Thursday, May 26, 2005



One thing I like about the blogverse is that you can keep linking to interesting thoughts from people whom you don't know.

Today's example comes from Glenn Hauman, whose thought-provoking blog subject was highlighted on Bob Greenberger's Notes From A Final Frontiersman.

Subject: May 19, 2005 was the same number of days from September 11, 2001 -- 1,346 -- as it took the entirety of the US involvement in World War II (December 7, 1941, "a day that will live in infamy," to August 24, 1945, V-J Day).

In less than four years, Franklin D. Roosevelt took a nation struggling to stay out of the war inflaming the globe and led it to victory against two enemies of enormous industrial capacity and great determination.

I hate to compare apples to apples, but George W. Bush has taken the United States and told it to just send money, go about your normal business (except for surrendering your Constitutional rights and kowtowing to the religious right), and, in one of the most cynical examples of political sleight-of-hand ever, set us off on an imperialistic mission in Iraq instead of tracking down and bringing to justice the SOB responsible for the September 11 attacks. The United States emerged from World War II as an acknowledged leader in the world, a nation respected despite its flaws. The United States of George W. Bush is disrespected and dismissed everywhere except for 10 Downing Street and the handful of troops from nations smaller than Manhattan.

You know, the news radio we listen to in the morning here switches to talk at 9 am, and before I could turn it off the other morning, the host asked the question, "Do you feel like you're at war?" He was expecting, and received, answers of "no." But I was thinking about that the rest of the day. It has been at least half a century since the US was at war and it really meant something to the nation as a whole. Even Vietnam, which war threw the nation into a tizzy with the draft and the evening news body counts, never struck me (in my youth) as a war that occupied Americans. There were no rubber drives, nor rationing, nor war bond sales as there had been in World War II. There was no declaration of war. (There hasn't been a real declaration of war since 1941.) Yes, the neighbor kid went, and served, and came home, filling us younger boys with unplesant stories of what war really is about, but by the time of Nixon and Ford, Vietnam had already been swept under the rug, and Nixon gave us something else to look at besides how poorly the American-trained troops in Vietnam were faring against Ho Chi Minh. Since then we've pummeled the crap out of a lot of real estate on the other side of the world, but never so much that we've made it a national mission. It's always been some president's little back-pocket war.

Half-measures always wind up being ineffective. I fear that, more than 1,346 days after September 11, that is the true legacy that George W. Bush will be leaving us.

1 comment:

Jim Chadwick said...

That timeline comparison between September 11 2001 and now, and December 7 1941 and the end of World War II is pretty unsettling. It makes it even more impressive that the formidable German and Japanese war machines were simultaneously taken down in what in hindsight was relatively quick fashion. Then again, in WWII we had very specific enemies and targets. The "War on Terrorism" is an open ended affair which could theoretically last forever, and isn't that just peachy if you are invested somehow in the military industrial complex? It's a never ending source of income at taxpayer expense! Maybe I am rusty on my history here, but I don't recall occupying allied armies being under seige in Germany or Japan by such a sustained and organized force as we are seeing in Iraq right now. At what point would "The War on Terror" end? Do we expect some guy named Muhammad to come out of a trench say 50 to 100 years from now and declare, "Okay, I'm the last one who hates America and is willing to kill infidels. I'm done. It's over."