here where I can sit him down and talk with him, I haven't had the opportunity to ask his opinion on this:
Q: Are there any members of the Bush family or this administration in this war?
SNOW: Yeah, the President. The President is in the war every day.
Q: Come on, that isn’t my question –
SNOW: Well, no, if you ask any president who is a commander in chief –
Q: On the frontlines, wherever…
SNOW: The President.

Yeah, I understand that this has been a challenge not only for the president but for the 101st Fighting Keyboarders and their Cheeto-Dust Coated Typing Fingers of Patriotism (and may God preserve them from carpal tunnel syndrome), but I thought this would be a great opportunity for some clarification.

1. Is the daytime temperature at your current location under 100 degrees?
2. Are you fewer than four time zones away from your spouse/the majority of your loved ones?
3. Is your nighttime sleep uninterrupted by jet engines, gunshots, and/or mortar fire?
4. Can you walk outside of your home without a flak vest?
5. Are you allowed to go home at the end of the workday?
6. Do you share at least one language with the majority of the people in your city?
7. Do you feel comfortable that very few of those people want you dead?
8. When your boss gives you an assignment, does s/he also give you the financial, physical, and human resources necessary to complete the job?

If you answered "yes" to two or more of the above questions, you're not actually on the front lines. You're in a place commonly known as "home." The front lines are somewhere else. It's rather far away and identifiable through extreme heat and humidity, gunfire and explosions, and lots of death. I'll try to dig up a map for you. Don't worry, though; it's a mistake anyone could make.

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