View Full Version : Kim Komando: 185 Miles from Baghdad

James Brody
April 8th, 2007, 09:55 AM
I first met nationally syndicated Kim Komando late on a Saturday evening on WBAL, 1090AM, out of Baltimore. What a babe!, what a mom!, what a computer icon! And what a great voice: she's one of a very few women who can be emphatic without screeching or preaching. (Rollye James is the other exception. Chipmunk Katie, Laura Lawyer, Hillary Hustler, and Cutter Coulter are not!)

I hadn't visited with Kim for a while and punched the wrong button on the radio and there she was last night, talking to a soldier, 185 miles from Baghdad. Their topic was not IEDs but how to keep his kid out of restricted Net sites! His kid, of course, is stateside, and Kim is maybe in Arizona or maybe in Hawaii. Somewhat of an irony: She gave him pointers and listed software for walling off forbidden zones!

She also shared an anecdote: she heard noises from her four-year-old son who was in another room---a series of clicks and then, "oh darn!" The sounds recycled for a while before she investigated. The little guy was trying to get through her password! The military guys had their own stories about their kids. (Kim regularly does this for an hour and dedicates part of her web site to soldiers overseas.)

The conversation itself became interesting because it would have been impossible in the '70s when information came to us in only two channels, more than in WW 2 and much faster. Our access and speed were, however, less in the '70s than today when family and supporters can talk immediately to loved ones and visit each others web pages. Some of our guys have used their cells, relayed through contacts in the United States, to call in tactical information during a combat operation! Neither the Pentagon, nor our self-interested beltway representatives, nor television's talking heads have grasped this change and its importance.

The antiwar types expect events to go as they once did: choral chants sway crowds but the conditions now allow for more sustained, more persistent balkanization. Those with similar opinions disperse throughout crowds and over large territories rather than concentrated in mountain valleys or in coastal cities or universities. Barabasi called them "flash mobs." They also allow for more rapid organization of new religions and mob formation by we disaffected proletarians. And the crowds on the Capitol mall are less convincing now than in the old days, particularly when the real counts are of competing swarms of email.

Barabási, A-L (2002) Linked: The New Science of Networks. NY: Perseus.
Montagu A (Ed.), 1956, Toynbee and History: Critical Essays and Reviews Boston, MA: Porter Sergent
Toynbee A (1958) Civilization on Trial and The World and the West. NY: Meridian.
Komando: information, software downloads, and troop support.