Friday, March 02, 2007

Role Models; Past, Present and Future

Lanny Davis, the mealy-mouthed apologist for former President Clinton during his times of troubles, whined in a recent radio interview, that while addressing a collegiate audience, he was nearly laughed off the stage when he asked the students how many wanted to be politicians when they grew up. He was aghast that they had such contempt for a profession for which he apparently has deep reverence. My take on the scene was that Davis was fortunate in escaping the underclassmen without a cream pie thrown in his face.

A major problem is that idealistic young people have a tough time respecting much other than getting by or getting rich. The old role models such as political leaders, responsible military commanders, the clergy, captains of industry, astronauts, film stars, rock stars, labor leaders and police officers have all suffered from the drum beat of hypocrisy, self indulgence, and even corruption. Lawyers, bankers, insurance salesmen and car dealers never had much respect, so there was no way their role in society has diminished. With 25 billion spent by Americans on illegal narcotics, the dope dealer and money launderer certainly has achieved new status in America. Also with it, Bling is now high fashion...

Politicians such as GW Bush and VEEP Cheney and their clique who cynically deceived the voters into a deadly, cataclysmic war, with the consent of a majority of our opportunistic representatives in congress, are examples of the scum that takes the luster off a political career. Widespread corruption and sex scandals by congress make the profession even more repugnant. As the Democrats' knees buckle on ending the war, the disgust with the highest, recently elected officials mounts and grows even deeper. For the latest smoke and mirrors performance, see Democrat Senator Levin's proposal to change the Iraq war authorization to one that calls for permanent presence of US troops in Iraq... Some change! Speaker of the House Pelosi, wounded by VEEP Cheney's attack on her as unpatriotic for trying to end the war, crawled into a ball and said she was going to tell the president on him. When she did, she could only talk to Bush's chief of staff. Pelosi, a Joan of Arc, she is not – she will not be burned at the stake over her principles or politics. Cheney by now has developed into a Doctor Strange Love and should be netted and sent to a padded cell before he inflicts more damage on the US with more or expanded wars. The VP should have been jolted into a lucid interval with the blast outside the gates of Bagram, Afghanistan, that killed over 20 people during his recent victory lap inside that NATO base.

Perhaps the steepest decline in prestige is in the US military leadership. Most recent evidence of military incompetence and failure to attend to duty is the scandal at Walter Reed Hospital where THE WASHINGTON POST reported the substandard conditions endured by seriously wounded soldiers during out-patient treatment. Once the story broke, the Army scrambled to correct the problems. Heads rolled. The Commander of the Hospital was relieved and the Army Surgeon General, his staff supervisor, also should be relieved for dereliction of duty. Already NCOs and company grade officers have been punished. What about more of the higher pay grades? Not another Abu Gahrib scapegoating of lower ranks and one inept reserve female general, Karpinski?

By the way, where is pass-the-buck General Sanchez sitting now? The Army leadership, in charge of the combat theater, has lost the ground war in Iraq through incompetence. Marines and soldiers have fought their hearts out, but executing flawed tactics and strategy is the decisive issue and that dead dog lies at the feet of the military leadership. The promotion of General Casey to Army Chief of Staff as a reward for failure is tarnish on the blade by the old army standards. Who wants to be part of that corrupt system? The Army lost in Vietnam and now is losing badly in Iraq. Gotta figure out why? Doubt whether a MacArthur, Patton, Marshall, Ridgeway or Max Taylor could be promoted pass colonel in today's corporate Army. These men were products of WWII. Who remembers the generals that came afterwards? Westmoreland was a loser. Dr. General Abezaid and Dr. General Petraeus are the best we have now? Suggest more career time in the field, in professional military service, rather than pursuing PHD degrees that make them as narrow and technocratic as their civilian counterparts. We need leaders in the Army, not professors – I would even prefer to send them to the Peace Corps for a tour of duty, at least there they would get a grasp on third world mentalities and pick up some obscure language, and certainly, would not be overwhelmed by corruption in later assignments as Petraeus was in his last tour in Iraq. If that is unacceptable, how about a years tour administering federal funds in the inner city? With that experience no more naivete when the officers go to war later in the Third World.

GW Bush has managed to mix church and state – something the US constitution signers tried to avoid. They understood that the religious sects were fleeing Europe to avoid persecution, but also understood that their views should not be part of government, otherwise you exchange the English Crown for an intolerant religious tyranny. That concept operated pretty well in America until Bush wanted to reward 25% of his Republican base, composed of members of the extreme religious right with influence in the US government. Mainly evangelical leaders were regulars at the White House and federal programs developed to enhance their influence. At the same time the Catholic church was having major problems with pederast priests – certainly not to be blamed on GW Bush, but it played into the whole picture of a divisive religious ferment in the US. The Catholic clergy and other Christian religious elements have now involved their churches in the promoting of illegal aliens, which is a GW Bush policy. Most American Jews, apart from their faith, are faced with the problem of priority of loyalties to Israel or the US. The Islamic people in the US have trouble accepting the concept IN GOD WE TRUST stamped into our coins and have serious difficulties assimilating. In any case, the religious elites in the US are now openly arranging political fund raisers instead of acting as men of God administering to their flocks – and that is a change in role that has taken place under the rule of Bush.

Captains of industry now have destroyed over three million manufacturing jobs in the US in the name of globalization which is a basic sellout to China, India and Mexico as cheap labor sources without safety and environmental restrictions; this is a short term gain for CEOs and stock holders and long term disaster for the US manufacturing base. Meanwhile the corporations, Bush and congress seek to expand the destruction of what remains through a flood of illegal immigration as manufacturing is moved overseas where it is easier to make profits. US trade unions stand by as the US labor force is destroyed. What happened to strikes? Is the fix in?

As far as finding a profession with integrity, that is a tough assignment as even our highly vetted astronauts go berserk and our doctors are bound by HMOs or suffocated by insurance corporations. Film stars or celebrities with few exceptions are banal. Rock and Rap stars are subhuman, and journalists are the second oldest profession. Law enforcement? Think about sleazy 9/11 Police Chief Bernard Kerik. But like it or not, that is the human condition – may as well be a pirate of the Caribbean with lots of fresh air, sunshine, adventure and loot. Sometimes you can even blow up things and you do not need a conscience; it is as good as the rest of most professions, and unfettered by bureaucracy... Colonel Robert E Bartos USA RET

*Photograph: Maid of Orleans in Red Tape


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Real leadership is missing in todays service. I am glad to be out (separated July 06). However, I feel bad for those guys, who cannot get out due to the "stop loss" etc....

I am working with some army guys now. One of the Army Sergents I work with after two - one year tours in Iraq and Afghanistan said they are both "a waste".

I think "a waste" would be a good decription.


Anonymous W.LindsayWheeler said...

America is the product of the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment thought to do away with God, enshrine "Freedom" and "re-create" the cosmos according to man-made laws.

Well, America is the political manifestation of this. It is a false construct, a plastic country. The FFoA rejected the Old Order and as it says on the back of the dollar bill, to establish a "Novus Ordo Secularum".

It has failed. Not only have our soldiers and Marines wasted their time in Afghanistan and Iraq, we have wasted our time serving this Novus Ordo Secularum.

Secularism is a type of Vacuum. Nature abhors a vacuum. Either you have God enshrined or you have Man enshrined, i.e. communism, capitalism, or fascism.

America is a failed state.


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