Postmodern classic?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Start of November

A friend of mine sent this, thought it was hilarious- military humor at it's best. Did Kerry probably mean something else? Yes. But given his past performance, I'm not going to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Coming up on the midterm elections, what's going to happen? Having no crystal ball nor faith in polling, my personal opinion is that I don't see a Democratic upset occurring. While there is discontent, I don't see the kind of uproar that would lead to believe strongly in the popular hype of certain people's expectations. My $.02 is at worst, Republicans lose the House. From where I'm sitting that's possible, but not likely. Can't wait for all the posturing to be over and back to business...

Watching the Lehrer News report, and Fred Kagan came on. I'm quite a fan of the Kagans- their father Donald Kagan wrote what I think is just about the best book of the 20th century 'On the Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace'. Robert Kagan wrote 'Of Paradise and Power' which I greatly appreciated, so I just got his new one 'Dangerous Nation'. Frederick Kagan has written some good articles in the Neocon journal 'American Enterprise Institute', which I love (since I'm apparently a neocon if I believe that armed forces should be used to defend our nation abroad, ah well). He has a new book out about military transformation called 'Finding The Target: The Transformation of American Military Policy'. However, based on his performance on TV, I won't be buying it. Just another armchair general talking about how we need more troops in Baghdad, talking about how the military screwed it up.... I laugh.

Of course, in my own vanity I know the secret to winning the war on terror and if they'd listen to me everything would be good and people who disagree with me are idiots, bla bla bla. As much as I'm loathe to admit it, that's just not the case. I have substantial disagreements with individuals such as General Casey and how they're working in the context of the Bush policy in Iraq, of which I have additional 'differences of opinion'. But I respect the fact that most of these guys are making difficult decisions in a context of more updated information and political pressure from the locals and our allies that we can only guess at now but might be able to get a better idea of in the years to come. This is commonly known as the 'Fog of War', and should be respected- for it is only hindsight that is 20/20. Let there be no doubt- people should and will be held accountable for their mistakes, as well as their accomplishments. I am reminded of Teddy Roosevelts 'Man in the Arena'-

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how
the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

"Citizenship in a Republic,"
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

Having said that, I'm not going to waste more time on his policy prescriptions for Iraq. In case you were wondering about mine, let's just say they would require us relooking the Geneva Convention and then doing some majoring sovereignty trampling. Respect is earned, not preserved in meaningless treaties that are conveniently ignored at our peril. Speak softly and carry a big stick, another bit of advice from good 'ol Teddy Roosevelt. I'm sure there are some good objections to the direction my initiative would take, and if I was in that position I would appreciate an honest and constructive criticism of that, hoping that at the end we could hash out a good compromise towards the same objective.

Anyhow, life goes on. I'm certainly staying busy, whether or not I head off for a short tour or I stick around town a little longer. Wonder what kind of curveballs life will throw in the upcoming weeks and months...


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