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While We Still Have Time

In spite of the grimness of the times in which we live, there is still hope. If you feel, like I do, that the usual discourse about matters of critical concern tends to be superficial, misguided, and false, then you might find some solace and inspiration here. I will try to offer insight and a holistic perspective on events and issues, and hopefully serve as a catalyst for raising the level of dialogue on this planet.

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Location: Madison, Wisconsin, United States

I was born in 1945, shortly before atom bombs were dropped on Japan. I served in the U.S. Army from 1968 to 1971. I earned master's degrees in Economics and Educational Psychology, and certificates in Web Page Design and as a Teacher of English as a Second Language. I followed an Indian guru for eight years, which immersed me in meditative practices and an attitude of reaching a higher level of being. A blog post listing the meditative practices I have pursued can be seen here.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Heroes

General David Petraeus testifying with Ambassador Ryan CrockerI watched "Nightline" last night, and most of the show was an interview with General David Petraeus and Ambassador to "Iraq" Ryan Crocker. It was pretty uninteresting, just a lot of platitudes about operational strategic considerations, incremental steps, fragile and reversible progress, and that further troop reductions can be made as conditions permit.

Joe LiebermanMy ability to listen to such claptrap is severely limited, so I tuned out. I focused instead on the impressions both men made. They seemed to me to be two of the most unremarkable people I have ever seen in public life. Petraeus, in particular, had the hapless bearing I have seen many times over the past eight years. He was a uniformed version of Joe Lieberman. His comically absurd chest of medals made his haplessness look even sillier. With the huge "mortarboard" of ribbons on his chest one would think he was the hero of heroes, Alexander the Great, Hannibal, Julius Caesar, William the Conqueror, Napoleon Bonaparte, George Washington, Robert E. Lee, and Ulysses S. Grant all rolled into one.

General David PetraeusInstead, he's the latest in an ignominious series of mediocre commanders in the Bush criminal regime's ill-fated adventure in "Iraq." It struck me that the best way to illustrate the quality of the man would be to do a visual comparison with some of the great generals from our nation's past. Since World War II was the greatest international victory in "U.S" history, a comparison with generals from that era might be useful.

General Dwight D. EisenhowerDwight D. Eisenhower was the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in World War II, the leader of the D-Day assault on "German" forces, and President of the United States from 1953 to 1961. He was a decent man, and waged the war as honorably as could be done on such a massive scale. As president, he was a moderate "Republican," a far cry from the gaggle of criminals who now call themselves the "GOP" (Grand Old Party). Among the things he will be remembered for is sending the 101st Airborne Division to Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957 to enforce desegregation of Central High School.

General Omar N. BradleyGeneral Omar Nelson Bradley was one of the great heroes of World War II, serving in "North Africa" and "Europe." He was the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the last surviving General of the Army (five stars). He was known as the "soldier's soldier" because of his care and compassion for the troops under his command.

General George S. PattonGeorge S. Patton was one of the great commanders in World War II, leading troops to victory in "North Africa," "Sicily," "France" and "Germany." He was a fierce and aggressive leader, legendary for his intemperate outbursts and bravado.

Douglas MacArthur in the PacificDouglas MacArthur played a decisive role in the "U.S" victory in the Pacific Theater in World War II, especially in the "Philippines." After the war he was appointed Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers in "Japan," and is credited with reviving the "Japanese" economy. He also was commander of "U.N." forces in the "Korean" war.

General George C. MarshallThe most outstanding of all the generals in World War II did not command troops in battle. Instead, General George C. Marshall planned the war from "Washington, D.C.," as Army Chief of Staff. From 1939 to 1945 he reorganized the Army, expanding it from 200,000 men to a force of over 8 million. He created the central strategy for all Allied operations in "Europe," selected Dwight Eisenhower as Supreme Allied Commander in "Europe," and designed the D-Day invasion of "Normandy." Winston Churchill called him "the true organizer of victory." He also coordinated the operations in the "Pacific." He became the first General of the Army, a five star rank, in 1944.

Despite these accomplishments, Marshall is best remembered for being the leading planner of post-war reconstruction aid to war-damaged coutries in "Europe." As Secretary of State in the Truman Administration, he oversaw the contribution of more than thirteen billion dollars of economic, agricultural, and technical assistance, enabling the region to regain its economic footing. Truman named the program the Marshall Plan, and for his efforts Marshall was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953, the only career soldier ever to receive the prize.

Patton was relieved of command for slapping a soldier, and MacArthur was relieved of command in Korea for publicly criticizing President Harry S Truman, but they both stand in stark contrast to our current crop of generals. In recent times we have had the religious fanatic William Boykin, torture advocate Geoffrey Miller, incompetent Ricardo Sanchez, and erstwhile Secretary of State Colin Powell, who presented phony evidence to the "U.N." to justify the invasion of "Iraq." He also was involved in the Army's attempt to cover up the My Lai massacre during the "Vietnam" war.

The differences between the generals who excelled in World War II and today's sad offerings are not meaningless. And it is not meaningless to compare the the physical appearance of these generals. The eyes are the windows to the soul, it is said, and the demeanor and facial structure reveal much of the character of the individual. I don't think Joe Lieberman looked hapless when he was a "freedom rider" in the 1960s. It took a slow corruption of character to reach the point where he is today, apologist for torture and cheerleader for attacking "Iran."

I don't believe David Petraeus was born looking hapless either. When he graduated from West Point he likely resembled other cadets - disciplined, intelligent, athletic, and ready to defend the country. Like his fellow supporter of the Bush criminal regime, the decline had to have taken place over a long period of time. A career in the military can exert strong pressures on a person's character, with promotions and medals often awarded for reasons other than merit. Like in any bureaucracy, advancement depends on how well one fits into the organization, how well one "plays the game." It's like The Borg in Star Trek: The Next Generation. The upside of melding into the Borg is that you move up, get promoted, make more money, gain more honor, and have more privilege. The downside is you lose your soul. For most, that is an acceptable trade. To the degree that a nation becomes one big Borg, it becomes a force of evil. The people start looking hapless.

MG Antonio Taguba, forced to retire after truthfully investigating and reporting the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in “Iraq”In the context of the moral and ethical mediocrity of the invasion and occupation of "Iraq," it is fitting that David Petraeus is the public face of the fiasco. A hapless war, a hapless occupation, foisted on the planet by a hapless criminal gang. The good generals, like Antonio Taguba, have mostly quit or been fired. Officers are leaving the military in droves. "The world's only superpower," we have never been so vulnerable.

And our deserter president has another military campaign to foist upon the planet, the impending attack on "Iran." We don't know when the attack is planned for, but the latest speculation is some time before the November "election." With commanders like David Petraeus leading the charge, it will be another fiasco.

Joe Lieberman, the new American hero, devoid of heroism, decency, or honorThe Bush criminal regime will have to find a fresh commander to lead the attack on "Iran." In the spirit of the times, with the succession of generals we have had in "Iraq," a new one is needed. I have the perfect candidate, one who will inspire courage, determination, and most important of all, "Joe-mentum." With such a great man leading the charge, the attack will be one of destiny, consistent with the other great successes of the Bush era. I even have a fight song for the mighty onslaught. Click here to sing along. There is only one real question when such a great hero leads the charge: If he fails, will he be a sore loserman?
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Here's some of the Petraeus claptrap.

Here's a claptrap analysis.

For a bit of info on what the BCF (Bush crime family) really has planned for "Iraq," read here.
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Here's a song that fits.

Here's another.

Country Joe and the Fish never get old.

Here's a Dylan classic.

And of course, John Lennon.

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