August 14, 2005

Quote of the Week

War sure isn't what it used to be.............

From the New York Times 13 August 2005

...But wherever possible, the current generation of young soldiers - like its predecessors in Vietnam and other conflicts - has sought the succor of the familiar, and resourceful soldiers in this war have taken this quest to astonishing levels, accumulating all the accouterments of home: personal electronics, bed linens, furniture, household appliances and beauty products.

Gadgetry, in particular, proliferates among the 138,000 troops stationed in Iraq: laptop computers, MP3 and DVD players, digital cameras, televisions and video game consoles. On bases in greater Baghdad, many soldiers have cellphones and some have satellite dishes that pull in scores of stations. Personal DVD collections numbering several hundred are not uncommon; the legendary ones top 1,000.

Never in the field of human conflict has so much stuff been acquired by so many soldiers in so little time.

One Louisiana National Guardsman stationed on Camp Liberty converted his trailer into a recording studio, and a New York National Guardsman living nearby has spent some of his free time during the last year producing a record by a singer in New York using an electric keyboard, sequencer, laptop computer, sampler, drum machine and mixer in his room; he and the singer use sound files sent via the Internet to exchange musical ideas and recorded tracks.

"I don't know how they managed to acquire so much audio-visual machinery," said an amused Lt. Col. Geoffrey J. Slack, 48, commander of the First Battalion, 69th Infantry, of the New York National Guard, which is garrisoned on Camp Liberty with the Louisianans.

And just in case you want to know how the soldiers acquire all of their stuff.

Some of these luxuries came with the soldiers, but most are purchased from departing troops, in stores (the one at Camp Liberty sells at least 11 different makes of television, including a giant $2,999 42-inch JVC plasma television) or over the Internet (the United States Postal Service charges domestic rates for packages sent to troops in Iraq).

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