Tuesday, July 31, 2007

New lamps for old

Remember the queasy feeling you used to get when you saw Lyndon Johnson's flabby face saying "mah felluh Amuricuns" knowing he was going to announce another escalation of the war in Viet Nam? For those as old as I am, the reports of 20,000 troops scheduled to be "rotated" into Iraq this December brought a flashback today. It's hard to avoid the feeling of history repeating itself, even if the details are different.

It's hard to avoid the creep of rising despair and disgust when reading about how more than half of Ohio's 2004 ballots have been destroyed in defiance of law. Future historians may see the Bush era as a sort of dark ages, with little in the way of records or documentation to tell them what happened. It's hard enough for us to tell what happened while the Administration refuses to release records or to testify. Even former officials like Don Rumsfeld seem to feel that they have a perpetual right to be exempt from inquiry. Rummy seems to simply have ignored the request to testify in the Pat Tillman inquiry and the White House won't respond to a request for information about the death and perhaps the murder of an American soldier who they used as a poster boy for the war. Will they remember to forget this episode when next they chastise us for demoralizing the troops who are going to spend yet another Christmas in Iraq wondering if anyone will ask questions or get answers if they get shot three times between the eyes because they saw something or had the wrong beliefs?

Will I live long enough to see another generation of disillusioned troops return from a military disaster to be neglected by the government and lied to about why their sacrifice came to nothing? Will my grandchildren witness the scraggly gray haired veterans of Bush's wars sleeping in vacant lots next to the VFW hall grumbling about how Michael Moore lost the war for them? That's one of the curses of growing old. You can't see the present as anything new.


expatbrian said...

We don't seem to learn our lessons. Most important among these are the lessons that our leaders lie and spin tales in order to manipulate our sentiments and support. They are all politicians and of course, that is their primary job. As a people, we just don't seem to get it and be able to see through it. We prefer to place all of our trust in their leadership and continue to believe that "they are our representatives" and they follow the will of the people.

So yes, even at our age, I have no doubt that we will see it all again in our lifetime. As the world gets smaller and resources become more scarce, as America has to struggle harder to keep its ridiculously large share of the pie, as we are willing to give up our personal freedoms and certainly as we are led to believe that more and more peoples across the oceans are devils and satans (those who have the resources we so desperately want)we will definitely be watching our grandchildren go do it all over again.

Intellectual Insurgent said...

The returning vets will be on the street corners begging for money within a few years. No question about it.

Then they can find out how much Americans support their troops.