November 3, 2009

General McChrystal - Stay or Go?

If the "mission" is to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan, Gen. McChrystal is right and must be supported. If, however, one accepts that the Taliban cannot be militarily defeated, then the mission must be changed. The Taliban are a "social, cultural and political" entity - they are part of the fabric of Afghanistan, loathsome though they may be to Western sensibilities. When the Soviet Union was our enemy the Taliban were our allies - we armed, trained and financially supported them (ditto with Saddam Hussein).

MacArthur, Patton, McChrystal - all in my view were/are right and all were either fired, humiliated or rebuked. I admire Presidents Truman, Eisenhower and Obama, but in their dealings with these generals I think they were/are dead wrong. If the goal is victory, go with the generals; if compromise and half measures, go with the politicians.

As I concluded when I was in Vietnam, we clearly lacked the will to succeed and we deliberately confused North Vietnam Regulars with Viet Cong guerrillas. Today we deliberately confuse the Taliban with al Quaeda. No clear enemy = no clear mission. Using the military to defeat the Taliban is tantamount to using it to defeat the Republicans or Democrats -- ludicrous on its face. We need only look as far as our own "Posse Comitatus Act" for instruction -- anarchists and para-military extremists are dealt with by the FBI and other police agencies, not the 82nd Airborne.

At heart, the problem is our tortured use of the term "war" - as in "War on Poverty," "War on Drugs" and "War on Terror." Where there is no clear military mission, and where there is no clear mission, lives are sacrificed incrementally and senselessly as we stumble around looking for one - now curiously and infuriatingly because "we don't want those who have died to have done so in vain." (I watched firsthand while this specious reasoning culminated in 58,000 American deaths in Vietnam. I doubt whether the families of the first 1,000 dead feel better today that 57,000 more followed. I sure as hell don't.)

Social, ideological and criminal problems are the province of politicians, educators and the police. In the case of terror emanating from beyond our borders, the military may be needed to help establish and control a base of operations for specially trained police, intelligence agencies, special forces and black ops to do their jobs. We are lousy as occupiers and incompetent as nation-builders. Define the mission properly and the McChrystal "problem" will resolve itself. Until then, I'm with him!

November 2, 2009

Be bold; eschew mediocrity

While I took a long sabbatical from being a political junkie, I ended up watching MSNBC & CNN when I wasn't feeling well - big mistake! It truly does affect one's BP.

What is so disheartening is the extent to which the Dems have fulfilled my prophecy that they would prove to be President Obama's undoing - not the knee-jerk Republicans who make me want to puke every time I hear one of them speak. (I think they are so irresponsible that they seem oblivious to the mortal danger in which they are putting the President. It hurts just to watch it.)

The Dems, on the other hand, have rendered virtually every once-bold policy initiative bland. Rahm Emanuel, Larry Summers,Tim Geithner and the Joint Chiefs have failed the President miserably. I'd rather see a bold, strong one-term administration than a mediocre two-term one. In "The Republic," arguably the best piece of literature ever penned, Plato knew that their could be no reasoning and no accommodation with the Barbarian -- the only sour note and major disappointment in his postulation of the "ideal state" ruled by a philosopher-king.

The President needs to march to his own drummer, push his own agenda and let the chips fall where they may. He needs to abandon the politics of compromise and don the mantle of bold leadership. He has to shed the Clintonesque need to be liked by those who would do him harm -- virtually everyone in Congress and many within his own administration. The only two legislators I know of who are not in the pockets of K-Street, Wall Street or virulent talk-show hosts are Dennis Kucinich and Olympia Snowe -- they heed their own moral compass more than most and the President would do well to put them in positions of power.

Oh well, thank God for football season and Brett Favre!

On Favre and the Packers

Nostalgia dictates that I feel badly for my once-beloved Packers, but . . .

While I was happy to see the few signs saying good things about Brett Favre during the Vikings-Packers game at Lambeau Field, I was disgusted to hear the classless boos every time he took the field. Were it not for Vince Lombardi and Brett Favre, most people would not even know where Green Bay is and those who do would not have developed such a fondness for this frozen tundra toilet of a town.

His off-the-field decision-making obviously leaves something to be desired, but his achievements on the field are deserving of respect if not outright adulation. He is great with young players and quietly generous with his time, money and status. It's time for the "fans" to embrace Aaron Rodgers and move on. For Sleepyville USA, they should count themselves blessed to have two outstanding QBs in succession. Other teams would die to have Fortune smile on them over the past 18 years. They need to stop acting like a bunch of Limbaugh clones calling a certified hero a "traitor" and treat the man with the respect he has earned and continues to earn in spectacular fashion.

October 30, 2009

Congress Be Damned

More to the point, Boehner, Bayh, Grassley, McConnell, Lieberman, Reid and Pelosi be damned. On their worst day the founding fathers could not have imagined their flawed-but-noble experiment being hijacked by such self-serving morons and their congressional acolytes, entrenched politicos hellbent on feathering their nests and those of their K Street and Wall Street organ grinders on the backs of their disillusioned, disenfranchised and disengaged constituents.

The financial, physical, moral and psychological health of this once-decent nation are are the currency with which these pork haulers are purchasing and solidifying their asphyxiating grip on the levers of power.

Though flawed himself, Jefferson got it right when he called for a revolution every twenty years. We are long overdue! "Reform" is the modern-day opiate of the masses; it's a fool's game and we are fools for playing along. With the possible exceptions of Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), we need to become 'The People of No' and vote out EVERY incumbent from Obama to the newest Congressman. Only then might they catch on to the fact that we are pissed off and wiling to REVOLT.