Sunday, September 28, 2008

Post No. 48: A Missed Opportunity

© 2008, The Institute for Applied Common Sense

Candidate McCain has frequently noted that many of his colleagues headed to Washington to change Washington, and that Washington actually changed them. Unfortunately, the former naval fighter pilot may be the best example of that phenomenon.

The non-eventful first debate between the presidential candidates last Friday supports that notion.

There’s something “unique” about being an active participant in war. That unity of experience and emotion draws warriors together, no matter the generation. (And if you note, they rarely talk about it, until some documentary film maker shoves a microphone in their faces, or their remaining years are few in number.)

After a major earthquake in California in 1994, a WWII veteran father in North Carolina called his mid-40s son in an effort to ensure that he was not too rattled. Although he had never been in an earthquake, the father recounted his unsettling feeling when one of Hitler’s V bombs exploded next to him. That 87 year old veteran, despite a lifetime of voting the straight Democratic ticket, has hinted that he plans to vote for a fellow warrior, although of a different war.

In a recent article, we noted that any modern solder will tell you that in selecting a combat leader, they would not give a rat’s ___ whether he was white, black, Harvard or Academy educated, Democrat, Republican, old, young, eastern, northern, Christian, Muslim, male, female, pro-choice, pro-life, had “family values,” whatever that is, or ate caribou. (They would all want him to be a gun toter.)

They would tell you that they would want someone who could best manage to save their rear ends by their ability to manage the team and the dangers in front of them, right then and there.

They would also all tell you that the preceding 17 factors do not really bear on that elusive leadership quality. We must admit that there has to be something beyond all of that dissection.

On Friday night past, there was a one time, never to come again, opportunity for candidates McCain and Obama to walk across the stage...look each other in the eye...shake hands...and promise the American public that our economic engine would not self-destruct... regardless of who gets elected. With McCain having the background in triage and team building, and the benefit of experience, at a minimum, he should have suggested the maneuver.

They didn't do it.

Apparently, it is also considered political suicide to ask the American people to knowingly support the cost of current American foreign policy with the financial sacrifices necessary to support same.Or to admit that the $10 billion/month current cost of our Iraqi involvement, and our former bad planning, means there is no money for either candidate to fulfill any of their campaign promises.We’re now in a “war,” but not the type of war about which our current President often speaks. Question any Middle East expert who has studied Osama bid Laden’s game plan for the past 20 years, and they will tell you that despite the rhetoric about killing the Great Satan, the goal is not to kill our people...they want to convert them...

Twice they attacked the World Trade Center. Twice. If this is not about symbols and philosophy…. This is a war about values executed through a war on our economy, and there are probably lots of smiles in the caves these days.

By sucking us into a couple of wars in the Middle East, the cost of which our current administration is unwilling to acknowledge...we are right back to Viet Nam...and all of the nonsense that follows. That someone thought that we could somehow transport resources over thousands of miles to accomplish something that others could not in their own backyards should cause us to pause.

We suspect that the cost of our “enemy's” per person kill rate is running something less than $5,000/per funeral... and the cost of our kill rate is running something like $500,000/per... not including friendly funerals.

Maybe more.

A snarky guy might even suggest that our economic enemies are least on the only short term over riding measure we consider important.

When you think that you’re fighting charging water buffalos, and you’re really standing knee deep in a snake pit, things get a little distorted. do we fix this?

Radically change the paradigm. Back in June, we posted an article entitled, “How Radical Action Could be a Good Thing Right Now.” ( In that article, we suggested that each candidate name the other as his vice-presidential choice. Quite frankly, we’re not sure whether under the current political party rules, candidates Biden and Palin could be replaced by the names of McCain and Obama.

But who’s following rules these days any way? And these rules do not even have the force of law, in that they were not promulgated by legislative or administrative governmental bodies. Perhaps the two presidential candidates should take a lesson from the guys on Wall Street and do whatever they think is in their best interests.

Since we have faith in the basic, underlying motivations of these two mavericks, we are reasonably certain that they would do what was in the best interests of this nation. And that’s more than what the Wall Street guys did for us.

Once again, it’s the party handlers and consultants about whom we’re concerned.

© 2008, The Institute for Applied Common Sense

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