Is offense still the best defense?
It wasn’t so much the content, which I barely understood anyway, but the style of delivery that caught my attention.”Sumbody needs ta’ say sumthin “bout it!”It has been a few years since I was well versed in bar-speak, but I could not resist the temptation of having “fun with alcohol” over the phone lines, especially late on a Saturday night with the kids already in bed. So I asked him, “Might I inquire as to the subject that you are alluding to in this futile attempt to maneuver my prose down a particular path?”Silence.After a few seconds – “The war! The &%!?#* Arabs! We gotta go get “em “fore they get us! They’re comin’ outta the sandwork S”Oh. What a surprise that was.I allowed him to ramble on for a few minutes before finally cutting in to let him know that I had no problems coming up with my own ideas for columns, thank you, and then suggested that he go find a warm bench for the evening.I have enough weekly mental content to fill a column five days a week, but seeing how this newspaper chooses to express my opinion only once per, I am forced to pick and choose based upon my own personal priorities, and every so often suggestions from self-motivated individuals.This past week alone has run the gamut from the potential WWIII, to Avon’s looming budget crisis, to Amendment 31 (English language education), to Udall’s hypocrisy over tree-thinning, to Cacioppo, TIPSline, and back to everyone’s current favorite, Middle Creek housing and all of its associated ego trips, including the severely misguided who think the words “municipal” and “housing” belong in the same sentence.The obvious case being, of course, they do not belong on the same plot of land, much less the same paragraph.However, with my oldest being a mere two years from draft age, the potential war with 1.2 billion Muslims is my biggest selfish concern at the moment. Trouble is, my feelings on the subject are as confusing as Beaver Creek selling Colorado Coors to a German Oktoberfest crowd.The War Hedging Against Terrorism (WHAT?) is certainly justifiable as a defense mechanism to protect Americans, but the parameters with which to conduct said war are too cloudy and undefined for my simple mind to follow.I am not sure if we have lost sight of the true enemy, or we simply have lost track but refuse to relinquish the cause. Would I be willing to sacrifice my own child toward that cause? Would he have a choice? How much of the issue is politically motivated?To wit: A war resolution was co-sponsored by liberal left-wingnut Democratic Senators Dodd, Kerry, Byrd and Daschle “to take all necessary and appropriate actions to respond to the threat posed by Iraq’s refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs.”Confusing, right? Not when you consider the resolution was written in 1998 for former Commander-in-chief and future game show host Clinton, who was too busy at the time programming his own weapon of self-destruction with Miss Lewinsky to pay attention to world affairs.The direct enemy is (was?) Osama but now has expanded to an axis, which is actually a large checkmark if one looks at a map. In order to control this checkmark, the Bush administration is claiming the best offense is a good defense used in an offensive manner.Ok, sure, I agree that pre-emptive attacks are an acceptable form of defense used in everyday life. I take vitamins to prevent colds, drive an SUV with six airbags to help prevent injury to my family in case of an accident, and try to publish as few libelous statements as possible to prevent tunnel-visioned nutcases from attacking me in bars.So I see nothing wrong with our elected leader doing his best to prevent further Americans from being murdered. I do not wish to wait until “after” a few more thousand innocent human beings, whether Americans or not, perish by a weapon of mass destruction, and then attempt to take out those responsible in a reactive manner.Yet how many actual innocents will we slaughter in the name of humanity, religion and collateral damage to hypothetically prevent many more from falling into an early grave?Alas, I am afraid I have the brain of a hawk but the heart of a dove, or maybe it’s the other way around. Maybe that is why so many accuse me of writing like a birdbrain.Morals, ethics, common sense, common decency, national pride and duty all play a part in the choices we make, yet I look at my oldest son and remember him at the tender age of 8 while discussing the finer nuances of gridiron play.”Dad,” he said. “If the best offense is a good defense, then doesn’t that make the best defense a good offense?””Yeah, but …””Then if that’s true, then which is actually better, offense or defense?”My head is still spinning.Richard Carnes of Edwards can be reached at email@example.com