weather icon Partly Cloudy

CHURCH OF TWAIN: Supporting the war effort

Around our family, we’re all proud of my nephew, Steven Smith. He is an Army Ranger with a sergeant’s rank. Steve fought through two tours of duty in Iraq, then returned to the United States for several months to train and await a new assignment. He’s back in the fight these days, so we don’t hear much from him.

Like a lot of Americans, a majority I suspect, we’re proud of our soldier and support him in his decision to join the military and fight for his country. We pray for him and think about him all the time and can’t wait until he returns home for good.

But whenever you discuss the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the question eventually arises: Do you support the war? Can you support the warriors and not the wars they fight?

Of course you can. And we do.

Many years ago, the United States was involved in a war in the Philippines. It wasn’t much of a war, really, and the decision to enter it was riddled with foolish bravado. Mark Twain had some thoughts about that wrongheaded war in a place we had no business fighting.

“I pray you to pause and consider,” he wrote. “Against our traditions we are now entering upon an unjust and trivial war, a war against a helpless people, and for a base object – robbery. At first our citizens spoke out against this thing by an impulse natural to their training. Today they have turned, and their voice is the other way. What caused this change? Merely a politician’s trick, a high-sounding phrase, a blood-stirring phrase which turned their uncritical heads: Our Country, right or wrong! An empty phrase, a silly phrase. It was shouted by every newspaper, it was thundered from the pulpit, the Superintendent of Public Instruction placarded it in every schoolhouse in the land, the war department inscribed it upon the flag. And every man who failed to shout it, or who was silent, was proclaimed a traitor – none but those others were patriots. To be a patriot, one had to say, and keep on saying, “Our Country, right or wrong,” and urge on the little war. Have you not perceived that phrase is an insult to the nation.
”Only when a republic’s life is in danger should a man uphold his country when it is in the wrong. There is no other time.”

We’ll continue to pray for our Steven and all the soldiers and hope they return home soon. And I’ll curse the scoundrels of government and media every day for fanning the flames of patriotism and propaganda.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
7 ways autocomplete can get smarter

Autocomplete is one of the best (or depending on how hastily you push ‘send’ – worst) things in the world. We rely on it so much that Google plans to let us autocomplete whole emails. Here are seven ways predictive input can improve. 1. Recognizing names from previous emails Jakub Kokoszka has a tough name to […]

Movie posters might soon be based on your clicks

You may have thought you left Blockbuster behind, but the basic way we browse movies hasn’t changed all that much. We peruse poster after poster, kind of like walking the aisles of a ‘90s-era video store. That one poster image, meant to appeal to as many people as possible, is often all we see before […]

What I’ll be covering at NAB 2018

The National Association of Broadcasters show kicks off this weekend in Las Vegas.  The show focuses on new and emerging technologies and trends in relation to the media and entertainment industries. As it’s not open to the public, I’ll be at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday to share some of […]

EXECUTIVE TRAVEL: Forget Strip flash; some prefer lake’s panache

If you get called to a board meeting at Lake Las Vegas, you might want to bring your swimsuit. That’s the term Westin at Lake Las Vegas marketing director Matt Boland uses for upright paddleboard races, one of many team-building exercises offered regularly at the resort.

After $4,700 in live poker career winnings, James Romero, 27, wins nearly $2 million

It was a 15-year celebration of The World Poker Tour at Bellagio for the Five Diamond World Poker Classic. The largest field size in WPT Five Diamond’s history was created when 791 entries were tallied, and it was James Romero, 27, of Portland, Oregon, who won his first WPT title.

Auto electronics at SEMA and AAPEX: A brave new world

The Specialty Equipment Market Association celebrated its 50th annual SEMA show at Las Vegas Convention Center this month by showcasing a car culture of “do-it-yourself” garage mechanics who share a passion for customizing vehicles.