Monday, December 31, 2007

December 31, 2007 For the New Year

Consider This for December 31, 2007-For the New Year

The surge is not working and anyone who believes that it is working is wrong. The surge is only working in one respect. The insurgents have backed off from killing a lot of American Soldiers for the time being. They have finally figured out that as long as they kill American Soldiers we will keep soldiers in Iraq. If it appears that the surge is working then the American Soldiers will leave sooner. Simple math. Less killing. Americans leave sooner. End of story.

Tonight at midnight we get to start all over again with a brand new year that has yet to be screwed up. I am sure that there are plans to do that quickly before all of the citizens notice.

Maybe this year we can finally remove ourselves from Iraq before we kill another 4,000 American boys and girls. I don’t have a lot of hope for this one as there are a ton of misguided folks out there who view supporting the war and supporting President Bush as somehow being patriotic. Not true regardless of how far you want to stretch that one.

I am a veteran of the cold war and was in the Air Force during the Viet Nam Era. I consider myself a patriot and I ended over 47 years of public service this year. I also do not think that the United States won the cold war. The Soviet Union defeated itself with foolish economic policies. When the Berlin Wall came down it came down because the people on the other side could not afford to buy food.

I have been a student of history all of my life and still teach it at the college level. We all remember the famous quote from Spanish-American political philosopher George Santayana who famously said, "Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are destined to repeat them.” Truer words were ever spoken by anyone anywhere.

I was born a couple of months after the beginning of World War II. My father was drafted at age 35 with two small children at home. He was a Navy Corpsman and was detached with a Marine Corps outfit in the South Pacific. Maybe if the draft came back people would view any war more personally. You really feel connected when you or your children might go somewhere and get shot at to defend some vague mission.

As early as I can remember there were men in the taverns and coffee shops in Iowa talking about their adventures in Europe and the South Pacific defending us against Fascism. They were all heroes in my eyes and were certainly, “The Greatest Generation.”

As I grew older I worked with many men who had returned from fighting in Korea. It was not the same. Some of the good things about serving in the military had been lost in Korea and many of the veterans were unsure of why they were there fighting the North Koreans and Chinese Armies.

This past week a former soldier from World War I died. The report indicated that he was one of three remaining American World War I. If you ever get confused about the War in Iraq you should study the involvement of the United States in World War I. I am sure that the surviving soldiers are still confused about what happened. I read about it all the time and I am not sure either.

When you seriously consider all of the wars from World War I to Iraq you can see a pattern immerging. We have always either been in a war or preparing for a war or recovering from a war. It is not always easy to see why other than the fact that Generals need to win battles and the poor people of the world need to die in those battles.

I am way too old to ever go to war or into the military again but I cry daily for those who do. Let’s hope that this is the year when it all ends forever.

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