Friday, September 21, 2007

Petraeus Betray Us? Or did he just Bush-Wack us? Or, Who Cares What I Say?

It's all too surreal, this political farce we've found ourselves living in. It would be amusing (and probably is to our enemies - and make no mistake; we do have them) except there's all these little annoying side-issues that keep prickling away at the skin. You know... illegal wars, torture, spying on American citizens, suspension of habeas corpus, firing justice department officials for political reasons, failure of Administration officials to appear before congress when so ordered, and the list goes on. I've never seen anything like this in my lifetime. I was already in high school when Nixon was elected and an adult when he resigned, so I remember those times very well. That was rainy day compared to this hurricane. Yet the mood of Americans (particularly those who self-identified as free thinkers employing rational skepticism toward their government) was equally a hurricane compared to this rainy day. It's all too surreal.

Moving on to - they've created at least a tropical storm. They did it when they took out a full page newspaper ad asking: "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?". Now you would think, being the rational thinker that you are, that this would be rather a tame issue compared to everything else that's going on these days. But, no, apparently it's the biggest topic in the land. Oh, besides Britney's arrest for hit and run and OJ's arrest for armed robbery.

I already grow weary - weary - as I type these words. I want to leave the computer right now and go back to reading my book. But isn't that the problem? I think it probably is, so I'll finish what I've started.

First, let me just say this about the ad and the reaction to it. Since when (in a country that prides itself in it's Bill of Rights) is it that you can not criticize the military? Why will people scream you down as (pick your favorite) "subversive", "traitor", "commie", "pacifist", "appeaser", "unpatriotic", for making observations about our holy men and women in uniform?

I support the people in uniform who follow orders, even bad ones, and try to do their best with a bad situation, thinking that they are doing it in my best interest. Most of the time. But then, little things come up - like Mi Lai, Heditha, Abu Ghraib, and, unfortunately, quite a few others in our history. When they do happen, it's unpatriotic not to register disgust and disapproval - "please, not in our best interest".

But in this particular case, we have no atrocity at hand. This is simply an attack on a highly decorated American general. Can this ever be justified?

Well, yes. It certainly can.

Our military for very good reasons (that the Founders understood when framing the Constitution), is kept completely clear of the "political". Only in military dictatorships are you not permitted to criticize the military. But we generally refrain from it here, because these guys and gals do their damnedest to keep us safe and are not part of the political machinery. It's the least we can do.

In this case, Petraeus allowed himself to be dragged into the politics of Iraq. Bush has positioned himself, flag draped about his shoulders, behind the general and screamed - "it's not me, it's him! Wait until he tells us what to do, then we'll do it!"

Of course it was a fixed card game and Bush knew full well what Petraeus would "recommend" and Petraeus knew he was recommending something that many of his fellow generals and admirals don't agree with. He threw himself into the spotlight of politics. Guess what happens there? If we can't treat the Holy Petraeus with the same contempt we treat Hillary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson and Al Gore, then we have a real problem with our First Ammendment rights.

Please watch the following two videos. They are much more eloquent than I'll ever be, though I hope I've gotten my point across. I have a book to read...


anotherplayaguy said...

"But in this particular case, we have no atrocity at hand. This is simply an attack on a highly decorated American general. Can this ever be justified?"

I beg to differ. Iraq is the atrocity.

Spanish Inquisitor said...

I watched that Olbermann video twice. I think I'll watch it again. He's getting to be my favorite newscaster.

Spanish Inquisitor said...

I meant to add this link to an article in this week's "The Nation".

Olbermann Link

IMSMALL said...

Effete (if orotund) he is,
Petraeus at the table,
Who shows his guests the best of his
Wine cellar--see the label.

"I am," he says, "a realist"--
Such quaint naivete
Throws doubt upon the utter gist
Of what he has to say.

(So he commands the forces from
A compound so refined;
Tennis perhaps? He´s never glum,
With questions in his mind.)

"Here´s a fine bottle: this was once
Pride of Ulysses Grant,
(Go gentle with the cork, you dunce!)
The best that you could want."

Despite high praises at that bar
Some guests did scowl and frown:
Not either piss nor vinegar,
It tastes so watered down!