SOMEONE ELSE’S KIDS WILL DO
I am watching with extreme dismay the latest US response to international events that Obama doesn’t like and the unabated chorus of inevitable cheers that our free press offers up in response. Nasty terrorists seem to have risen again to number one on the “unacceptable” list. Other recent top unaceptables seem to have moved down the list. What is most striking is the noise that surrounds each unacceptable as they top the list and then after that noise dies down, how quickly the sands (so to speak) seem to shift. Last week’s number one unacceptable becomes this week’s ally. Remember our new friends the Iranians when they were number one on the unacceptable list or how about General Sisi, Egypt’s Bashar al-Assad wannabe? The list is long and the irony is dripping.
First, a few words about how you get to be “unacceptable” - anything instantly becomes “unacceptable” if the President of the United States says it is. If you Google Obama and “unacceptable” and knock out the large number of results that declare Obama himself unacceptable, you will begin to get a feel for the vast number of actions of others that Obama has found “unacceptable” – Russian intervention in Ukraine, nuclear weapons anywhere but in US and Israeli hands, healthcare website problems, bloodshed in Libya, and intelligence failures too numerous to list. The second leading path to unacceptability is being on the ever-growing Republican list of unacceptables. This list is so long and so reactive that recently even domestic violence has made it onto their list. [It bears noting, however, that number one on the Republican list is always Obama – nasty terrorists behead a couple of Americans, the Republicans go nuts and blame it on Obama.]
Now for what should be the hard part – how do you get off the list or, at the least, begin to move down the list? The easiest path is to agree, whether sincerely or not, to do something that the US Government wants you to do or says you should do. Last week’s pariah becomes this week’s new found friend through the simple expedient of agreeing to whatever the US says it should do. The key here is that you don’t have to actually do anything, all you have to do is say you will and off the list you go. CNN and Bob Schieffer move on to the new number one unacceptable, a sympathetic (or pathetic, take your pick) Congress restores aid or removes sanctions, and a grateful nation breathes a collective sigh of relief.
NOTE: As an illustration, it seems like only yesterday that Vladimir Putin was unacceptable number one, had the world at cataclysm’s doorstep, was singularly responsible for European mayhem, and for good measure brought down a passenger plane. Today, Putin and his Russian hordes have joined the fight against nasty terrorists, have only partitioned Ukraine (instead of invading), and CNN has pulled its correspondents from Ukraine and moved all of them to somewhere near some part of the Syrian border for the next installment of number one unacceptable. Meanwhile, Putin is on his way to rehabilitation and an inevitable invitation to the White House.
With all of this unacceptability running around, I have decided to get in on the act. Today’s number one for me is the number of white, upper-middle-class and rich politicians, news readers, experts on war and peace, and just plain privileged white folks who are willing to send the US to war again, as long as their kids don’t ever have to put their precious little bodies in harm’s way. As the father of an 18 year old boy, I am all in on not sending my kid to war. The difference between me and them is that I don’t want to send black kids, Latino kids, or poor kids to war either. Just once, let’s take a poll of our Congressman and see how many of them would send their kids to fight anybody today in Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan. For the ones who say “yes,” let’s check and see how many of their kids have actually seen combat duty in any of those garden spots.
Next on my unacceptable list, even ahead of the NRA, is Congress itself. The current salary (before generous benefits) of each member of the Senate and House is $174,000/year. As best I can tell, most of that group is dedicated to only one thing – ensuring that he/she gets paid again next year. As hard as it is to believe and as little as this crowd has accomplished, virtually all that are up for re-election will succeed at the only thing they seem to care about - this, after successfully avoiding any voting record on continuing the US death and destruction machine around the world, whether their kids are a part of it or not. In this context, it is worth remembering that it was the military draft more than anything else that finally ended the Vietnam War when the war machine began eating alive the children of the privileged.
So, now as we wander the killing fields again in search of victory over some over-hyped enemy, ask those you know with college kids or near college kids if they would send their kids to those killing fields for today’s “objectives.” When they say they wouldn’t, ask them why they are so ready to send the gardener’s kids, and the barber’s kids, and the cop’s kids…