Commentary

Well by the end of this week the FSR should be taking its final form – if all the necessary bit and pieces that have been ordered turn up that is. Anyway whilst I was rooting through the bits box at home – a ruthless clean out with plenty of kit going to be recycled and binned – I unearthed my old onZa buzzsaw. Yes 36 teeth of stainless steel fury. New dimensions in the world of knee busting single speed gearing have now been opened.

I’ve been home working on the house in Norfolk for a few days. I think next to being out in the middle of nowhere on your bike the next best thing for contemplation and philosophy is chopping wood. I did a lot of contemplating and philosophying. The sun shone, I worked outside for three days. Life was grand. I also has a chance to look at my own work over a modem connection. I now realise the need to optimise the site for slower connections and I’ve tried to do that today. I posted this today on the Singletrack forum. It sums up what I’ve been thinging about the last few days:

I haven’t posted a lot over the conflict, partly because I feel that the topic is out of context on a Mountain Biking website, but I feel it is sad that the certain people are giving the military a rough ride over the war. Ultimately they are just doing the jobs they are paid to do. Few people could deal with the situations that our professionally trained forces deal with on a day-to-day basis and are in general very good at. Many of these military personnel will not come home alive, some may never come home. Others may bear the scars of this war for the rest of their lives. Some will suffer due to unforeseen mechanical or technological failures (like many mountain bikers out on the trails), but theirs will have far more serious consequences.

Whilst the soldiers of the coalition forces go to work in Iraq, remember that the decision to go to war was one made by the politicians. Many people voiced their concern over the war prior to the decision to invade Iraq. Despite some of the biggest public protests ever witnessed and unprecedented intra-governmental divisions – several political leaders listened to what their public were saying and the positions of other countries over the issue and decided that it was time to send the armed forces into combat. It was the politicians who delivered the spin and hype regarding how quickly the war would be over and what an easy conflict it was going to be. Maybe adopting a military campaign was thought to be easier than adopting a more aggressive political stance with regard to the Iraqi government.

The reason I believe that there are still grounds for an anti-war movement are that through protests and campaigns designed to target the political structure, there is still hope. If public opinion shows an increasing degree of social disapproval with regard to the conflict, then the politicians may be forced to withdraw the Forces from the Gulf. It will be sad if such public opinion only grows belatedly in correlation to increasing body counts. The war on Iraq has created the biggest societal divide within this country for generations, no matter which opinion people have over the conflict, it is good to see that people are at least opinionated and expressing their views.

War is a bloody affair and few people deny that. As spectators we are isolated from it by media coverage whose censored images only portray a fragmented story. The strategy and techniques of modern warfare currently being practiced, where much fighting is carried out at a range of many kilometres, appears to be an inherently “clean” and low risk format. It is quite different to the hand-to-hand street fighting that now seems inevitable if Iraq’s urban areas are to be successfully controlled, to attempt this will involve a much greater commitment of human life. Most people support our Armed Forces at war, few think that they should be fighting and dying in Iraq.

We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons. Whether it is the fiction of duct tape or the fiction of orange alerts, we are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you, Mr. Bush! – Michael Moore, at the 2003 Academy Awards.

Author: Cris Bloomfield

Usually mountain biking in the North.

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