I am beginning to think that no one in Washington DC has ever read any history. The last one, that I know about that had, was John F. Kennedy. He created some discussion when he referred to the Mexican-American War as an imperialistic war. Lots of people, mostly politicians, who had never bothered to look at the facts about that war, were upset. Later, he too seemed to forget any lessons to be learned from history.
His lapse was Vietnam. The French gave us a very clear example of what would happen in Vietnam. Ðiên Biên Phú was in the newsreels in 1954, and the subsequent end of French rule in Vietnam later made the newspapers as well as the history books. I read both. I think John. F. Kennedy did too, but apparently he forgot. The military brass either didn’t read about it or they forgot because by 1964 we were in full fledged war – never declared. Seems like, Congress discussed the hell out of it, but never really did anything about it. The country was divided. We lost, of course.
We came out of the war scarred. The military was in really bad shape by 1975.We had lots of draft dodgers in Canada, lots of chemical abuse in and out of the military. Most of us felt a sense of disgrace at having lost a war. (I don’t know if that’s really true – I did, and most people I talked to in the years after did.) The country in general faced a tough times with the long lines caused by OPEC demanding to get paid better. Economically, times were tough.
Eventually the economy got better. I think the military got better – I wasn’t in it, so this is an outside opinion. Colin Powell had learned lessons in Vietnam and rose to the top. Dessert Storm, when we and our allies kicked Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait was the proof of how much better. But, again we made a big mistake. We didn’t finish the job. Opinion, theories, excuses, and explanations about why we didn’t are plentiful. I think we could have, should have. It was dangerous to leave. Having left, we should have stayed away. We didn’t.
We should not have returned. The time for that was past. When we went back it was harder and more expensive. We won but also got embroiled in Afghanistan. Not only didn’t we learn from the French, we didn’t learn from the Russians. I think they were there for ten years. Russian supply lines were a lot shorter and didn’t have in ocean in the way. They lost. What are we going to get out of Afghanistan even if we leave on speaking terms with whoever is running the country? They are not going be thankful. And, it is costing a lot of American lives to leave. Money too, I think. Nothing has changed fundamentally. I have read that the poppy trade is coming back as the big cash crop in Afghanistan. The Taliban is coming back.
The big loser in this latest ignoring lessons of history is the budget. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars have cost us a bundle. It is hard to balance a budget if you are paying billions to finance wars. But, not to worry. Congress isn’t even trying to come up with a budget. The result of doing nothing is the present sequester where funds are automatically cut from government operations.
You would think that by not working on the budget, congress would have lots of time to work on other problems that plague our country. Not yet. In 2012, congress passed the fewest laws since records began to be kept. They are on track to do even worse this year.
But they are busy talking. Talking about things like what to do in Syria. Senator John McCain even visited there. That worries me. We can’t afford another war. Even a limited one. And, when did a war ever remain limited?
The personnel in military have been running multiple deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. That is hard on the troops. Suicide rates are way up. PTSD care for returning vets is out of sight. Family problems within the military are at very high levels. All those National Guard called up with their units have financial problems because they earn a lot less in the near East than they do at home in the US. How do you raise kids with mothers or fathers disappearing for months, multiple times? How do you maintain a marriage with that happening? Then there is the death toll. That is really hard for the families, not to mention the person doing the dying.
Meanwhile, the Tea Party (an unorganized rabble of especially poor historians) wants to shut the government down because they are pissed about The Affordable Healthcare Act. Not since slave owners, poor white Southerners and other malcontents fired on Fort Sumter because the country as a whole elected Abe Lincoln president, has such a “do it my way or else” attitude been seen in American politics.
Oh, not the same?
The idiots that started the civil war did so because they were afraid that Lincoln would abolish slavery. Lincoln hadn’t even taken office yet. Still, they fired on federal troops because they were afraid he might. Never mind that the people they fired on were just doing their job. Never mind that slavery was only defensible from an economic standpoint (i.e. the slave owners had paid good money for the slaves). Otherwise it was against every decent human standard as well as the idea that every man had the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And, it was just plain evil. That innocent, God fearing people whose only sin was that they had elected a president in accordance with the constitution, would die never occurred to them. The reason that abolishing slavery was so wrong to them was “states rights”. They said: the federal government had no right to interfere with the states right to do anything even if it was evil. Now mind you, no interference had taken place, but they were afraid it might. What to do? Take their ball and go home. No matter what the cost.
The war mongers never gave Lincoln a chance.
The Tea party is determined to not give The Affordable HealthCare Act (I am NOT going to call it Obama care) a chance. Will it work? I don’t know. They don’t either, but by damn they don’t want even the chance to find out. What we have now isn’t working too well. Maybe, they haven’t noticed.
I have some questions for everyone that is so dead set against it.
Do you have poor people in your state that cannot pay for medical care?
Is anyone that got laid off last year without insurance?
Have anyone that is now homeless because they paid for cancer treatment?
Arizona does. Our Governor, Jan Brewer, knows Arizona can answer yes to all of those questions. Taking a lot of flack, she got Arizona to opt in. It was the right thing to do. We will find out...unless the Tea Party and fellow travelers start another civil war.
Here is one last lesson from the past.
“If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”
Jesus of Nazareth, ca 30 CE as recorded in Mark 3:25 sometime around 55 to 60 CE.
That statement has been proven over and over ever since it was penned.