A thought for Veterans Day: Veterans are made not born


Hezbollah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah

Poker skyrocketed in popularity with two uses of technology.  One of those technologies is the Internet, which gives every person with a computer an opportunity to learn to the game and to test their skills against other players; millions of opponents from around the world are eagerly waiting online for a game.  Millions and millions of people have learned to play that way, including most of the top players in the world at the moment.

The second technology is an old one, television, but when applied to poker in the right way it had a huge impact on poker’s popularity.  Major poker tournament make good television, reality shows with lots of real tension and excitement, plus really big prizes at the end of the tournament for the winner.  The biggest poker tournament and the one that gets the largest television audience is the World Series of Poker.  This year’s winner took home over 8 million dollars – but even the others who made it to the final table made money and they developed fans; all top players have fans, backers and hangers-on.  Sometimes like this year’s winner, Pius Heinz, the fans are willing to travel along way to support their hero; Heinz is German and so are his fans – 50 of them came with him from Germany to watch him battle for the crown.  Some of them may have contributed to his original bankroll and therefore have a stake in his win.  Some may just be friends excited about their buddy in the big fight; others may just be typical star posses, just hanging around hoping to pick up some of the crumbs that fall on the floor.  Heinz was the first German to win so you can guess he is going home to a hero’s welcome and millions of hopefully extended hands.

The same thing happens in all sports, games and in world politics.  The stars all have their fan base.  Today, face joined in the atomic poker game in the Middle East, made a side wager and a side bluff; Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah.  He is not a player, but like the young Germans in the audience of WSOP, he is a supporter of one of the players – Iran.  Iran has been his ally, arms dealer and financial backer for a long time.  Now he has a chance to show his loyalty and give a little back to his benifactor .  Nasrallah made a speech in which he chastised the United States (and of course Isreael) and other western countries over their policies toward Iran.  And then he pushed in his bluff:

“The United States needs to put up a smoke screen … and has launched a campaign of intimidation that talks about attacks against Iran and Syria so as to deflect attention from its searing defeat in Iraq,” said the Shiite leader, whose militant group is backed by Iran and Syria. “Whoever dares to launch war against Iran will be met with doubly that force,” he warned. “Iran is strong; Iran is powerful and has a leader unique to the whole world.”  Al-Arabiya, 11-11-11

I know I should let this go, I have pushed this metaphor way too far, but it is very scary.  And it is Veterans’ Day and this is how veterans are created; this situation has the potential of creating thousands and thousand more veterans.

Veterans are created, not born; war makes veterans.  Veterans are created when the leaders of their country and other countries cannot find a reasonable and peaceful solution to an issue so they resort to war.  In the history of the world this situation with Iran is common, two countries bluffing and pushing back and forth until they reach a point of no return.  This cannot end well if someone does not start to ease off the rhetoric and start to speak and act in reasonable, not threatening ways.  Happy Veterans Day.

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