Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Is Reason Treason?

When he's on his game, Jon Stewart can out-interview any of our most celebrated "journalists." Again, can't get the embed code, so go to this link to see his interview with General Anthony Zinni. Then consider how unlikely it is that our latest military adventure will be any more successful than any of our several recent ones. Consider how it began with the criminally short-sighted, simplistic, dishonest, ill-prepared invasion of Iraq. Listen for what the general says he heard from people in the region as Dick Cheney's puppet announced our imminent salvation of god-demanded good from the clutches of evil.

More importantly, consider what is said about the limits of, and the areas in which American influence might have a positive role in the world. Then consider the ways in which the right wing in our country are doing everything they can to take us in exactly the wrong direction.

Oh, they'll find the funds to "support" the military, if by support you mean fund battle capabilities including weapons systems the military neither wants nor needs. Not the soldiers themselves, of course; not when they come home. Simultaneously they'll rail against "foreign aid," that paltry part of our budget, block its spending in exactly the areas where we might have a chance of accomplishing something that gains friends, stabilizes the world, instead of creating more enemies and fomenting the chaos that comes from acting only on the sort of fear that flutters poor little Lindsey Graham's tender heart, and on the vote-getting and deceitful pounding of "patriotism," connecting the word to war, and only to war. And the massive profits therefrom.

Not to mention the nearly parenthetical reference by Zinni to the fact that China aims to out-educate us. Consider the implications, and contrast it to the relentless efforts of today's "conservatives" to defund education, to turn it into bible school, to rewrite history, to demonize science and those who promote it.

I'll credit President Obama for seeming, until now, to realize the historical consequences of our recent interventions, the ways in which they have made things worse, the impossibility of solving complex problems with only one tool. For obvious reasons, not all of them good, he couldn't sit by regarding ISIS any longer. But I find his attempts to pretend it's not war, it's somehow different, disappointing. But he's had to reap a whirlwind, an existential storm not of his own making, for which the only solution, if there's time for it, is the passage of time. Centuries, maybe. With death abundant in the meantime. (But, because of the denialsim and obstructionism of America's right wing, I doubt humanity has centuries left on this earth.)

There can be no doubt that Bush's arrogant and simple-minded invasion of Iraq was the worst mistake by any president, and that its ramifications for the world and for our own economy and body politic were and remain disastrous, leaving massive problems with impossible solutions. No matter how Obama had handled it, the multi-layered catastrophe was set, irretrievably, in brimstone. Pulled out sooner, or not at all. Kept ten or a hundred thousand troops in Iraq forever. Occupation was and is destined to fail. American troops cannot affect, in the long run, the tribal and religious and ethnic hatreds in that region.

Clearly, we'll never learn. And if some people do learn, they'll never be able to turn their wisdom into action, because for every Anthony Zinni in this country, there are dozens of John McCains and Lindsey Grahams and John Boehners; and hundreds of mouthpieces on right wing TV and radio to cheer them on, to bamboozle their audiences, convince them that our future depends on god and on war and that to consider anything else, like education and helping those in need here and abroad, is tantamount to treason. Which, in fact, is their favorite word to use to describe everything Obama has done with the tiny bucket for bailing that they've allowed him as we drown in the flood from the dam his predecessor blasted to bits.

(Yes, I go over the top sometimes. Frequently, I suppose. But it's either that or go all Oedipal on my eyes when I see the idiocy that has passed for politics in the world's greatest democracy, ever since, well, you know...)

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