A Straight Shot of Politics

A blog from a gentleman of the Liberal political persuasion dedicated to right reason, clear thinking, cogent argument, and the public good.

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Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States

I have returned from darkness and quiet. I used to style myself as "Joe Claus", Santa Claus’ younger brother because that is what I still look like. I wrote my heart out about liberal politics until June of 2006, when all that could be said had been said. I wrote until I could write no more and I wrote what I best liked to read when I was young and hopeful: the short familiar essays in Engish and American periodicals of 50 to 100 years ago. The archetype of them were those of G.K. Chesterton, written in newspapers and gathered into numerous small books. I am ready to write them again. I am ready to write about life as seen by the impoverished, by the mentally ill, by the thirty years and more of American Buddhist converts, and by the sharp eyed people [so few now in number] with the watcher's disease, the people who watch and watch and watch. I am all of these.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The First Snow

It came this morning. Quarter sized flakes drifting lazily in a swirling wind. It is a reminder of how little our passions or our opinions count in the part of the world we have not created, that some of us have merely fouled, and that all of us have exploited by proxy to create the little box in which we argue our opinions.

Last night Dick Cheney lambasted the critics of the President's headlong rush to conflict in Iraq. Another variation on the "unpatriotic" theme. Whatever. They must have got his heart condition patched up enough at "an undisclosed location" for him to put the makeup and the costume back on and let him say what the President really feels, but is too tongue-tied and too petulant to say elegantly.

Likely they have gone to that well once too often. It is a broken record. They will no longer intimidate reasonable criticism of this war with it. As they finally ceased to intimidate reasonable criticism of the pointless war in Southeast Asia. It is the same broken record I have been hearing from conservatives for virtually my entire life. It works at the start of a conflict with its all trumpets and "mission accomplished, Mr. President!". It usually doesn't work after the endless repeat of Operation Fat Chance which leaves the insurgency in the same place as where it started.

It usually doesn't work after the repeated revelations of torture, phosphorous munitions, and so on, not only strengthen the insurgency from the bad publicity, but begin to revolt anyone with eyes and moral sense, who is willing to use the one and measure with the other.

For those of you who are too young to remember it, the napalm bombs maiming children, the Agent Orange defoliation, and the summary and feckless pistol execution of combatants on the street, in front of news photographers, did as much to turn the American stomach over Vietnam as any reasoned argument or noisy domestic protest.

Smooth moves, Jackson.

If they don't "win" a war within a month or two, a war-drunken American government and its military will shoot themselves in the foot like this with depressing regularity.

It also doesn't work when this transparent political ploy takes place: The Secretary of State pays a sudden, surprise visit to Iraq, and the Iraqi government then makes a sudden, surprise announcement that the American and British troops might start to be withdrawn next year.

I suppose that the insugent bomb which went off quite near where Condoleeza was parked was merely a coincidence and not a sign that the insurgents had somehow discovered that Condoleeza was coming, even with the suddenness of her visit.

But the snow doesn't care. The snow merely falls.