Sunday, October 14, 2007

History Lessons

I find it fascinating that the old saw that states "the only thing we learn from history is that we don't learn" is alive and well and still true as ever it has been. I just finished reading the book I reference below, and it struck me quite forcibly that we need to fire everyone in Congress, etc. and start over again, because obviously the majority of them have no clue as to what they need to be doing, and what their role is under this system of government - and sadly that includes both sides of the aisle.

Some background: As you may recall, during the Viet Nam war there was the Tonkin Resolution based on a battle that may or may not have taken place in the Gulf of Tonkin. Two destroyers in the Gulf were supposedly fired upon and they returned fire to the tune of approximately 400 rounds of ammunition, depth charges, they even tried to "ram" their unseen attacker (it was dark out). Rather than wait to investigate this incident further as recommended by the Pentagon, Johnson et al started bombing North Viet Nam. The following paragraphs are quoted from the book entitled "Unsolved Mysteries of American History" by Paul Aron.

". . . In their [Johnson and McNamara] eagerness to use the incident to push through the congressional resolution, both ignored a good deal of evidence that the attack never took place, and both undeniably misled the public and the Congress when they described a complex and ambiguous incident as a clear, unprovoked attack [Edi-tori-al note: much like Congress and the country (even the world) were told that there certainly were WMD and that was really clear and unambiguous based on the intelligence presented]. Only days after the resolution had passed, Johnson admitted he knew more than he'd told. In a private comment to George Ball, his undersecretary of state, he said: 'Hell, those dumb, stupid sailors were just shooting at flying fish.'

"Some of the blame for what followed, however, must be shared by Congress. The Gulf of Tonkin resolution was only the latest in a series of congressional abdications of its constitutional power to declare war. Congress had stood by as Truman sent troops to Korea without any congressional authorization; it had given permission for Eisenhower to deploy U.S. forces 'as he deems it necessary' to protect Taiwan against a communist assault [Edi-tori-al note: at least Eisenhower was a military man who had a clue what that meant in a very real way]. Like Johnson, many Democrats in Congress were positioning themselves for the upcoming elections, and they feared Republicans would portray a vote against the resolution as unpatriotic or weak."

Sound familiar? BushCo has already pushed through the resolutions on Iraq, and has done it again in form with the resolution to declare the Iranian Republican Guard terrorists and thereby giving him "tacit" approval to attack them. Once again he has asked for and received a virtual blank check to do what he wants with respect to war, and Congress let him do it AGAIN!!!! Republicans are the only ones it seems who can claim patriotism - must be because they know how to put on a flag lapel pin without pricking their fingers and bleeding out - and they know quite well how to accuse anyone else of not being patriotic. What boggles my mind is that they can make it stick!!!!

What is wrong with the electorate in this country that they don't follow even Bush's mangling of the sentiment "fool me once, shame on ... shame on you . . . We can't get fooled again"? Obviously we can!!! That's how they pushed through the FISA renewal last summer - BushCo "convinced" everyone in Congress that there was potentially another attack imminent around the anniversary of 9/11 and without these broad sweeping wire tap procedures without oversight or judicial approval, they would probably miss the pieces they need to put the puzzle together. In other words, he played the fear card again, and our elected (or selected) officials just voted the way he wanted. They are trying to redo the authorization so when it sunsets during the new year they can do it right, but you KNOW BushCo is going to play the "intelligence - oh what we know and you don't" card to get what they want. Much like they claim to have briefed Congress on the torture memos, yet no one in Congress seems to remember anything about said briefing, or even the existence of the memos. Why are we willing to put up with this degree of naiveté on the part of our representatives (and that is being kind to them!!).

On another shame on us - how can we let the right get away with trying to destroy the family of a 12 year old boy, who advocated SCHIP and who correctly said in an address in response to Bush's Saturday address, that he wouldn't be here without the program. This child has been attacked from the right (originating it appears from an e-mail sent out by the Senate Minority leader's staff) to the degree that his family is receiving death threats; their address has been made public on the internet; untrue statements have been spouted by right wingnuts accusing him and his family of taking undeserved compensation from the government (both parents work, they have 4 kids, and earn a combined income of $45k, and neither employer offers health coverage), etc. And as a country this is being allowed!!! What do you think would have happened had a Republican child been attacked this way by the left??

Maybe Ed Schultz (Progressive talk radio) is right... maybe we all need to go buy ping pong balls and send them to our representatives and senators, and tell them if they can't grow a pair maybe they can pretend with these!

1 comment:

marybishop said...

Brava!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love this post!!!!