Sunday, November 7, 2010

Season 2 of The Wire Could Help Us Win in Afghanistan

The second season of The Wire gets a bad rap from everybody I know. While it's not the best season (4 clearly is), it's under appreciated. My friends don't like it because it's not the gangster shoot-'em-up of the other seasons. This misses the point. The second season went to a dying-but-once-proud industry, the stevedores at the docks, in a dying-but-once-proud city. That enabled The Wire to make the show more than a look at the inner-city problems and focus on the dysfunctions of Baltimore as a whole; a city with a civil service that doesn't genuinely care about helping the public and a public that has few genuine employment opportunities for it's lower educated. The only hope they have to improve their economic lot is to steal stuff off of boats or get involved in the drug trade.

This is the closest to a news article that I could find on what's going on with Army supplies in Afghanistan. But that article, like me, doesn't precisely get to my point. The goods that those trucks we're carrying on their way to Afghanistan went through the ports at Karachi. And a lot of the goods going through Karachi are connexes carrying Soldiers' personal gear. These connexes are getting pinched at an alarming rate. At the claims conference I just went to, we were given instructions on how to prepare Soldiers for recovering the value of their lost items, because it's almost a guarantee that a good percentage of Soldiers will have their stuff stolen.

So this is where the second season of The Wire comes in. If only the Taliban, warlords, or sticky-fingered Pakistani dockworkers could watch some pirated DVDs of season 2, they could see that they're not much different from the lower-educated working poor of the United States. We also have people who were born and raised where the opportunity to succeed was stunted because of poor socioeconomic conditions that were then exasperated by a corrupt and inefficient government. We too have people seeking to improve their lot by stealing from cargo containers or selling drugs. And once our enemies see this, maybe they'll empathize with us. Maybe this empathy will move them away from killing us, and allow our Soldiers to establish a more peaceful regime; a regime that doesn't tolerate terrorists and has more rights for females, even if that regime isn't much more democratic and is ridiculously corrupt.

At the very least, here's hoping that season 2 of The Wire becomes better appreciated. God knows with the laptops, flat-screen televisions, and DVDs that have been stolen from our connexes, our enemies have the opportunity to watch it.

1 comment:

eralon said...

This is powerful. Happy Veterans' Day, hero.