We are, as individuals, as a nation, as faith-based groups, bloggers, husbands, wives, entrepreneurs and wage-slaves . . . angry.
Fed up is what we are, with lying politicians of both parties. Pissed-off with each new day’s revelation of scandal, more than unhappy with misadventure, misallocation, misbehavior, misbelief, miscalculation, missed chances, mischief, and miscommunication. Had it up to here with misconception, misconduct, misconstruction, miscues, misdeeds, misdirection, misfeasance, misfortune, and misfits. Tired as hell with all these misgivings over misgovernment.
We’re not even sure how we feel about Miss America anymore. Maybe she’s an old concept.
This is supposed to be representative government, but we’ve been hijacked. That’s what anger is all about, that sense of having not paid attention until suddenly the house we’ve always lived in has been foreclosed and we’ve out in the street, sitting on the curb, mad as hell but powerless.
Three and a half years ago, six months before we marched into Baghdad, I wrote
It seems few in this nation share the administration blood-lust for war with Iraq but George Bush, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Condi Rice. The Five.
Not the Secretary of State, the Congress, the United Nations or our allies. Certainly not the generals who must win this one, if winning is even a relevant or obtainable goal. Not the public, at least not as represented in growing editorial opposition. Not even Henry Kissinger, that hawk-of-hawks, or the former Bush, Sr. presidential advisors.
The Five have not yet made their case. Despotism in Iraq is not a case. Despots abound in the Middle East. The possibility of Iraqi terrorist support is not a case, compared with the reality of terrorist support in Pakistan, Yemen, Egypt, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Nuclear possibility is not a case, considering nuclear reality in Pakistan. Allegations are not enough. Indeed, unless American society is prepared to become a pariah throughout the world, the Bush doctrine of preemptive war must not stand.
Now the generals, finally able to speak from retirement, have had enough. They honorably served a wrongheaded Secretary of Defense, blinking back tears of frustration as their military was destroyed ethically, wounded tactically and its honor brought to its knees through the malfeasance of The Five.
In the face of blistering flag-officer criticism, Bush has today reaffirmed his confidence in Donald Rumsfeld.
It would be one thing if these were gripes of the passed-over, quite a different matter if the critics weren’t so deeply credentialed. Rumsfeld dismisses them as a few among thousands of generals and he is right in that, but consider just what particular few these are.
- Army Maj. Gen. John Batiste, who commanded the 1st Infantry Division in Iraq in 2004-2005, offered a promotion to three-star rank to return to Iraq and be the No. 2 U.S. military officer there but he declined because he no longer wished to serve under Rumsfeld.
- Marine Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold, who held the key post of director of operations on the staff of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2000 to 2002.
- Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, who oversaw the training of Iraqi army troops in 2003-2004.
- Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, who was the chief of the U.S. Central Command, which oversees Iraq and the rest of the Middle East, in the late 1990s.
- Marine Lt. Gen. Wallace Gregson, who until last year commanded Marine forces in the Pacific Theater.
That’s fourteen stars worth of opposition to Rumsfeld, who flew Navy jets between the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Perhaps he’s waited all these years, fingers tapping various desktops, to finally get his way over superior officers. Of course, some would say they call them superior for a reason.
Is America really paying attention? Or does the Bush statement from Camp David seal the issue, send us back to the office after the Easter break without a murmur?
I don’t want George Bush’s or Don Rumsfeld’s blood, I want my country back. I want that hijacked vehicle called representative government pulled over to the curb, revolving lights and all, and made to account for itself. Not abiding by the laws of our country doesn’t mean they no longer exist.
Rolling back environmental concerns, engaging in pre-emptive war, failing to guard the economic viability of the nation and flat-out refusing to listen, The Five have brought us to this nationwide anger and distrust of our President because they could. In a dominant Republican Congress, they could and so they did.
Not paying attention to the details is what got us here. Architect Mies van der Rohe is famous for his claim that “God is in the details.”
Even the Religious Right is beginning to wake up to that.