Thank God for football because if I’m going to watch anything violent on TV I’d rather it be sports than threats to invade Iran. It was frightening to watch the morning shows today. All the supposed leading candidates are talking about another military action. What happened to honest diplomacy as opposed to more diplomatic threats?
Yesterday, at breakfast Kat and Bill were talking about what happened on the Hill this week and the most startling thing they said was that the main topic of conversation was the reinstatement of the draft. Of course there has to be a draft if we have another unwarranted confrontation—there are no more people to send to anyplace else right now. The Pentagon has used up all the troops including the National guard. Whoever would have thought that the National Guard would have to go to international territory to do a part time job. I am certain that most of those people, especially the women and older people never expected to be leaving their families for years to fulfill their service requirements.
It seems that the Republican candidates are competing for who can be the most aggressive while the Democratic candidates are responding to the republic uproar. What is clearing lacking in the Republican rhetoric is any mention of domestic issues, other than abortion and gay marriage – now there are two very important issues. I think I liked it better when they were the means by which Republicans changed the subject, but there is no changing the subject now—it’s just about Iran. What happened to Iraq? Did we declare another victory? And what happened to Afghanistan, are we back in charge? [Editor’s note: No we aren’t, the Bad Guys are.] These are questions for which I have no answers because I am so confused about the future.
When we were twenty one and the war in Viet Nam was raging, one of the reasons you saw the protests was because there was a draft. Every male over eighteen was eligible and not many of them wanted to give up college and fun to get dirty in a place they couldn’t even locate on the map. So what happens now? I assume if there is a draft our daughters will be included in the lottery. What should we advise them to do? Bill says that if we are all asked to sacrifice or be inconvenienced the war will end immediately. He also says that all the people who are working for military-like corporations like DynCorp or Blackwater should be forbidden by law to work in war zones. They should be made to go back in the military if they want to serve their country rather than serve themselves. He says these companies are killing the military and the Secret Service because – figure it out -- why should anyone work for pennies when they can make dollars doing the same task. It’s not a bad idea, but how do you make it work?
I hardly ever watch George Stephanopolis on Sunday, I prefer to watch Bill Geist on CBS. But I was on my treadmill watching all three networks this morning –you can do that at a club because there are 15 TV’s – and George had an “aspiring to be the most macho” John McCain on. I’ll tell you the truth, which I try to do and not be serious at the same time, I don’t know how George kept a straight face. John was so earnest that it was almost laughable. He kept saying things like, “When I’m President you won’t have to worry about nuclear weapons and Iran, I’ll take them out before they get a chance to develop anything that is a threat.” But the only real threat so far is the conversation the US government is having to antagonize Iran. Yes, I agree the Iranian President whose name is too hard to pronounce, is a lunatic but the Iranian people are not. Where is the people to people diplomacy when we need it – hidden somewhere in the bowels of the State Department – not important enough to take a leading role. And we see how well the Political Diplomatic people have done. I sleep peacefully at night knowing that there’s a Foreign Service Officer kissing up to his boss, and their boss and up the diplomatic chain all the way to the Vice President’s office. It is such a comfort. I’m not sure this is the “walk softly and carry a big stick” model, but we don’t use sticks anymore. I wonder if those are the same sticks that work with stones in the name calling game.
And the Democrats are not much better except they do take a moment to talk about health care and education. I had such hopes that there would be a candidate who was not afraid to say, “We made a mistake let’s cut our losses and come home from Iraq and then we can assess Iran or make threats or call them names” But even when they indicate that this is the way they feel, they are too intimidated by their opponents to support it in any real way. If you cut the funds, the Pentagon will have no choice but to find a diplomatic solution to ending the war. We declared victory before, let’s just do it again and give Iraq back to whatever Iraqi’s want it.
Back to the draft. If my daughter was called to serve I would suggest to her that she leave the country. Of course, I would suggest Italy and we would go with her. Since this generation of young people are so career directed and since so many of them are in college I don’t think they would go easily or quietly. It’s a terrible time to be a young person. But, as Bill said, maybe if all the Congressman had kids who had to serve [instead of the just 4 who do] , they would rethink sending them into a war which 74% of the American people are against.
I think I have to stop watching programs where pundits either say things or they ask political people to say things which on the surface are ridiculous and but in reality are terrifying. I guess I just need to watch something more upbeat like Law and Order Special Victims Unit. We’re just sayin...Iris