Jul. 31st, 2014 10:12 pm
crisavec: (Sunset Math)
[personal profile] crisavec
Last weekend I was home we did a big cleanout on the front half of the house(or started anyway, we ran out of both recycle bin as well as trash bin) and among many other things I found a program guide to Cheyenne's Frontier Days for 1994. And yes, I am aware that makes me an incredible packrat, but there was an actual reason I kept that particular program.

According to the program the USAF Thunderbirds performed on July 27th that year. That date means something, because if I recall correctly, that was the day 20 years ago that I raised my right hand and was sworn into Delayed Enlistment into the USAF. My recruiter had done a minor bit of finagling to arrange it for that day so that I could have the Colonel in Command of the Thunderbirds do the actual swearing in. Seems a tad silly now, but it felt like it was a bigger deal, and made it more "Real" to me then.

That was the day my Total Federal Service commenced, so I guess that means I'd be eligible to retire if I'd stayed in?

Didn't actually leave for Basic till mid November...timed perfectly to spend Thanksgiving, Xmas, and New Years there.

Date: 2014-08-01 04:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] name-omitted.livejournal.com
1994, 3 years after the fall of the Soviet Union, 1 year after the attempted coup in Russia the Yugoslav Wars of Succession were well under way, but not really on the domestic radar. Clinton's health care plan was gasping for breath, it was widely assumed that it would be a failure and Clinton a one-term president.

Internationally, Ukraine agreed to give up its nuclear weapons with the promise that Russia and the West would maintain its national borders.

We had a weak Commander-in-Chief, leading a military that had been built around the treat posed by a country that had just dissolved.

The Arleigh Burke had just been introduced to the Navy, and with the success of the Tomahawk Cruse Missie, as a proven combat system, was only about 3 years old.

The average American's concept of modern war was get in, get done, get out. The National Guard was called out for natural disasters.

It's startling to think of how much change your tenure would have been involved with. More to the point, it's startling to think of how recent so much that seems permanent now really is.

I just read a book that suggests that 10 years from now, the war with fundamentalist extremism will be essentially over. Our children's relationship with that piece of history will be similar to our relationship with the Vietnam War. If his thesis holds true (and it does make sense), someone enlisting today would have a 20 year career driven by a completely different set of threats and assumptions than the past 20 years.


Date: 2014-08-02 06:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] crisavec.livejournal.com
Its fascinating to see what has come around again, like Ukraine and Russia sparring, and healthcare.

The shift in warfare mindset from In and Done and Out back to decade long pacification attempts that unravel almost as soon as we withdraw. It does seem that our best attempts at "fixing" a nation we've conquered are when we bootstrap them up to a solid stable economy like with the Marshall Plan rather than democratizing them and then leaving so they can vote on the scraps left over.

I was pondering that, what I would have seen change. The AF only would have fielded a single new manned airframe during my tenure, and that one initially went out for bid in 81! But a whole slew of new precision weapons popped up(that have almost negated the need for dedicated heavy bombers), UAVs came on the scene even as the fighter mafia struggled so hard against them. Even my own career field in Computer/Communication Ops is gone now, turned from 3C0X1 into half a dozen separate sub AFSCs under the 3DXXX career paths. When I went in I could go to any base, and almost any squadron, and now all the networks are managed at the Group or Wing or MAJCOM level...all the things that I did on Elmendorf are now done at JBPHH(Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam...and thats ANOTHER major change, no one would have dreamed of Joint Bases in 94).

I had made a post about that a few months ago on Facebook, about how rapidly even just the internet went from a novelty to ubiquity, how access speeds went from painfully slow to lightning fast, and how it is going to affect our kids with essentially NEVER being without connectivity to nearly the sum total of human knowledge(and cat pictures) unless its by CHOICE. Just that alone is HUGE...and yet is amazingly recent!

I'm skeptical on that...fundamental extremism has been growing more and more prevalent over the last 35 years, helped along in no small part by our own bright boys in government thinking that we could play one against the other with no long term consequences, and we've seen how well that works out. What works best for curbing that is prosperity, but we've seen that fade even in the US, and around the world. A few places are truly growing in actual prosperity, but not many, and that's an ominous thing.
I really hope I'm wrong about this last one...

Date: 2014-08-02 03:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] name-omitted.livejournal.com
I have a flashbulb memory of the first time I saw Netscape. Growing up in Alaska, I was running Lynx, my father had been using the internet for work since the late 80's My first account was in late '89 early '91, and I had, of course, been on a BBS, but I had always imagined the internet to be peripheral to society. Very helpful for those who had a need to deal with the frustrating interface. Then I went to College, and saw Netscape Browser 1.22 coming down a T1 directly to that computer lab, and I realized that communications in Alaska was about to change. Now there was a GUI that was going to make the internet no longer too annoying for use, and everything would be available to rural geeks like me.

I, obviously, had no idea... Now, we really need to think about how the ready access to knowledge should affect education. A lot has changed since we went through the system, but on a fundamental level, we are still changing and tinkering with a Victorian idea of what an educated subject of the Empire should know and do, knowing that most of the subjects won't have easy access to the libraries of London.

The argument regarding fundamental extremism is as follows;

1) It is rooted in a social thing that uses religion, not a religious thing that uses society. This is important, as it suggests religion will change with society. I agree with this premise. I think that as society evolves, Islam will make more of the fact that women had the right to hold property in ancient Baghdad, long before the same could be said in the West (keeping in mind that in the 80's, it was still hard for a woman to get a business loan without her husband in the United States).

2) Much of the conservatism as we see it is a structural protection of men's role in society. You can see this in what happens to the role of women when an agency like ISIS takes over a region.

3) Feminism is a forgone demographic conclusion. When women started having babies at 16 and raised them until they died, there was work for them to do within society. Now, assuming the woman is the primary caregiver, if she has 2 kids, 2 years apart, and is their primary caregiver until 18, that is 20 years, or less than a quarter of her expected life.

As birth rates drop, the conservative role for a woman becomes less and less defendable. Feminism, the argument goes, is a forgone conclusion as women have more "free time" within their lifetimes. Conservative ideology becomes harder to defend in society, and since society is using religion to preserve conservative ideology, as that changes, so too will the use of religious imagery and fundamentalism.


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