Does Silicon Valley have a split personality in the war? The Frisco Chronicle thinks we do, because we produce high-tech weaponry but harbor a boatload of anti-war sentiment. Wind River’s president Jerry Fiddler’s not confused:
“This war is a catalyst that is shining light on a military that is always strong and present and here for one reason — to keep us safe,” he said in an e-mail. “The world today is a safer place because of American military capabilities. We’ve seen those capabilities used to end conflict recently in Kosovo, Bosnia, Rwanda and elsewhere. We owe a debt to our soldiers.”
And neither was former deputy secretary of defense David Packard.
But others are: Bob Taylor, ex- of Xerox PARC, Lee Felsenstein, once a personal computer pioneer of sorts, and a number of the elf bloggers, like Marc Canter, David Weinberger, Howard Rheingold, Lisa Rein, Meg Hourihan, Steve Kirsch, Joi Ito, et. al. Generally, the techies who oppose the war — and implicitly support a status quo that leaves Saddam Hussein in power — are not engineers, but “social implications of technology” people, self-appointed visionaries, dot-commers, and marketeers. The reality-based thinking that engineers practice doesn’t leave room for coddling dictators and sanctioning torture, so we want regime change. Besides, many of us have worked for managers who remind us of the Butcher of Baghdad, so we naturally sympathize with the oppressed.
Hollywood’s a different story, of course, because it’s full of the fuzzy-minded, who tend to have the same tunnel-vision we find in the Valley’s paratechnicals.