Friday, September 13, 2013

Presidential Warmongers and Whoremongers

It is oft said, "Good men don't start fights or run from them." Plenty of Americans exemplify such cowboy virtue in their personal lives, but American presidents are now establishing a tradition of abandoning such wisdom for the reprehensible extremes of bullying or cowardice. George Bush was barely engaged in a crucial defining struggle in Afghanistan, when he felt compelled to turn his attention to opening a 2nd front in Iraq, for reasons that were (at best) poorly defined. Barack Obama felt compelled to publically announce an arbitrary date for an Afghan withdrawl (what men who care about victory call retreat). This made both pacifist supporters and Taliban enemies feel much better.

Soon, the Taliban can return to their efforts to make the world a better place by training bombers globally and throwing acid on school girls locally. (Last night they attacked a U.S. consulate in Afghanistan.) Afghan school girls may wish to view Obama's retreat deadline as a blessing that allows you to finish up whatever books you're reading and run for the hills, before those chivalrous American boys are ordered to dash for their helicopters. Good luck. Sorry the guy in the white hat rode out of town so soon, but he has many towns to halfway cleanup and many damsels to halfway rescue.

While Bush was looking for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, hostile states like North Korea, Iran and Venezuela were busy swapping WMDs, WMD parts and WMD repair dudes around the globe on rusty ships with laughable cargo manifests in a fun-filled game of who's got the football. A few years later, Obama felt compelled to "do something" in Libya, but not something as gung ho as posting 1st rate security at the U.S. embassy in this Wild West frontier.

One year ago this week, as American diplomatic staffers said their prayers and defended themselves to the death in the Bengazi gunfight at OK corral, Obama resisted the temptation to go all macho and send in the U.S. cavalry. Instead, he dropped off the communications radar for a day but still ran a black op mission over to Las Vegas for an election fundraiser. Luckily, the state department bureaucracy knew exactly how to handle such a crisis. Though they couldn't save the lives of the townsfolk being gunned down or dragged through the streets for hours, they were able to blame their deaths on a YouTube video and ride off into the sunset.

Lately, the American president's trigger finger has been getting itchy again. Sure, he has been droning on and on in tough talking speeches and droning on and on with unmanned aircraft, killing bad guys and people standing next to bad guys. Yet, the global sheriff has also been donning his spurs and wearing his holsters and swaggering around town in response to vivid photos of Syrian atrocities that make the good citizens think he oughtta do something. He certainly did one thing: he created the unbelievable scenario where dictator/mafioso Vladamir Putin could ride into town looking like a reasonable peacemaker to calm down the trigger-happy saloon brawlers. Yes, we're in the Twilight Zone: the twilight of American credibility. Many folks tolerated American hubris when it was accompanied by American competance, but now it's just irritating to friends and amusing to enemies.

Between the warmongers itchin' for a fight and the whoremongers who stood down with comrades under embassy attack to stay on message through an election, would I be too extreme if I said good men should try to choose their battles wisely and finish what they start? Would I be an unpatriotic party-pooper if I suggested that America might need to speak more softly and resharpen their big stick and do a few things well?


  1. Syria's one of those damned if you do and damned if you don't situations.

    What America needs at the moment is a Teddy Roosevelt.

  2. Damn straight, William! However, until a "rough rider" or a "pale rider" with heart and balls shows up in Washington, there's no reason why regional powers like Germany or India or China or Mexico can't consider themselves deputized to improve their neighborhoods while Uncle Sam is financially broke, power drunk, and fallen off his horse. We're all God's children and I'd love to see the government of Russia or Saudi Arabia take some moral leadership. This world has always needed leaders of conviction and humility whereever they show up from.

  3. Good post, Lyn. And your comment above about looking for moral leadership from Russia or Saudi Arabia is entertaining as well.

  4. Thanks mucho, Rick. Legal disclaimer: while I like John Lennon's song Imagine and encourage readers to be possibility thinkers who can envision a world where Russia or Saudi Arabia takes a deep and sincere interest in human rights, I do not encourage readers to hold their breath until such becomes reality.