Monday, January 4, 2010

Bird Watching, Ecological Changes in the Counter-IED Woodlands: A Story

New understanding of electromagnetism and its applications are beginning to pop up in journals, magazines, TV, and the Internet. And they are not welcomed. Proposing low-tech solutions to landmines and IEDs is met with the full force of current research thinking, technology, and high-powered public individuals. Often less educated, lower in status, the chastened misfits assume they are wrong. Instead, they return home to spread the official line, and in that way propagate the misconception that only those "chosen few" can make discoveries, and it is the job of the rest of us to support them without question. Not a whole lot different than watching the ecological balance of birds, plants and animals at the Iraq/Afghanistan research woodlands. The birds are the main attraction. Many of these "birds" can only be observed at a distance. Near the top are the Vultures, those scientists who have connections to the Defence Industry-University-Governmental Complex. Many are involved in high-tech research topics that are quietly related to the present wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, particularly anti-IED and landmine technology. Gliding over the landscape, they watch below as insurgents use $15 weapons to defeat their multi-billion tools, yet say nothing. In the trees below the soaring Vultures are two more species, the Parrots and the Woodpeckers. The Parrots fund the military, medical, and other technological equipment that today stands in rusting piles in war zones. Normally noisy, the Parrots are unusually quiet when "success ratios" of their products are announced. The Woodpeckers are the myriads of scientists, physicists, social scientists, researchers, PhDs, professors, and all those who feed on direct government or University funding. Of course, to ensure that no one sees them, their reports are "classified." Hiding in the woodlands are the Owls. These wise, interdiciplinary creatures remain royally aloof to escalation, civilian casualties, debt, and ineffective weapons. Original thought, criticism of the status quo is met with a swift and often deadly attack. Flitting from flower to flower is the hummingbird, who does get a close look at what is going on in the war zones. These small but dangerous creatures are capable of creating havoc in the defence-science patnership because they can quickly flit to those in power and shock them with the truth, about the wars, the defence industries, the IED countermeasures, and all those who support the system. Fortunately, most of them are snared by a series of nets before spreading the word. The beautiful woodland hillside appears in perfect harmony with its surroundings. Flocks of Grackles and Sparrows noisely patrol the ground gobbling up new seeds that have fallen on the hillside. They perform the biddings of the higher order birds without question. One can spot the empty hulls of AlbertWegnerensis, Semmelweis sp., WatsonCrickensis, and Rosenberg sp. among others. But the climatic is changing, and along with it seeds that may disrupt the quiet hillside and its hierarchy. The newer varieties flourish overnight, communicate with the wind, and have developed shells that none of the birds can break. Even worse, their genetic information, carried in the pollen, is sticking to all the birds who are beginning to have a devil of a time stopping it from spreading to all the creatures on the woodland hillside. And worse for the woodland hillside, that change is accellerating. NB: The format for this story was loosely adapted from William R. Corson, 1968, The Betrayal, W.W. Norton and Co., NY, NY, 317 p. Col. Corson, one of the highest decorated and bravest soldiers this country ever produced, was an early critic of the Vietnam War, the Defense Industry, and their supporters.

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