RANGER AGAINST WAR: And Now for Something Completely Different <

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

And Now for Something Completely Different


I want a new drug
One that won't spill

One that don't cost too much

Or come in a pill
--I Want a New Drug,
Huey Lewis

But you will be sleeping on this last trip
In this new car,

It will take you to a destination that

We all know but we are all uncertain

--Yes, a New Car, It is a New Car

Ric Bastasa


Don't get stuck on the level of words.

A word is no more than a means to an end.

It's an abstraction. Not unlike a signpost,

it points beyond itself

--The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle

___________

Mr. Tolle's statement is a restatement of linguistic philosopher Saussure's semiotics. Tolle borrows liberally from all thinkers, but perhaps he is just channeling the wisdom of the universe.

Did you participate in Oprah's recent online happening with her guru du jour Tolle? Bottom line, if your life is bad, it is really good. Every cloud has a silver lining, and suffering raises you to a spiritual level. Everything is new by virtue of his recasting it as such, which in itself is a repackaging of existentialist thinking. Which is a restatement of Shakespeare's, "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Which is Lincoln's "A man is about as happy as he makes his mind up to be," ad infinitum. It is the Good News we all crave.

In today's politics of appearances, some argue that foreign policy experience is baggage in a world where things have not gone very well under the orders of experienced men. What we need is something new.


David Ignatius recently argued the point in the
WaPo, but his piece is full of faulty assumptions ("Experience, and It's Baggage, is Overrated in Today's Politics.")

He argues that George W. Bush's decision to go to war was
"a test of the efficacy of experience":

"Bush's national security advisers were arguably the most experienced in modern times. But their performance was often very poor. That was partly, I think, because they overlaid the post-Sept. 11 challenges on a Cold War template about the uses of military power."

Ignatius makes the false presumption that these officials were operating freely, at the top of their powers.
If foreign policy experience is overrated, then let us get rid of professional State Department personnel. In fact, these able personnel were hamstrung by the administration's preordained march to war.

Throwing the Baby out with the Bathwater:

He next argues that since the Cold war is over, "There is a new set of problems and personalities -- and if America keeps trotting out the same cast of characters and policy papers, we will fail to make sense of where the world is moving."


The new problems are internal and affect U.S. policy reactions to external stimuli.
The U.S. must sink or swim within a constitutional framework, and it is imperative that the rule of law permeate every decision made by our government. Nothing changed on 9-11; the Constitution was not blown apart by 19 criminals.

If anything, that attack should emphasize the need to remain true to our values. Because an administration "with experience" committed the vile blunder of unilaterally interpreting the Constitution in a manner embarrassing American ideals
does not negate the value of experience. Rather, it indicts cronyism. president Bush's lackeys committed the atrocities. Individual men and women bear the brunt of the blame, not experience per se.

Ignatius attributes poor performance of the National Security Advisers to their overlay of "a Cold War template about the uses of military power" onto
"the post-Sept. 11 challenges." This presumes the administration actually was using the Cold War template.


But if they were, they would have known the Cold war was not won via military actions.
Rather, the victory was a political and economic one attained through alliances and a bipartisan approach to the threat.

Contrast that success to the Phony War on Terror (PWOT©) which is dominated by militarism and a marginalized State Department. The U.S. has abandoned its strategic alliances in its go-it-alone mindset, and it is these missing links which will lead to our dissolution or marginalization on the world stage.


In another genuflect before the
Power of New:

"To prepare for the next stage of the U.S. presidential campaign, try this thought experiment: Imagine the television footage of Barack Obama's first trip abroad as president -- the crowds in the streets of Moscow, Cairo, Nairobi, Shanghai, Paris, Islamabad. Now tell me which image would foster a stronger and safer America in the 21st century."

We are tired of the Ronald Reagan play book being shoved down our throat.
Image is not substance. Washington is not Hollywood.

Why should crowd reaction in Nairobi or anywhere else influence our choice of U.S. President?
Image and reality are separate concepts. Because someone is graced with a smooth voice or a pleasant mien does not indicate their fitness nor excellence for any particular task. Because a person looks different doesn't mean they are different.

The challenge facing the U.S. is to return to what was a workable and constitutional system. The reality of America is fouled by every illegal and secret action executed by the current administration.
We do not need NEW. Illegal unwarranted invasions, Abu Ghraib torture, suspension of habeas corpus, Gitmo, rendition to secret prisons and warrantless spying are NEW.

In a pathetic conclusion, Ignatius says Obama's
"inexperience paradoxically may actually bolster one of his core arguments -- that he would give America a fresh start." This is like the argument for mainstreaming students in a classroom: it will lift up some, drag down others, but overall, give a happy middlin' mean. Not.

There is no valid argument for ditching experience in favor of new.
Venality is what needs to be ditched, and venality can ride in on a new or an old horse.

If we cannot find our way back and return to a conscionable and accountable system of government, then the U.S. needs to reevaluate its validity and relevance as a beacon of democracy.

What we need is a President, not a prophet.

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3 Comments:

Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

Arson, Rape, and Bloody Murder!

a good, old fashioned IWW sing along.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 6:55:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous REAL Soldier said...

too bad u were never even in Ranger school much less a ranger. It has been verified with the school house. You are a phony pos scumbag stealing honor of REAL Rangers. idiot.

Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 3:08:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

"real" soldier,

Due to vulgarity from people such as yourself, Ranger will be turning comment moderation on.

It saddens me to imagine that a man like yourself wears the uniform. I have met so many decent and refined soldiers. This is a jerk back to the reality of the rubble which inhabits the underbelly of our society.

I hope you are a phony "real" soldier, unlike Ranger.

Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 3:30:00 PM GMT-5  

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