Pop Culture
May 13, 2008, 05:42AM

Dodging Missiles In The Desert

The southwestern roadtrip is one of America's iconic experiences, and for one man a chance spend hours breaking down the trends and foibles of our culture with a friend. Just remember to keep the gas tank full.

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"Once we got back to the car we headed out of Tucson, passing a large bone yard where the U.S. Air Force mothballs planes in the event the Russians or the Martians or someone invade. I don't know much about military aircraft, but Ethan said most of the ones he could see from the road were Vietnam-era fighters. Later -- after a long drive during which I saw at least a half dozen military planes flying and the u-turn shaped contrails of fighter jets -- we arrived at the White Sands Missile Range Museum, outside of which sits a bone yard of old missiles, rockets, and bombs.

As Ethan and I climbed on disarmed weaponry, the United States Army was busy subduing a foreign country because it dared acquire some of their own. Or so we were told anyway. The case for WMDs in Iraq has been thoroughly discredited by now, but it was pretty questionable even then. At least I thought so, as did just about every smart person I knew at the time. Nevertheless, our soldiers had invaded in March and President Bush declared that the mission had been accomplished just the day before. We know now that the mission, such as it was, may never be accomplished and its undertaking was always a mistake. While there was a time a few years ago when I would engage anyone in an argument on the pros and cons of the war, I can barely discuss it anymore, even with those who share my opinions about it all. Especially with those people, actually. When it comes to Iraq and what our country has become because of it, right and wrong are virtually meaningless to me



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