"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."

Monday, June 30, 2008

Riding in fighter planes...

...was not how I thought it worked. I sorta thought you had to pilot them, command them, get trained on things like systems and tactics and the like. But then, it seem Wesley Clark has always had difficulty understanding the air side of things. Next he'll say that JFK should never have been president because he got his torpedo boat run over. I don't have much to say about this, but if I did, I'd use words like "small", "petty", and "contemptible".

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Clark has always had trouble with talking as a politician; that being said the man was badly wounded serving on the ground in Vietnam, fought bravely in that conflict and then devoted the next thirty years of his life to the military. Criticize him for what he said, but let's give the man his due. He was repeating the phrasing used by Schaeffer (who interviewed him) and, in talking about 'executive experience', what he stated is factually accurate. Flying a plane does not serve as preparation for being the head of a government. Clark puts his foot in his mouth more frequently than I would like, and should be called out for it, but he's a patriotic guy who served his country long and well in the armed services. I don't think it's fair to call him petty, small or contemptible.

Cincinnatus said...

I do not presume to denigrate thirty-plus years of military service. My criticism stems precisely from what the man says, as you'd have me do. Flying an aircraft, by itself, does not necessarily translate into 'executive experience.' However, commanding a naval squadron - which inherently requires managing everything from logistics to people - does. I also think that a man's character, and how it presents itself in extreme situations, can do much to make up for, say, not having the 'executive experience' of running a large organization (like a NATO command, as surely Clark was thinking when he said this). Perhaps my biggest problem with Clark is that the man has the audacity to diminish McCain's service and character when his own performance, as described by his peers, superiors, and subordinates, was indeed petty, small, and contemptible (abounding examples can be found here: http://www.nationalreview.com/geraghty/geraghty200402020857.asp ). McCain may not have run a multinational coalition, as Clark did, but he certainly treated his fellow servicemen with more respect, especially when the chips were down. As it happens, I think that Clark's comments stem from a misguided notion that he's still in the running for president, rather than Obama. Suffice to say that I think he's wrong and diminishes his own service by belittling that of others. Clark would do well to remember that generals don't always make great presidents - see Grant - and that men who just 'rode' in their combat vehicles sometimes do (see JFK). And finally, whose experience would translate better into the executive office: a man who ran a fighter squadron, kept faith with his fellow prisoners by awaiting his turn for release, and has spent many years representing his state at the federal level; or a rookie who's on his first term in Washington and whose greatest accomplishment at the state level seems to be voting 'present' 130 times?