"War is hell for our troops..." At Fort Benning, Georgia, there was a time when young infantry officers were shown how to use anti-tank and anti-personnel mines as defensive weapons. After the mines were deployed, a detailed map had to be drawn showing where each and every mine was placed so that when they were no longer needed, they could be located, disarmed, policed-up, and put away. If you failed to document a mine field, you could "get your ass in a sling" and be sent to the rear with 11 copies of the order. Yet a five-year-old boy in Iraq has lost both of his eyes because he found a "bomblet" in his own backyard. Of course, it exploded when he moved it. That's what it was designed to do.
Such a scenario certainly makes one proud to be a designer of high-tech weapons. If only we had developed commensurate high-tech brains that would have known how to deploy high-tech weapons, perhaps we might have avoided the abyss into which we now descend. Bad enough that we attack people who have done us no harm. Maiming their children is a crime that Rhadamanthys \[mortal son of Europa and Zeus, he was praised for his piety, justice, and wisdom and became one of three judges of the underworld after his death\] is unlikely to ignore.
So how do we create a safer world? Stop making high-tech weapons to be turned over to dingbats.
LOW REGARD BY EUROPEANS
I read "The War With Iraq Affects Each Of Us Differently, Depending On Our Job" \[April 28th, p. 19\] and can relate my experience to you.
Currently, I work for a company trying to go global and go public at the same time. From my personal experience with our European counterparts, the working relationships between our divisions have become very strained. These Europeans now view our American engineers as inferior. Communications between the divisions has been going south ever since. Collaboration is almost nonexistent, making an impact on productivity on both sides of the ocean. Internal power struggles have become more pronounced and obvious to all employees, not just the engineers.
I'm not sure what all of this has to do with the war in Iraq. However, the timeliness of all this and the attitude would suggest there is some influence due to the war. I'm not sure if the Europeans' opinions of us American engineers is influenced by their view of America's actions against Iraq. One can only guess that there is some impact.
The interesting thing I have observed is that this problem seems to be more pronounced in Europe and not in other areas of the world where my company operates. In Asia, I have felt that the workers and engineers are more focused on the business at hand and don't let their political views affect their productivity and business relations. They are less distracted. I don't mean to sound biased, but I have also observed this same undistracted focus in the U.S. with our other facilities in the U.S. This seems to be true with India as well. Our company does not have any facilities in the Middle East for obvious reasons.
THE DOWNSIDE OF WAR
I now work behind several 8-foot fences and have my car inspected when I arrive on the job. Noncitizens must endure a five-year background check, are required to renew their badge every three months, and have to be escorted wherever they go.
War changes the source of money. The labeled description of the work now tends to address terrorist possibilities. And there is a decrease in the resources for travel and an increase in the work intensity.