There I go, thinkin’ again…

January 17, 2007

You know, I want to write about politics. I want to write about the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have thoughts on this, as some of you might well imagine. But it seems so… pretentious. I just said in my last post that I knew what I wanted to write here, and I do. But it’s just so heavy. So I’m going to just jump in.

I’ve seen pictures and videos of the Iraqi and Afghan armies, and heard the stories of the “rigorous” 2-day, or 2 week, or whatever, “basic training” program that they go through, and then I see them, on the news, walking the streets of Baghdad and Qandahar, looking completely unprepared. I hear stories of them helping insurgents, because they consider us occupiers rather than allies, because their imam has told them we are tools of Satan, or because they are using their newfound power for their own gain rather than to help their country. I see and hear all of this, and I despair of ever getting our troops out of there, because until those armies (and police forces, and anyone else with the official power to use force) thinks of themselves as professional and capable they will be little more than poorly trained Wild West posses.

But I have a suggestion…

No one in the world creates a more powerful or more deserved feeling of esprit de corps, belonging, and competence than the US Marine Corps. If you’ve ever known a Marine, you’ll know what I mean. Their boot camp is grueling, demeaning, and demanding. It will tear a person down to nothing, then take that nothing turn it into a Marine. That Marine will never doubt his abilities or his loyalties, which are never to himself, but to his country, his Corps, and his comrades. This is the training we need to be giving to the Iraqi and Afghan armies. Then they will see themselves as protectors of their country. Then they will see that they have the real power, not the insurgents. And they will see that the real honor comes in using that power to build, not to destroy.

So I suggest that we take the two armies, in turns, to Parris Island and run the recruits through the full boot camp course. Teach them what it means to be a part of something bigger. And give them the actual skills they’ll need to defend their country. And once they have the skills and confidence to do that, THEN we can leave them to it.

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What goes around…

January 7, 2007

Ever notice how in the movies or TV, when there’s a bad guy who pushes everyone around, acts like he’s entitled to anything he wants, and has no consideration for anyone else, and then the underdog turns the tables and gets the upper hand, the bad guy always, always, ends up cowering on the floor begging for the mercy and consideration he never showed?

Meet Representative John Boehner (R-OH), former majority leader (now minority leader…) who is quoted in the Boston Globe as saying, “What we really expect out of the Democrats is for them to treat us as they would liked to have been treated.

I don’t know what pisses me off more: The fact that he asks this, or the fact that he doesn’t even realize why Democrats might not be inclined to grant it.


The wheels on the bus

January 6, 2007

Susie and I were talking last night about President Dubya, and his extensive use of signing statements when signing legislation. These things bother the hell out of me, frankly. The president is changing the law by instructing officials how to interpret and enforce it (or not to enforce it). A simple example: Congress passes legislation that says, “It is illegal for the US or its agencies to use torture, ever.” The president signs it (because, who wouldn’t?) and then adds a signing statement that says, “But I instruct everyone in the government not to prosecute anyone for violating this law if they do it in support of whatever we decide ‘national security’ means – and besides, ‘torture’ means what *I* say it does.”

Whatever else you may think of him, the man’s got balls. I don’t know what to expect from the new Democratic majority, but I know that I’m looking forward to the day when the short bus pulls up to the White House to take Dubya back home…