21 March 2006

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Well, hey there, Pilgrim...

So much news about my fearlessly 'elected' President and his need to boost the enthusiasm and support for all Americans in the continuing raid that is the conflict in Iraq. (I say conflict because ever since W stepped onto that aircraft carrier two years ago...in the infamous flightsuit photo-op seen round the world...for the sake of the veterans, it is no longer a war in Iraq. If a military personnel member dies now, they are listed as a victim of a peacekeeping campaign...and their relatives get the same amount of benefits as if they simply died during training exercises at their home Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, or National Guard training base...which is sometimes much less than if died during a 'war'.) When hostilities 'ended' verus Iraq (and dear Lord, had we really even started them back then?), casualties of this war and the effects of the those deaths on the futures of their families changed forever...if for no other reason than how the military and US government have to pay out for them financially. And that's providing none of them died under bizarrely strange circumstances, like fallen sports and military hero Pat Tillman allegedly did.

Along those lines, Ruth Marcus from "The Washington Post" has a very interesting Ruth Marcus Opinion piece in today's paper. Ms. Marcus argues that too much manliness, for lack of a better description, is what has crippled the Bush administration in recent months, and especially in their piecemeal approach to handling the entire Iraq affair. It's a little tongue in cheek, admittedly, but her point is well taken. Somewhere in the Dubya playbook we were supposed to be enjoying the spoils of Iraq's oil, promoting democracy, and riding off into the sunset amongest cheers from the locals by now. Damn, it looked so easy when John Wayne and Burt Lancaster were the lawmen. Or when John Ford directed and Merian Johnson produced. (Johnson was the producer and partner of many of Ford's classics, and was a military flying ace and retired war hero himself in real life.). Now there's a thought: a well-directed, well-produced, well-delivered action extravaganza filled with men who were men and didn't have to go through the motions of knowing what to do and when to do it...they knew what to do and got the job done, hopefully without killing any innocents. Oh dear...is it too late to rouse Lancaster from the dead to play Wyatt Earp one more time?

When we should be getting answers to the doubts of the American people about how Iraq is/isn't in the throes of a civil war, we get Rumsfield et al comparing any withdrawal to that of a surrender to the Nazis, to that horrible Mohammed, I guess, he fears. (Lord, Rumsfeld is scary in just what he will say sometimes.) When we should be getting answers about a timeframe, a troop count, hell, even a simple direction of where this is headed, we are given ra-ras from the Commander in Chief that would have made my pep squad proud back in high school. Unfortunately, even the once-converted are having serious doubts as to the end-game strategy.

The problem still remains, though: I didn't believe my team back in the plains of Kansas could win the tough games (and unfortunately they didn't), and I'm starting to get that same feeling with the men and women caught in the Middle East now. I don't care what quarter we're in or who the hell is leading the cheers...sometimes you need to occasionally look at the scoreboard and take stock of where you stand. And, for Pete's sake, man, at least have the balls to admit errors and change direction. Then maybe some real 'men' will step up and take control of the wayward reins.

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