Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Five Years Future: Bush's Viet Nam Redux in Iraq

It was properly called the "self" coronation of George W. Bush.
Even now, the White House is being redecorated for President Bush's second term - or at least one room, the Lincoln Bedroom. The famous long bed will remain; so will the original Emancipation Proclamation in its glass case. But dominating the room, above the bed, will be a large carved crown from which will flow, ceiling to floor, royal purple satin drapes. The crown has been sent to be gilded with gold in anticipation of Bush's triumphant return from his campaign.

That Bush has imperial ambitions has been clear since his "triumphal" landing on an the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln to announce "mission accomplished". That was four years ago and it is clear that not only has nothing been accomplished, things are worse. The Middle East is a much more dangerous place. The world may be but a single fuck up away from nuclear war. If Bush doesn't blow us up, he will bore us to death with stupid remarks and his phony hayseed accent.

Sen. Ted Kennedy About How Bush Has Failed to Learn the Lessons of History

Much has changed since Maj. Michael O'Halloran, USMC wrote "A Kill is a Kill: Asymmetrically Attacking US Airpower", his thesis presented to the faculty of the school of advanced airpower studies, Maxwell Air Force Base.
In the spring of 1991, following a great victory, American generals lead a parade of their own in the nation's capital. Held ostensibly to honor the men and women who participated in Operation Desert Storm, the parade clearly celebrate two additional accomplishments: first that the American military had finally rid itself of the Viet Nam self-doubting shackles; and second, that the country now stood alone as the world's only superpower.

The American military had once again arrived at center stage and was reveling in the moment. In the din of congratulations and emotion, Rome's slave would have needed a bullhorn to issue any warnings and, as the ensuing decade has unfolded, US forces have continued to prepare for war in a manner that largely anticipates Desert Storm redux.

But if the rest of the world learned anything from that conflict, it was precisely that the US should not be fought along conventional lines.

--A Kill is a Kill: Asymmetrically Attacking US Airpower

It's a safe bet that GWB, comfortable strutting gaily on aircraft carriers, did not read the Major's thesis which goes on to conclude that just as David would not have confronted Goliath with sword and shield, "future enemies" will not confront US power on "our" terms. The US, the major warns, will ignore at its own peril the realities of what was then "future" war. Thanks to a man who dares crown himself, a man who assumes dictatorial powers, a man who gets his orders directly from God, the future is now and has been for 5 years. The US is fighting the Viet Nam war all over again and getting the same result: quagmire and defeat.

The Major describes the "Triumphs" that were accorded Roman emperors for more than a thousand years. At least 320 triumphal processions took place since the beginning of Rome till the reign of Vespasian. It was in 403 AD that the emperor Honorius enjoyed the last truly Roman triumph.

Military types almost always overlook a simple fact lost amid the pomp. Simply, power derives from truth. In its absence there is only temporary brute coercion. Machiavelli was dead wrong. Ethics cannot be separated from the practice of politics and morality cannot be divorced from the practice of war.

As every tyrant fails, death awaits every living being. The meanings of our lives are bound up in each fleeting sentient instant. A life spent devising death without question is a life wasted. As Socrates would have put it: "The unexamined life is not worth living."

George W. Bush should take into consideration the fact that his life has thus far been squandered in the pursuit of vainglorious empire, ego gratification, and cheap kicks. That might have been forgiven were it not purchased with the lives of innocents who gain nothing from Bush's infantile ambitions.

Victorious Roman Generals and Emperors were granted triumphal processions upon their return to Rome. Gen. George W. Patton, who read a bit about this sort of thing, described the triumphal parade.
"For over a thousand years Roman conquerors returning from the wars enjoyed the honor of triumph, a tumultuous parade. In the procession came trumpeteers, musicians and strange animals from conquered territories, together with carts laden with treasure and captured armaments. The conquerors rode in a triumphal chariot, the dazed prisoners walking in chains before him. Sometimes his children robed in white stood with him in the chariot or rode the trace horses. A slave stood behind the conqueror holding a golden crown and whispering in his ear a warning: that all glory is fleeting."

- Gen. George C. Patton

An audio update:

To Hold Bush Accountable for the Iraq War, the Democrats Should Listen to Richard Nixon

Tip of the Black Hat to BuzzFlash
"An unpopular president [Johnson] was prosecuting an unpopular war, which was despised by more than half the American people. His political opponent [Nixon, although Nixon actually ran against Humphrey, Johnson's Vice-President] knew that the best way to take him down - and ultimately to take down his entire Party - was to simply say out loud what everybody knew to be true. To call out the President. To declare him and his war a failure. To call on the American people for truth and honesty in government, and an end to war. Here's a quick clip composite, sent along to us by a listener (I'm sorry, I don't remember whom) a year or so ago, of Richard Nixon at the 1968 Republican National Convention..."

-- Thom Hartmann in an e-mail to BuzzFlash
Artist: Richard Nixon
Title: Lyndon Johnson Has Been a Failed War Leader
Length: 1:04 minutes (501.47 KB)
Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 64Kbps (CBR)
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