"But war, in a good cause, is not the greatest evil which a nation can suffer. War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice – a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice – is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other."

Saturday, February 09, 2008

I'm a big boy now . . .

. . . because Daddy finally let me have the keys to the car. This week I've signed for our $30 million leviathan not once, not twice, but three times, doing missions from externaling supplies to outlying FOBs to doing Aeroscout rehearsals with our new ground units to landing on a soccer field in the middle of a city with Iraqi police providing security around the zone. The weight of responsibility you bear as an aircraft commander is still in the back of your mind, because now your co-pilot, crew chiefs, and passengers are YOURS to protect; but it's also a huge relief to stop worrying about endless nights of studying and just go out and fly the plane. Plus, when you're the HAC, you get to choose the music the crew chiefs play on the iPods over the intercom. Command does have its privileges, after all.

I've still been following the presidential horse-race back home in between flying missions and saving lives, watching with a mixture of amusement (as Bill Clinton reminded the nation of just how obnoxious Bill Clinton is) and surprise (as candidates who seemed so strong dropped out, like Guiliani, or who were supposed to be the next Reagan simply vanished, like Thompson). For the Democrats, it's now Obama vs Clinton, though realistically that's always who it would've come down to. As for the Republicans, we now have a choice between the eternal maverick, John McCain, and someone who appears to be Bush Lite in Huckabee. McCain has the lead, which has led to much gnashing of teeth amongst talk-show hosts, authors, and a number of other prominent conservatives who detest McCain so much that they'd pick either of the Dems over him. That would be an extremely stupid thing to do, because while McCain has a large of number of policy positions that I disagree with, I think he still has enough conservative credentials to be an excellent candidate. A recent article in National Review highlighted several arguments in his favor:
  • he's consistently pro-life
  • he publicly defended Bush's two Supreme Court justices, voted for them, and has promised to nominate judges who will strictly interpret the Constitution rather than read their own agendas into it
  • he is a strong opponent of earmarks
  • he is very pro-military, supported the surge when no one else would, will not yank us out of Iraq willy-nilly, and has far more experience on defense matters than any other candidate running
  • he has an 82.3 rating from the American Conservative Union, compared to Hillary's 9 and Obama's 8
While his positions on things like campaign finance and immigration reform have generated much animosity among conservatives, they risk making the perfect the enemy of the very, very good. McCain will certainly have to court the hard-liners of the base, but those hard-liners must also show themselves willing to be courted. As for me, there is no one else in the race right now who I would trust more to be my commander-in-chief. I only hope that the Republicans don't self-destruct because they can't find the next Reagan or Lincoln to run this fall.

1 comment:

CSB said...

Hey, Cincy, does your political advocacy pass OPSEC regs?!!!! If you wish to remain neutral (har har) just refer your readers to Mom.
Glad to hear you got the keys to the big machine - watch those ice patches and slick pavements (I think the bumpers are probably more expensive than those on the Silverado...). How 'bout filling up my flash drives with some video of you taking up the bird?!!!!