Thursday, April 26, 2007

Remembering War: Iraq, Iran, Vietnam ....

April 23, 2007 (third time, first two attempts crashed)

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. -- George Santayana

This past week Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) engaged in a bit of controversy. In addressing a news conference on the administration’s policy in Iraq, Sen. Reid appeared to ramble a bit, and during it, uttered the four words that stopped clocks on both sides of the Congressional aisle: “this war is lost.” Yeah, that was about as sorely welcomed as a freshly laid, steaming cow-pie next to the dinner table.

Personally, I have no real disagreement with Sen. Reid’s sentiment. It was actually an unusually gutsy, king-has-no-clothes moment. But uttering this, no matter how valid, is practically like begging conservative screaming heads to a noise contest. You might as well call out a bunch of bull-riding rednecks and tell them they’re sissy punks while you stand peeing on the Alamo. What reaction was the senator expecting?

Yes, those four words will be played over and over and over and over, ad nauseum, during election time. You can hear Karl Rove and the Republican National Committee salivating already.

A bit earlier, Republican pundits and pols alike were in a dither over house Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) trip to Syria. When you consider the foreign policy success this administration has had in the Middle East, Speaker Pelosi certainly couldn’t do any worse.

But conservative critics lobbed accusations about her talks with Syrian President Bashir Assad in which she tried to bring Syria to the negotiation table. This caused Vice President Dick Cheney to act like his first name, blasting Speaker Pelosi for allegedly setting her own foreign policy agenda, taking a stand not first approved by President Bush, and undermining the president’s authority.

A question to the Veep: have you never seen any other government official circumvent a standing president? How about President George Bush 41 negotiating with the leaders of Iran while we were on the verge of outright war with a nation that held American hostages? And to think, all of it was done to exquisitely time the release of our hostages a bit later, to coincide with election day of newly-elected President Reagan.

Perhaps he doesn’t remember.

Do you suffer from long term memory loss? I don’t remember … -- Chumbawamba

Speaking after Pelosi’s trip to the middle east, the vice president spoke to the conservative Heritage Foundation about the Democrats’ policy for the Iraq war. It was a red meat crowd, so he conjured up memories of the beginnings of liberal marginalization by noting the “hard left turn” the Democrats would harken back to, mirroring their anti-war McGovern era. – certainly a crowd pleaser.

Then dilapidated Dick probably caught a case of dementia as he pull from the next memory, declaring the Iraq War as important as, and drawing parallels to the Vietnam War. The Vietnam War!!! Did he really mean to dredge up that memory?

Did he forget that it was scarcely over a year ago that he and the president were both blasting Democrats or anyone else for attempting to tie the Iraq War to the Vietnam War? Now Cheney was going to … tie Iraq to the Vietnam War? It sounds like someone else didn’t vet their speech through Karl Rove and the administration.

I can imagine George W’s response would go something like this: “Dick! Buddy, what are you doing to me? I’m tryin’ to keep this thing together, get people to thinking it’s a good war. Vietnam was not a good war! People didn’t like it. Now you’re pissing away all our marketing and tying our war to Vietnam. You’re killing us, man!”

If by some chance the administration claims this was a valid point, part of a broader strategy, how do they expect anyone to swallow that? You really have to be pretty addlepated, if not outright brain-damaged, in order not to remember something that recent. This administration obviously plays the American public as fools. The message it sends is clear: if you own the media and spin your propaganda with such conviction that you believe it and stop at nothing until others agree, who needs reality?

Who’s going to remember? That’s what history’s for.

And if you’ve got enough power and wealth consolidated, you can revise history too. If that doesn’t happen, raise tax breaks by slashing budgets and cutting educational programs. At least the extra money will help buy more revisionist's reality.

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