games are cultural exchange

So I've been playing Generals lately. I was initially put off by the game's ponderous engine and inconsistent multiplayer, but it just has too much cool stuff to ignore. How cool is it to have Rangers dropping down ropes from a Chinook into the middle of an enemy base? Or commit a melankey bit of anthrax bombing?

Anyway I played a game this morning and I was partnered up with a guy from Germany. As it happens there appear to be large numbers of Germans playing this game online. So he asked where I was from and I told him California, and he started asking me about the war with Iraq. We're blowing stuff up together and he's telling me that Bush Jr. is arrogant and stupid, that France and Germany are trying to show him the right way, etc. Of course he didn't develop any sort of cogent case but he made it quite clear he thought Bush was in error.

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the pending war with Iraq. Obviously I'm not a big fan of largescale suffering or death. Though that appears to be happening under Hussein anyway. Since my brother's stint in the army war has become a little more personal to me, especially considering his unit was in Afghanistan. That being said, it's entirely possible that war with Iraq is justified. However, since I'm not going to read 13,000 page documents out of Iraq I'm going to reserve total judgment on the issue. As far as I can tell Saddam is stringing the UN out and has been doing so for years. We can't tolerate that kind of crap, especially with weapons of mass destruction involved, if we want to be taken seriously.

Aside from that, I think it's unfortunate that Bush is suffering from such a profound lack of respect from just about every side. That may be a sign of the times more than anything though - public figures and leaders, especially when they're making controversial decisions, are subject to massive amounts of ridicule and second-guessing. Cynicism and a disdain for authority are popular. And maybe I shouldn't lament the fact that we lack respect for our leaders so much as I should lament the fact that there are so few leaders worthy of that respect.

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