Thursday, January 31, 2013

Past all Dishonor

I think I may have used this title for a blog before, but as it is so descriptive of some human behavior I believe it is still useful. Unhappily, I think it applies to the behavior of one of our best known Senators who was once a war hero but has in recent years dishonored himself several times over. I am speaking of Senator John McCain of Arizona. I must say I thought his questioning of Chuck Hegel today was disgraceful. He and Hegel were friends, McCain had previously said he thought Hegel would be a great Secretary of Defense, and today he turned on him like a jackal. His treatment of his former friend and colleague was mean, unnecessary, petty and spiteful. I think it was mainly personal as well as political. I guess it had to do with McCain’s obsession with being right about Iraq when in fact he was completely wrong and does not want to admit it. And it also, I think, was a continuation of his constant revengeful attacks on President Obama for having defeated him in an election. When you demand a yes or no answer to a complicated question like “was the surge a success, yes or no,” you know the questioner is being completely unreasonable. Such a question could only be posed by someone simple minded enough to believe there are actually yes or no answers to everything. If you asked McCain, for example, if the Iraq war was really necessary he would no doubt answer “yes.” If you asked him if the sacrifice of 500,000 Iraq children was worth the sanctions on that country he would also probably, without doubt answer the same. So, Senator McCain, has our multi-billion dollar “war on drugs” been a success, yes or no? Is the Republican party engaged in a “war on women,” yes or no. Was “Custer’s last stand” necessary, yes or no?  Did we lose the war in Vietnam, yes or no?  Was the Civil War just about slavery, yes or no? Remember we are talking about a man who was willing to risk the possible fate of our nation to a virtually unknown basically mindless woman whose claim to foreign policy experience was that she could see Russia from her front porch and read all the newspapers and magazines put  in front of her, none of which she could name. Also, as I recall, she thought Africa was a country. McCain was at one time a war hero, also a sometimes reasonable “maverick.” How the mighty have fallen. He is a perfect example of why we should have a mandatory retirement age.
Of course it is only to be expected that where McCain goes his wimpy little Sancho Panza, Lindsey Graham, will follow. Graham’s concern, as near as I could tell, is to make certain that the world’s number one war criminal will be protected at all costs. Indeed, most of the criticism of Hegel has to do with statements he made in the past indicating that Israel might actually have undue influence over our Congresspersons. Heaven forbid that anyone could say anything in any way, even a teensy bit critical of Israel, a racist, colonial, criminal, murderous enterprise that has violated virtually every UN and international standard ever imposed, and that is knowingly engaged in a form of slow genocide of Palestinians.
As near as I can tell the attacks on Hegel are of two kinds, personal and political. Apparently McCain has some personal grudge, maybe a few others do as well, but the political part of it is more of an attack on President Obama than Hegel. It is also obvious for some of the critics the hearing is mainly being used as a place to get some air time and perhaps a “name.” Much of the questioning and posturing had nothing much to do with being Secretary of Defense, merely the usual Congressional obfuscation.
It seems there are at least some who believe that housewives should be armed with assault rifles to protect themselves from potential assaults by four or five (brown or black?) intruders intent on rape and pillage. Why stop there? I think they should also have anti-aircraft guns for the potential flying pigs. Really, are there no even imaginary limits too ridiculous or far-fetched for the NRA and the gun manufacturers?


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