IDLE WAR THOUGHTS….I have to admit that I’m a little perplexed that so many people are interested in minute-by-minute coverage of the war. I can understand being glued to the set for some kind of big breaking news ? the space shuttle disaster, for example ? but the invasion of Iraq has been in the works for months, it’s rolling along pretty much as planned, and it’s going to last for a few weeks (more or less). After the first few hours, I just don’t see how people can sustain such an intense interest in the whole thing.

Nor do I understand the insistence by some that other activities (like the Academy Awards, for example) should be put on hold “because we’re at war.” I don’t want to sound like Noam Chomsky here, but the United States has been at war at least nine times in the past couple of decades (Grenada, Nicaragua, Panama, Gulf War I, Haiti, Somalia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Gulf War II). Considering that we do this kind of thing approximately every 30 months, it’s hard for me to take seriously the notion that normal life should grind to a halt whenever the United States is at war.

Oh, and as long as I’m in Andy Rooney mode here, here’s something else that bothers me: continual blog posts about “supporting our troops.” I imagine that everyone aside from the most radical imaginable pacifists ? and probably even them ? supports our troops. But it’s almost like it’s become a contest to demonstrate who can mourn the loss of every soldier the most, and the forced tone of these postings sounds less than genuine to me. Because of that there’s something vaguely demeaning about the whole exercise.

In other news, it turns out that the chemical weapons factory wasn’t, Bush is finally going to submit a bill for the war to Congress, and the stock market, which allegedly was delirious on Friday because we were doing so well, is allegedly distraught today because the invasion has slowed down a bit. Sheesh.