Sozadeeis a state of mind. It was discovered (or founded) many years ago on a hot August afternoon's sail out of Newport Beach. There was no wind (at least any stronger than the current) and a burning, glaring sun. The limp sails afforded no shade. All aboard knew the outboard was questionable. The ice on the beer was melting and discussion was skirting the issue of sunstroke. Suddenly, the word "Sozadee" was uttered, the breeze returned, and all was well.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Darfur, Burma, and now Tibet?
It's so refreshing and compelling to see our Conservatives and Liberals demonstrating together.
But this is another case of our scorched pot calling the Chinese wok, 'burned'.
I have the same problem about the protests over Tibet, as I have had over China's complicity in Darfur and Myanmar. Actually, push comes to shove, it's arguable that our own USA had more complicity in snatching renewed chaos in Somalia from the jaws of tranquility in 2006. But that's another story.
For China, Tibet is a little more egregious, because China has forcibly colonized, absorbed and repressed Tibet.
And, for the record, I care not a whit for the Olympics. As a sports fan I have always realized that the biggest game which trumps all others is politics. It is the game in which we are all participants, as well as stakeholders and participants. Especially world politics. I was an enthusiastic supporter of Carter when he decided on the boycott of the Russian Olympics of 1980 in the advent of Soviet aggression in Afghanistan. The Olympics 'Movement' or 'Spirit' or whatever it is, is an ennobling ideal. But it is also a tarnished one. And the Chinese are tarnished hosts. But, my fellow Americans, look in the freaking mirror.
So, excuse me if I, as an American nationalist, feel myself to be a little morally disarmed. My once-great American nation used to see itself as a shining city on the hill. Yet in this young century, under Bush, my USA has become the world's greatest source of state-sponsored terror. The unprovoked, unnecessary invasion and this current endless and unproductive waroccupation of Iraq have resulted in devastation that makes Tibet pale into insignificance. Excuse me, if I don't get excited or aroused over Tibet.
I'm aware that both liberals and conservatives are ecstatic over their rare agreement over this outrage de jour. What excites me more, I think, is their newfound readiness to risk arrest by spitting in the eye of local police authorities. For this generation, this is a novel willingness of throwing oneself into nonviolent, robust nonviolent, or even violent civil disobedience. Would that it would spill over into other concerns which are immediately and concretely addressable by our politics!
Some of this is attributable to the MSM. The media is bored with Iraq. The media craves novelty. The media always responds to any fresh object of outrage. And Americans also want to be trendy with the rest of the world's outrage. Oh, how much would I like to merge with the rest of the world as it demonstrates against a new world enemy # 1. But I have met the enemy. The enemy is us.
Ambassador Marc Ginsberg has some questions for Gen. Petreaus and Amb. Crocker.
And he has an agenda for Congressional Democrats for this week's hearings.
Ambassador Ginsberg spent his formative years in the Middle East, particularly in Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon from 1960-1968. He began his foreign policy career as a foreign affairs advisor during his freshman year in college to Senator Edward M. Kennedy (1971-1977). He was appointed by Secretary of State Vance as his White House Liaison in 1977, and then served as Deputy Senior Advisor to President Carter for Middle East Policy on his White House staff from 1979-1981. In 1994, he was appointed by President Clinton as U.S. Ambassador to Morocco, making him the first American of Jewish heritage to be appointed to an Arab nation.
Let's get to the Ambassador's agenda first. The mission he has posted have to do with establishing some of these talking points:
Debunk the fiction that Bush's military surge has achieved sustainable military or political objectives.
Undermine Sen. McCain's argument that staying the course is a patriotic duty.
Demonstrate to the American people that the recent Iraqi government defeat at the hands of the Mahdi Army was indeed the "defining moment" that Bush claimed it was.
Ambassador Ginsberg offers ten focusing questions to fill the truth cavities in our current American mythology about Iraquagmire. Here are some of them:
Prime Minister Maliki launched an offensive to defeat the Mahdi Army in Basra. He was forced, despite U.S. logistical and air support, to sue for a ceasefire. President Bush declared during the fighting that this was a "defining moment" for Iraq. Why shouldn't the American people view this "defining moment" as exactly what it was: a defeat for us, the Iraqi government and a victory for radical Shiite militias?
If the U.S. military cannot adequately defend the Green Zone from missile attack from Shiite militias, why should the American people believe that the surge has achieved tangible, and not momentary lulls in violence?
General Petraeus, you are proposing that the current level of military forces remain static longer than planned. Isn't this proof that the amount of troops in Iraq will never be enough to adequately reduce the level of violence against U.S. and Iraqi forces?
Define "victory" within the context of the current Iraqi political and military environment? Why should this not be a recipe for disaster given the inability of the Iraqi military to meet its training goals and objectives?
Incubating Iraqi political reconciliation was supposed to be one of the byproducts of the surge. Yet, the Iraqi government is as dysfunctional and disunited as ever -- and our forces are now caught not just between Sunni and Shiite, but between one radical Shiite faction and another. If we are not fighting principally Al Qaeda, but one Shiite faction against another, isn't this just "mission creep" with no end in sight?
How much will this war cost the American taxpayer in 2008? ...
The Iraqi government continues to embrace anti U.S. policies and U.S. adversaries. Isn't it an insult to those killed and injured in Iraq that Prime Minister Maliki rolls out a red carpet to Iranian President Ahmadenijad whose Revolutionary Guards, by your own account, is sending arms and funds into Iraq to kill and injure U.S. troops?
Admiral Fallon, the former head of Central Command (CENTCOM) recently ... was forced to resign. Please explain what was Admiral Fallon's assessment of your recommendations with respect to troop levels and the overall goals and objectives that the strategy was designed to achieve in Iraq?
If Al Qaeda's threat has been substantially reduced, why shouldn't we more expeditiously draw down our forces in Iraq to facilitate a transfer of American forces to Afghanistan where the real struggle against Al Qaeda must be waged?
But the major talking point remains. We are not at war in Iraq. If we were, Iraq would be front-page, or front-of-the-hour news 24-7. My fellow Americans would be sucking our multi-media's spigots for each little morsel of news we could get. But the truth is, instead of warfare for glorious victory, our insanely brave, professional and competent troops have been assigned to a grinding, toiling, pointless, hopeless and endless task of policing a hostile nation. Forcibly occupying a hostile nation is the most inglorious of all missions to which troops can be assigned.
Unlike wars, occupations are never won or lost. Occupations are concluded when their cost effectiveness becomes negative. We have been beyond that point for some time, now. We just don't have leadership who can grasp that unescapable truth.