Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I’m having a very hard time these days finding anything I want to write about. I pretty much missed last week for other reasons – our neighbors house taking a direct lightning hit that stopped our telephone and web service being the primary one – but truth be known, I would have had a hard time coming up with anything more than I did.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s plenty going on that turns my stomach, and those are admittedly my favorite kinds of subjects. For instance, the CIA death squads operating in Afghanistan as reported by Philip Alston, a New York University professor serving as the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Human Rights Council on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary execution, or the New York Times report on May 17 about how, “The Pentagon is moving forward with plans to build a new, 40-acre detention complex on the main American military base in Afghanistan,” officials said, “in a stark acknowledgment that the United States is likely to continue to hold prisoners overseas for years to come.”, but I have written about this stuff ad infinitum.

The bottom line for me is the encroaching belief that it is too late; that we as a nation have come too far down the path of ignorant apathetic follower-ship to turn things around and become the nation we never really were, but always should have been.

There is, in the interplay between nations, always competition, and that always leads to some level of enmity, but this nation – Amerika – has moved beyond that into the realm previously occupied by the Ghengis Khans and Hitlers of the world. Our arrogance and the power we wield in complete ignorance of the rest of the world’s needs combine to make us a scourge instead of a boon, and it makes me heartsick on a daily basis.

I believe that the government for which I once wore a uniform has metamorphosed into a very sick and gluttonous beast fed by the unbridled quest for wealth and power that runs rampant in our nation’s capital, and it makes me want to weep.

I look at the blatantly criminal activities of our president and vice-president, then turn in outrage to a citizenry that doesn’t know enough to give a damn, and my psyche tells me to curl up into a little ball and let the fools prate their way onward and downward without worrying about it any more. (My wife counsels that it would be wise.)

I remember the kind of officers I met in my two years of ROTC and while I was in the military and the kind of officers I read about in the papers who resisted the inappropriate use of our military power many times over the years. I think of my old friend and mentor, Ray Rosenbaum, who retired from the Air Force as a Colonel after a distinguished career that included flying a bomber during World War II, and how he was so repulsed by the actions of BushCo after 9-11 that he talked of it even on his deathbed.
And I think, too, of the fools who would have labeled Ray’s opposition to Bush as unpatriotic when I knew him to be a patriot’s patriot.

It’s those goose-stepping military policy toadies who drag me down the most. The local folks who think their opinions are fact just because they are the ones who dreamed them up; those who think questioning the Amerikan government’s policies is treason. If it was just these locals that eat at me, I could laugh them off, but it is not.

These days it is also the highest commanders in the military. It seems like all those who understood that the value of American integrity was much greater than that of Amerikan power have died or retired. Time and time again, I read of another staff officer who retires and then speaks out against the Pentagon’s current course. Why weren’t they gutsy enough to risk their pension by standing up and speaking out in January, 2002 when Bush gave his outrageously distorted State of the Union speech?

I remember that speech vividly because it was delivered on the same night I took part in a locally televised debate on the efficacy of going to war in Iraq. Channel 10, who hosted the debate, had set up a wide screen TV on the stage of Clara Thompson Hall on the Drury campus. After the debate many of the audience stayed to watch the speech. A group of us PNO members was sitting behind a couple who were obvious Bush supporters. I recall their being amazed when, after several incidents of our hissing and booing as Bush went through his litany of lies to lead the country into war, we applauded his reference to hydrogen powered cars.

They turned around and looked at us in amazement. They couldn’t believe that we could both detest this man and his military policies and support him when he talked about a policy we liked. And there, in a nutshell, is the source of my discouragement.

Every time I have ever tried – and believe me it’s been plenty of times – to talk about national policy with Bush supporters, I have been blocked by their belief that I am as ideoillogical as they are. They cannot seem to understand that what I have been trying to do all these years is NOT to argue the leftist cause, but to argue for sensible, fact-based leadership.

There will be a great many things with which I disagree no matter which of our parties is in control. It happens that there are always more of those things when the Republicans are in control, but that doesn’t make me a Democratic ideologue.

A good American citizen is one who constantly questions his government’s motives and holds her representatives’ feet to the fire. That citizen has become so much in the minority as to be perceived as unpatriotic, and that fact alone is enough to make me want to crawl into a cave and blow the whole thing off.

So bear with me, dear readers, as I vacillate between hope - as I watch a new generation of voters register in record numbers to vote for a presidential candidate who excites them - and despair as I watch the campaigners voice platitudes and generalities in the face of the most serious need for meaningful leadership our nation has ever faced.

FDR where are you? Come back, JFK, come back.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -- M. K. Gandhi

Individually we have little voice. Collectively we cannot be ignored.
But in silence we surrender our power. Yours in Peace -- BR

The reason for going was to keep the crude flowing and raise a false flag abroad. – from a poem by Jack Evans titled 3500 Souls - http://www.myspace.com/paralegal_eagle

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