Sunday, October 14, 2007

Potpourri #1

Some short thoughts on various subjects passing by ….
Alberto Gonzales. Finally gone, finally resolved. Hopefully we can now get back to respecting the Constitution with apolitical justice. Have any lessons been learned?

The talk show commentators are continuing their goal to trivialize important issues in favor of ratings-producing hysterical rantings over distracting trivia. To wit:
- does Obama’s recent decision not to wear an American flag lapel pin really denote a non-patriot / un-American? (I personally have never been too fond of bumper stickers on my car or on my lapel.)
- Does’s New York Times ad about “General Betrayus” really require a Congressional denunciation over not being respectful of our soldier(s), while concurrently skipping over denouncing the Iraqi killing fields fiasco which has created the problem in the first place? (And since when did any self-respecting right-winger start admitting that they read the New York Times?)
- When you have no case of substance, we need to beware the demagogue who moves to distracting sloganeering.

George Bush has apparently suddenly become our historian-in-residence. He now says that “we failed to learn the lesson of the Viet Nam War.” He said that lesson to be learned was “not to leave early, but to see the mission through.” (Even though I thought the Iraqi “Mission [was] Accomplished” a couple of years ago.) I would hardly call 10 years of a stalemate quagmire and 40,000+ American deaths in Viet Nam as “not seeing it through.” Like Iraq, an outsider cannot “save” a country that does not really want to be saved or does not want to achieve the outsider’s vision, while it seeks to pursue its own ideological aspirations. In the long run, you cannot prop up an unrepresentative and ineffective government through a military presence. You can only at best conquer a country, which we certainly have not achieved in Iraq nor did Russia achieve in Afghanistan in the eighties during their middle-east intervention fiasco. You cannot win a military objective by lying and covering up to the American public the realities occurring on the ground. And the body count of how many dissenters you have labeled “un-American” diminishes fighting strength, not enhances it. Those are the real lessons of Viet Nam that the mid-level military men of the mid-1960s-70s and the American people learned. George Bush apparently skipped class that day, and read a different history book than the rest of us.