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Two famous proverbs haunted me all last week:

 “Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.” – Edmund Burke, Irish Statesman (1729-1797)

 “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over, and expecting a different result each time.” – Author Rita Mae Brown (1983) as quoted by the AA/NA sobriety guides

The airwaves were all atwitter (literally) last week over President Obama reiterating his “Sherman-esque” pledge of “no boots on the ground” in Iraq [or Syria] to fight ISIL despite Gen. Dempsy’s statement before Congress that he could conceivably recommend sending ground troops into Iraq should the situation change. Somehow, having a general possibly suggest a differing course of action to the president was a scandal among the Beltway Press, apparently a sign of rebellion between the CiC and his Generals. (I was quite surprised yesterday when uber-Conservative George Will pointed out on Fox “news” Sunday that generals disagreeing with their Commander-in-Chief was hardly new, citing the fierce/frequent disagreements between Truman & MacArthur. I also noted during Ken Burns’ amazing documentary “The Roosevelt’s” last week, a clip of FDR in 1940 pledging that “every effort” would be made to keep America “neutral” and not get involved in the war in Europe:
 


 

A year later when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, FDR only asked Congress to declare war on Japan, and wisely waited for Japan’s allies, Germany & Italy, to declare war on US before we agreed to enter the war in Europe.

Things change.

Or do they? By 2003, the Bush Administration had already spent six months trying to convince the American people how grave the threat was from Saddam Hussein and how much safer the world would be with him gone. Look at the Middle East today. Feeling any safer? Removing Saddam left a massive power vacuum that the Extremists were only too happy to fill. It took years for Iraq to form a new government, and in the meantime, all hell broke lose. Thousands of American troops were killed… tens of thousands more permanently disabled. It seemed like once a month there was another story in the news of local fighters armed & trained by us ended up turning against us. And now the same people urging us to arm the rebels… the “moderate” rebels… not the ones you can easily spot with polka-dotted skin & bright green hair… that are seeking to overthrow Syria’s president Assad, are the exact same people that told us how much we needed to overthrow Saddam to make the Middle-East a safer place. Have we learned nothing?

Like FDR, President Obama has promised a “war-weary” nation that we will not get drawn into a ground fight with ISIL. But unlike FDR, Obama’s opposition WANTS another war. Like Lindsey Graham last week, these people (Rightwingers) are terrified, frightened little children that want a macho cod-piece wearing “Commander Guy” to save them from a bunch of punks on the other side of the planet trying to goad us (pardon me for saying “goat” us last week) into a ground war. ISIS wants a ground war because 1) they can’t counter an air war (despite their ballyhooed lucky shootdown of a Syrian fighter jet last week) and 2) picking a fight with the biggest/baddest military on the planet inflates their persona/importance. And the GOP is only too happy to accommodate them.

So here is the situation: There’s a fighting force smaller than the military of Lithuania (roughly 30,000 troops), which WANTS American ground troops to fight to make them look important; “Moderate” Sunni rebel forces that promise… pinky-swear… that if we give them guns & money they absolutely will only use them to fight “non-moderate” ISIS/ISIL rebels and not give/sell off those weapons or switch sides; a belief that this tiny fighting force of “pharmacists & doctors” can somehow takedown both the Assad regime AND ISIS with our help; a lingering question of who fills the power vacuum if they succeed; and a panic-stricken, terrified and reactionary GOP with the self-awareness of a gnat demanding we repeat our past mistakes and give ISIS/ISIL exactly what they want. Coming to a theater near you this Thanksgiving starring Pauly Shore as John McCain.

And despite his reassurances, there is still a chance President Obama may listen to them.

On “Meet the Press” yesterday, Republican Senator Ron Johnson told Chuck Todd that “we need only look back at history” to learn from our mistakes. But for Johnson, “history” only goes back three years to 2011 and the withdrawal of troops from Iraq… not 2003 and the mistake of sending them in in the first place.

I still can’t believe anyone is listening to these people… the same people that are labeling President Obama (quite successfully I may add) a “failure”, citing security concerns and a weak economy, as reasons to put them back in charge this November. You, dear reader, remember THEY created the security disaster that is now Iraq/ISIL. THEY destroyed the economy and haven’t lifted a finger to fix it, obstructing the president at every turn. And despite this, we’ve seen record job growth, a record stock market and NO attacks on the homeland. They’ve labeled this “a disaster” (for THEM, yes) and are (so far, successfully) convincing millions of Americans that the solution is to put them back in charge.

What was it the president said… “Don’t do stupid stuff”?
 


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