The Geek & The Chic

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Where Is The Outrage?

The death of the two US servicemen in Iraq this week sickens me. Putting aside the fact that I have a vested interest in the War on Terror, what went on this week needs to be addressed by every American and the global community.

The New York Times can decry and call for the release of the prisoners at Gitmo in Cuba who are treated as per the rules of the Geneva Convention but two of their own fellow Americans suffer barbaric torture at the hands of these -- these fuckers, and nothing is said? What gives? In case you haven't heard all the gruesome details, allow me to fill you in. According to FOX News, the bodies were found Monday night but could not be retrieved until Tuesday morning because they were booby trapped. Daylight did not bring anything good with it. What the soldiers saw of their brothers in arms were bodies with their hearts cut out, their testicles cut off and their penises stuffed in their mouths. For good measure, their eyes were gouged out too.

Say what you want about the War on Terror, George Bush or even Donald Rumsfeld. These are Americans who were serving US and willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. Are we so immune to the news reports of another soldier dead that we don't care anymore? The media seems so intent on keeping a tally of the body count that they forget every number represents a life. Each of those lives had purpose and were loved by family and friends who will miss that life. Communities will mourn their loss and all America will be a little poorer for it.

This isn't about, "Well, if we weren't in Iraq this never would have happened." It's about fighting an enemy that doesn't follow the rules of the Geneva Convention. It's about keeping terrorism off American soil so we don't have to worry about riding the subway or flying cross country. Soldiers know what they're getting into when they go into battle. The fact that they accept they could make the ultimate sacrifice is what sets them apart from the rest of us.

But tonight, two men are dead who died a horrific, barbaric death. And America is silent.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

End Of An Era

May came and went and when it went, it took my Alaska license plates with it.

The registration was up and I needed to convert to NY State. Even if I didn't want to, I would need to or I'd never be allowed on post which wouldn't be a good thing because it would mean I wouldn't be able to shop, pick up the mail, go to the library or use the gym so I had to do it and do it in a timely manner.

Certainly not to my surprise, they do things differently here. My first visit to DMV was to pick up the registration form. I was told by the clerk to bring the title, a NY insurance card and my marriage certificate since the name on the title isn't my married name. There's still a small loan left on the car so I had to call the credit union in Alaska to have it faxed to me.

I went back a second time with what I thought I needed but alas, no, the clerk told me I also needed a letter from the credit union on their letterhead stating it was okay for me to register the car in NY. Huh? The title is not enough for these people, they obviously live on paperwork and wanted me to bring them more for their after hours feeding frenzy. I get back to the office and I call the credit union again and tell them what I needed. This was our conversation:

Me: Hello. The DMV folks here want a letter from you stating it's okay for me to register the car in NY state.

Credit Union Clerk: They want what? I've never heard of such a thing.

Me: Well, that's what they said. They need a letter from you with the VIN, make and model and the okay by you to register the car here.

Credit Union Clerk: Do you have the title? That's usually all they want.

Me: Yes, I have the title but they need this letter.

Credit Union Clerk: Wow. This is a new one.

Me: Welcome to New York.

Credit Union Clerk: (laughs)

So, I finally get the letter and on my way to the third visit to the DMV office, remember that I still don't have a New York insurance card. It says Alaska. So much for being first in line at DMV that morning. I have to make a sidetrip to Geico to get the card. I have to wait for them to open and when they do, I am first in line there which makes me feel a little better but up until then, I kid you not, I was close to tears (side benefit of husband's deployment! Stress of more things for the spouse to do added to everything else I have to get done!).

So I'm finally in line at the DMV office, I have all my ducks in a row and now all they want is three forms of ID. This I really don't understand. Usually two forms of ID are enough (you can tell it's a government agency -- maybe they want three items to ensure better opportunity for the information to be stolen by an employee wanting to bring his laptop home). What convinced me of this is that most people usually submit a driver's license and maybe a social security card or something. I had to show them my driver's license, my military ID and a credit card. Try as I might to understand the reasoning behind three forms of ID, I just don't get it. Both the license and military ID have my picture on it. What gives with the extra piece of ID?

Anyway, I have the NY plates on the car now and I feel like everyone else. I blend in everywhere I go. The uniqueness is gone. No more close scrutiny of the car at the post gates when I go drive in to get the mail or shop or whatever. When I drove around with my Alaska plates, I always felt proud of the fact that they weren't NY plates. I've been someplace, they seemed to say and I'm not one of you. I've been away too long to call myself a New Yorker anymore. Living in Alaska made me independent and distrustful of the federal government. Alaska was rebellion. New York is not. Of course, the Alaska plates did make me stick out too, in ways that could have been bad had I had any serious case of road rage.

But the saddest part is now how my Jeep blends in with all the other jeeps that look just like it. So much so that I tied a yellow ribbon on the antenna, just so I could identify it in a parking lot. Me and the Jeep, we'll stick out.