The Edmond Sun

Opinion

March 1, 2014

HEY HINK: War redefined: Don’t fall for the con job

EDMOND — This week, I’m thinking about shell games and war. Let’s start with war. This is probably the most damaging social convention ever devised by the mind of man. But war is a phenomenon that’s touched the lives of every American. We owe our freedoms to those who won the “Revolutionary War.” The political and economic face of America was forever changed by “The Civil War.” The pattern for the international stage as it exists today was largely defined by “World War I.” The most dangerous and malignant totalitarian threat in history was stopped by the allies in “World War II.” In these wars, combatants knew who the enemy was, and the war ended when the enemy surrendered.

After World War II, ideas about war began to change. In order to keep the American public appropriately keyed up about the Soviet threat, tensions between Russia and the United States were described as a “Cold War.” This may have been a useful term, but it began to carry us away from our understanding of what “war” really is.

Then came the “Korean conflict,” which had all the outward appearances of war; uniformed soldiers from enemy nations locked in deadly combat to seize and hold territory through military might. But our politicians chose not to call this “war.” In President Truman’s words, this was a “police action.”

In Vietnam, to the men and women who fought there, it was war. Except it wasn’t. This was another police action. Even though every American I know who discusses these conflicts refers to them as “the Korean War,” and “the Vietnam War,” for political reasons, officially, that’s not what they are.

Nor are the men and women who fought and are now fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan fighting wars. True, at one time, they were engaged in a “war on terror.” Now, officially, they’re engaged in “Overseas Contingency Operations.”

Official documents will not speak of “retreat” or “surrender” in Vietnam. Our departure from Iraq and Afghanistan will be soft-pedaled and obscured by slick diplomatic double-talk. But let’s not kid ourselves. We can call it what we like but our enemies in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan call it “war.” The fact that America leaves the field of combat without achieving its objective is victory for our enemies. We can’t change the facts by wrapping them in sweet sounding propaganda.

Let’s not forget our “war on poverty.” After committing billions and years combating the enemy, poverty has fought us to a standstill. We’ve also fought a “war on drugs.” How’s that going for us? In both these instances, the rubric of “war,” was co-opted by politicians and applied to situations where there will never be the possibility of a capitulation.

What does this have to do with shell games? We all know the trick. The gullible mark is enticed to wager on which of three walnut shells hides the pea. The mark finds the pea when it suits the con man and sometimes, the pea isn’t there at all. This is accomplished by a technique called “misdirection.” The con manipulates the mark into focusing on something extraneous while the trick is performed. To say it another way, the con makes sure the mark is not seeing what the con is actually doing.

We might have sympathy for the innocent mark who doesn’t realize what (s)he’s getting into. But if they continue to play after knowing they’re being conned, they’re no longer an innocent mark, they’re just a chump.

Ever since World War II, war, as a reality and as a political expedient has essentially been a shell game. Politicians have used our fighting men and women in conflicts around the world exhorting the American public to support their “battle for freedom” when, in reality, these wars and pseudo-wars are fought to accomplish cynical objectives known only to the politicians. And now, our military capabilities are being wasted and degraded to the point we couldn’t fight a real war even if the future of the world depended on it.

It’s past time for the Americans to do some serious soul-searching about what war is; what it costs; what you risk if you fight without winning and what you risk if you can’t fight at all.

If there’s a “reset” button that needs to be hit, it’s the “reset” on the appraisal of war.

As a concluding note, if you hear someone talking about a “war on women,” don’t buy this bogus misuse of the term. This is another case of the con trying to get a gullible mark to look for the nonexistent pea. I’m Hink and I’ll see ya.

MIKE HINKLE is a retired attorney and Edmond resident.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Film critic Turan produces book

    Kenneth Turan, who is the film critic for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” has written a book “Not to be Missed, Fifty-Four Favorites from a Life Time of Film.” His list of movies span the gamut from the beginnings of filmmaking through the present day.
    There are some surprising omissions on his list. While he includes two films, “A Touch of Evil” and Chimes at Midnight” made by Orson Welles, and one, “The Third Man,” that Welles starred in but did not direct. He did not however, include “Citizen Kane,” that was the first movie Welles made, that is  often cited by both film critics and historians as a favorite film.

    July 28, 2014

  • Logan County’s disputed zone

    Watchers of “Star Trek” may recall the episode from the original series entitled, “Day of the Dove.” In this episode, Captain Kirk and his crew are forced by a series of circumstances into a confrontation with the Klingons. The conflict eventually resolves after Kirk realizes that the circumstances have been intentionally designed by an alien force which feeds off negative emotions, especially fear and anger. Kirk and his crew communicate this fact to the Klingons and the conflict subsides. No longer feeding upon confrontation, the alien force is weakened and successfully driven away.

    July 28, 2014

  • Russell leads in Sun poll

    Polling results of an unscientific poll at www.edmondsun.com show that Steve Russell, GOP candidate for the 5th District congressional seat, is in the lead with 57 percent of the vote ahead of the Aug. 26 runoff election. Thirty readers participated in the online poll.

    July 28, 2014

  • Healthier and Wealthier? Not in Oklahoma

    Increased copays, decreased coverage, diminished health care access, reduced provider budgets and increased frustration are all the outcomes of the Legislature’s 2014 health care funding decisions. Unlike some years in the past when a languishing state economy forced legislators into making cuts, the undesirable outcomes this year could easily have been avoided.

    July 26, 2014

  • Medicaid reform a necessity

    Historically, education spending by the state of Oklahoma has been the largest budget item. This is no longer the case. In recent years, the state of Oklahoma spends more on Medicaid (operated by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority) than common education and higher education combined, according to the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

    July 25, 2014

  • Remembering lessons from 1974

    This week marks the 40th anniversary of an important milestone in America’s constitutional history. On July 24, 1974, the Supreme Court voted 8-0 to order the Nixon White House to turn over audiotapes that would prove the president and his close aides were guilty of criminal violations. This ruling established with crystal clarity that the executive branch could not hide behind the shield of executive privilege to protect itself from the consequences of illegal behavior. It was a triumph for the continued vitality of our constitutional form of government.

    July 25, 2014

  • RedBlueAmerica: Is parenting being criminalized in America?

    Debra Harrell was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The South Carolina woman says her daughter had a cell phone in case of danger, and critics say that children once were given the independence to spend a few unsupervised hours in a park.
    Is it a crime to parent “free-range” kids? Does Harrell deserve her problems? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, debate the issue.

    July 24, 2014

  • Technology that will stimulate journalism’s future is now here

    To say technology has changed the newspaper media industry is understating the obvious. While much discussion focuses on how we read the news, technology is changing the way we report the news. The image of a reporter showing up to a scene with a pen and a pad is iconic but lost to the vestiges of time.
    I am asked frequently about the future of newspapers and, in particular, what does a successful future look like. For journalists, to be successful is to command multiple technologies and share news with readers in new and exciting ways.

    July 23, 2014

  • New Orleans features its own “Running of the Bulls”

    On July12, the streets of the Warehouse District of New Orleans were filled with thousands of young men who were seeking to avoid being hit with plastic bats wielded by women on roller skates as part of the annual “Running of the Bulls” that takes place in New Orleans.
    The event is based on the “Running of the Bulls” that occurs in Pamplona, Spain, that is  part of an annual occurrence in which a group of bulls rampage through the streets of Pamplona while men run from them to avoid being gored by their sharp horns. That event was introduced to the English-speaking world by Ernest Hemingway, who included scenes from it in his critically acclaimed 1926 novel “The Sun also Rises.”

    July 22, 2014

  • OTHER VIEW: Newsday: Lapses on deadly diseases demand explanation

    When we heard that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had created a potentially lethal safety risk by improperly sending deadly pathogens — like anthrax — to other laboratories around the country, our first reaction was disbelief.

    July 22, 2014

Poll

If the Republican runoff for the 5th District congressional seat were today, which candidate would you vote for?

Patrice Douglas
Steve Russell
Undecided
     View Results