American Elephants

An Important Word about the War… by The Elephant's Child
January 12, 2008, 9:15 pm
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Politics

In the vast flow of words and images, there is occasionally a paragraph or two that says something really important.  This excerpt from Michael Yon is such :

By 2007, the Iraqis were doing most of the fighting.  And…this is very important…they see our Army and Marines as serious allies, and in many cases as friends.  Please let the potential implications of that sink in.

We now have a large number of American and British officers who can pick up a phone from Washington or London and call an Iraqi officer that he knows well — an Iraqi he has fought along side of — and talk.  Same with untold numbers of Sheiks and government officials, most of whom do not deserve the caricatural disdain they get most often from pundits who have never set foot in Iraq.  British and American forces have a personal relationship with Iraqi leaders of many stripes.  The long-term intangible implications of the betrayal of that trust through the precipitous withdrawal of our troops could be enormous, because they would be the certain first casualties of renewed violence, and selling out the Iraqis who are making an honest-go would make the Bay of Pigs sellout seem inconsequential.  The United States and Great Britain would hang their heads in shame for a century.

Alternately, in an equation in which the outcome is a stable Iraq for which they (Iraqi Police and Army officials) are stewards, the potential benefits are equally enormous.  Because if Iraq were to settle down, and then a decade passes and we look back and even our most severe critics cannot deny that Iraq is a better place, a generation of Iraq’s most important leaders would have deep personal bonds with their counterparts in America and Great Britain.  This could actually happen.

All is lost! All is lost! by The Elephant's Child
January 12, 2008, 8:27 pm
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Politics

Are you worried about the economy?  Many Americans apparently believe that we are in a recession, contrary to any facts whatsoever.  I hear callers to talk shows insisting that the economy is in the tank and that we are in real trouble.  Certainly some elements of the media have been busily trying to talk the economy down in the interest of blaming something more on Bush. 

I suspect that too many people listen to radio commercials–endless mortgage broker ads, telling people to convert their ARM before it it too late. Then there are the debt counsellors who will be glad to take you in hand if you just owe enough money on your credit cards, or are deep in debt to the IRS.  Or the dealers who want you to buy gold now before it climbs more out of reach.  Media people speak breathlessly of the sub-prime mortgage market — which is a very small piece of the national mortgage market.  Add in a trip to the gas station, and who wouldn’t begin to feel nervous?

The political season brings out the demagogues who intend to manipulate your vote by playing on your emotions and prejudices. “Change”, they cry.  And the best bet is always to disparage the current occupants of the beltway and suggest that only they (the demagogue) can change everything for the better.  Before they make a sucker of you, you might insist on a few specifics.  What exactly do they plan to change?  Why do they believe that that will improve anything? And what evidence can they present that proves that they are capable of making such changes — specifically?

Before you let gloom and doom convince you that all is lost, consider from whom you are getting your information or if , indeed, you have any real  information — or only feelings inflicted by those with something to sell.  The economy has slowed a little, but there are a lot of folks out there with an intense interest in manipulating our feelings, and raiding our wallets.  It’s time for some clear thinking.

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