Monday, June 07, 2010

Disconnected Despotism

There are two special days in the past weeks that the current Administration completely ignored. It seems that far too many Americans, awash is apathy, ignored them as well. The first is Memorial Day and the second is the anniversary of D-Day, June 6.

Barack Obama is the first President to not attend the service at Arlington National Cemetery. He decided vacationing in Chicago took precedence over both honoring the dead and leading the living in crises around the world. The lack of any attention to D-Day is also inexcusable. These two days transcend policy debates. Fallen soldiers deserve our respect.

This callous disregard for tradition and continued despotic leadership do not bode well for our future. Europe still honors the dead of WWI and a visit to Ypres and the Somme battlefield unveils a respect for history sorely needed by those in the White House. We are being led by people who came of age in the narcissistic 1970s and 1980s, with revisionist history, hatred of tradition and media-driven image-making machines. We now have people in both parties whose goal in life is power and privilege itself, rather than real service to the nation and the world.

Barack Obama misstated the facts of WWII when he commented that his grandfather helped liberate Auschwitz (the Russians were the liberators in 1945). This was later explained as a misunderstanding - Obama meant that his grandfather served with a larger Allied force that liberated camps. The inability to get basic facts straight, the continued refusal to release any personal documents (Where are you Woodward and Bernstein? Where is Daniel Ellsberg?) and the arrogant dismissal of respect for our soldiers is cause for deep concern.

By the way, I want the USA out of Afghanistan and Iraq as soon as possible and I think Europe can defend herself well. We should have rapid-deployment forces ready to combat terrorism and work only with nations who want us present. I am not a "hawk" and I am not blindly supportive of all things military. With efficiency standards in place, we can cut military spending (but only when cutting all other waste as well.) while still defending our freedom. Sometimes, like the war in Vietnam, our soldiers are placed in horrible strategic and tactical situations. Sometimes a few soldiers lose it and we must prosecute them. All this said, our men and women in uniform - past and present - deserve better leadership. It is not hard to take trips to Arlington and Normandy to convey gratitude.

A final note: Farewell, Helen Thomas - we will NOT miss you. There is no place for your eliminationist sentiments. I only hope your repentance is real and that you will build peace instead of inciting hatred.

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