Tuesday, March 29, 2011


You may have heard this analogy before. We used it back years ago in business during sales meetings. The question was, “Are you involved with the problem, or are you committed to its solution?” The analogy is the bacon and egg breakfast. In such a breakfast the hen has an involvement, but the pig has a commitment.

I think of this when I consider our bombing of Libya. Are we just involved or do we have a commitment? It’s a fair question when one considers our current use of military forces in two on-going wars. Wars which have been going on for more than ten years now as we have previously reported. Ten years and no end in sight. Are we in those wars as just an involvement or are we committed?

War, by its only definition is an all out affair. It is an unlimited act. For us to be involved must mean that we are committed to win. There is no other reason to bomb and kill thousands of people.

Where Libya is concerned, we are now being told that our commitment is over. We took out Gadhafi’s ability to fight so we can wrap up and go back to other wars. We are told that we will not send in ground troops. I hope that is true.

So, where is this discussion headed? What do you think is going on? Is it an accident that virtually the entire Middle East is rising up and attempting to throw off the oppression of their dictatorial leaders and live as democracys? Is that what we are seeing? I hope so, but I am a bit skeptical. Why, after thousands of years, are the people suddenly demanding freedom? Who is behind all of this? Is this a religious uprising or is this truly an uprising of people wanting to be free? Who is financing this? Where and when will it all end? Will a new Middle East come out of this unrest with a desire to join the twentieth century, participating in the modern world? Again, I hope so.

Even with all the questions, we still have serious interests in the Middle East. Primarily oil. Since we refuse to drill for our own oil and produce our own energy in our own country, we continue to need the oil of the Middle East. It is in our interest that oil continues to flow. In my view that is the reason for our involvement not only in Libya or Afghanistan, but all over the Middle East.

It should be clear to even the most devout liberal that our liberal President Obama has to keep the oil flowing. It is not a choice, it is a requirement. If that means bombing countries like Libya, then so be it. Reasons and excuses will be offered but the real reason is oil. Our economy, and for that matter the economies of the world, depend on oil. They have it and we need it. Imagine how much simpler this all would be if we just got off our duffs and drilled and produced our own oil, but I digress.

So, are we involved, or are we truly committed? Do we have the will and the stomach to face reality and produce our own energy? Do we have the will and the stomach to end our wars in the Middle East, or will we just continue to be involved? As I have said before, the only way a war can end is with a winner and a loser. What we are doing now is just spending military forces and millions of our treasure to keep the game going. We need a commitment. We have the ability. We have the weaponry. The question is, do we have the will?

Are we the chicken or are we the pig?

Ron Scarbro March 29, 2011

Friday, March 18, 2011


My wife and I are currently on a road trip. We often travel to the south to visit our daughter and our grandchildren. From time to time we try to find new routes to travel so that we may see and experience new territory. We try always, however, to stop in South Beloit, Illinois. Our primary reasons are, number one, it is about as far as we like to drive in one day and the second reason is a little cafe known as Mary’s Place. We accidentally found this gem several years ago on just such a trip south.

Mary’s is a small town cafe where everybody knows everybody. The food is wonderful and the prices are very reasonable. From our first experience, we enjoyed the place. It seems the same people are always there. The customers get up and help the waitresses. They help bus the tables and refill coffee cups. The conversation is never ending. Whenever any person comes in, it seems everybody greets them. Large gatherings occur as tables are pulled together. You overhear discussions about politics, national issues, local issues, and of course gossip about whomever might not be there. You hear about someone who is sick. You learn about their children and all they are facing. In other words, you hear Americana.

There are probably many such cafes and restaurants like Mary’s across this country, but I think they are a dying breed. The customers for such cafes seem to be older. People come for more than just the food. They come for the visits. They come to learn the latest gossip. They come because such cafes are friendly places where everybody feels at home. They also come to share their lives with their friends and neighbors. I know we have always felt welcome.

This column is not a commercial for Mary’s Place or for any other restaurant however. No, this is about what appears to be a disappearing part of American life.

Today’s young people seem to go to coffee shops and they bring their computers with them. They have ear phones in their ears. Their focus is never off their computer screens. They never talk with anybody else. All communication is electronic. They have thousands of on line “friends” whom they have never met. Inter-personal relationships are gone. All they know about these “friends” is what that individual has told them from the privacy of their own space.

Now I don’t want to be critical of this new social interchange, but I wonder if there isn’t something missing from such an arrangement. Is this new way the best way? Are these relationships as satisfying as face to face contact? Can true friendships be forged this way? As these young people age and mature will they not miss out on the companionship that our older generation has experienced? To me it seems a little sad. I wonder if, in the future, will a friend cry when a friend dies? I wonder.

In the meantime, we will continue to visit Mary’s Place whenever we are in South Beloit and we will continue to try to find other such cafes and restaurants across this great country in our travels. We will rejoice in the camaraderie we witness. We will continue to look for Americana and wonder if it will all change. I believe it would be sad if it disappears.

Ron Scarbro March 16, 2011