This is a free-form reply to Peter, one of TMR's new friends from Vienna, Austria. He runs the Gloaming Of The Mind blog, and we found each other through this amazing new blogging tool called Verve Earth. You should check both of them out - they're really cool:
Dude, you got me all wrong:
I'm no "anything goes" Bush supporter. My most easily identifiable disagreement would be on the subject of religion. But, that said, I will admit I respect that we're at war, and it's up to me as a citizen to not only be informed, but not to add to the burden. That means no cheap shots at my president and, when necessary, to cover his ass. That ain't hard, because I like the guy, but it ain't done blindly either.
Peter, I'm a vet, which adds a whole other dimension to this. For me, this conflict ain't 6 or 7 years old but 30 (I served in the Persian Gulf in '79) and I don't just see Bush as merely a wartime president, but as a transitional figure - in America's culture war - helping us shake off the last remnants of the dying Boomer's hippie daydream/nightmare.
Unlike most civilians, I don't view American foreign policy as no treaty on Universal Peace and Love, but (as a student of history like you) I know that anyone who thinks we should chart our young nation's course by whether or not another, more ancient, nation or nations agrees with us (using their own cold-eyed, and more experienced, FP on behalf of their own hard-won interests) has, definitely, been smoking too much pot and shouldn't even be in the game.
I am a product of these United States and black people didn't suffer all those years - so I could claim that - just for me to turn around and demoralize it in the name of making someplace else feel better about itself. They've got governments. Let 'em do like blacks did, here, and demand that they do better. Anyway, they already seem awful proud of their counties; my crime - inside and outside of these borders - is for doing the same. Why, I don't know.
Are Bush & Co. perfect? Hell no, but what government is? Have they made mistakes? Hell yea, but all the parachutists were dropped in the wrong places on D-Day, too, so what do we take from that? That war is hell - not another opportunity to whine - but the time to build up your resolve.
Is oil involved? Sure, but not in the obsessive way you allude to, any more than strudel and baguettes were important during WWII. That may sound unrealistic to the "sophisticated" European mind but, unlike Europe, my country is built on an idea - simply put: freedom - so excuse me if I don't buy the more cynical motives we're impugned with, now, after a lifetime of hearing our cousins across the Atlantic calling us "naive," "optimistic," and "idealistic." Some of us Americans know more about "projection" than we let on, and, once Europe truly understands we're not like them, they might also one day have a better grasp of why we left.
Did we have right to invade Iraq? Of course we did. We've been involved with that country for so long we were covered in it's sand before the first soldier landed. (And, BTW, both houses of Congress gave us approval.) And none of this means - for any reason - that we have to treat all countries equally, or snuff out all fires at the same time, or in the same way. This is chess not checkers - and on a global scale. (We may have invented Superman but get real.) And you don't give us any credit: with our arsenal, all of our enemies could be mincemeat, if we so desired. We're not barbarians.
I don't think you understand my country, my president, or my Party, Peter. And I don't say that to insult you: many Americans, of a certain stripe, don't either. They see set-backs as failure. They see any change of course as an abandonment of principles. They think, because a leader isn't eloquent, that means he's stupid - even as he trounces them. They're people who are too easily fascinated by empty rhetoric, blinking lights, and shiny things. They've lost all but 3 presidential elections on the last 40 years - and they're about to lose again -- badly. A smart guy like you would do well to find out why.
And by the way: John McCain is deserving - and, within the party, it's his turn. Plus, he's not only got more substance than your remarks allow, but he's a Republican because he believes in substance.
(Nobody cares about BJs. We care about the dignity of the office; lying, to co-workers and security, that a young intern is a crazy stalker who must be stopped; and to the rest of us, on national television, until semen stained dresses are produced with sordid tales of his cigars for public consumption by children. We care about extremely powerful people taking advantage of completely defenseless employees; Hillary leading cabals to discredit the women Bill abused, and a demented Alice in Wonderland attempt to make the nation ponder the meaning of "is," and on and on and on. See? You see a pithy thing like a BJ: we see the entirety of the disaster in collateral damage Bill Clinton's singular attraction to deviancy produced for the entire nation.) It's called maturity. And John McCain's got it.
Get your mind out of the gutter, Peter: you're better than that, I can tell. Abandon the bumper-sticker history lesson and enter the world of politics with a wide-angle lens. We are witnesses to the death of the Left's ideological framework, in America, in France, and in England. And, soon, the entire Western World.
I don't know about you but, as someone from a place that had to suffer with the pathologies such attitudes repeatedly engendered, I think it's a truly beautiful thing.
You stay up,