Wednesday, January 31, 2007

My own little Military-Industrial Complex

It's been a while since I've collected model airplanes. I never really was very good at putting them together, much less painting them. Then early last month, I picked up a MiG-29 Fulcrum by 4D Master and I've been hooked ever since.

Over the past few weeks, I've been putting together my own little military-industrial complex. Thus far, I've gotten a YF-22 Raptor, an F-14 Tomcat with VF-84 Jolly Roger colors, and an F-4E Phantom. I plan to track down a few more.

Yes, I could just say "squadron," but "military-industrial complex" just sounds a bit more Cheney-esque.

I've been in love with fighter jets since I was little. My parents joke that my first words were "e-plen." Our Compton's Encyclopedia ca. 1969 is all torn somewhere in the middle of the A volume because I was always at the pages with the military aircraft (and very careless, too.)

First ambition was to become a fighter pilot. Then I found out my eyes were bad. Such is the way childhood dies. Ah, well, nerd has a much nicer ring, I think.

Now that I'm a little bit older and a little more aware of political and historical realities, I view these fighter jets with a slightly different perspective. They're not the tools of democracy that I once thought they were.

Case in point: the F-4E Phantom. Looking at its sleek and sinister lines, I can't help but fall into the thrall of childhood fantasies. But at the same time, part of me wants to ask: "How many Viet farmers and babies did you burn with napalm bombs, O Phantom?"

Such is the way that childhood dies. A part of it, anyway.

Still, we can't go through life carrying these burdens all the time. And all the same, those are some damn fine lines.