"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, June 07, 2008

Vacation

Just in case anyone was wondering where I went, I'm currently on post-deployment leave in New England and will be so for the next week and a half, rebuilding my alcohol tolerance and generally not doing much else (random note: I give two thumbs down to the chicken quesidillas at Acapulcos Restaurant in Norwood, MA. Unless you really want a bout of food-induced bulemia).

But before I go, a couple of small items. Barack Obama has wrapped up the Democratic nomination for president. As some commentators have said, there is no denying that his is a historic moment for America, as the first black man to have a serious shot at winning the nation's highest office. Now if only the man himself could actually make a strong, serious president, I might be a little more enthusiastic about the moment. As it is, how seriously should I take a man who claims that his nomination marks the day when "the oceans stopped rising and the planet began to heal"? You heard in Minnesota first, folks: an Obama administration will single-handedly stop global warming. And his will be the first time in two hundred-thirty odd years of American history that we've tried to heal the sick and get jobs for the jobless. Gosh, if only that had occurred to the forty-some men preceding him, imagine how great this country would be. As it is, Mark Steyn pointed out something else rather curious about Obama's statement on how great America is; the senator from Illinois wants to "remake this great nation" . . . but, if this nation's so great, why does it need the massive, widespread remaking he wants to inflict? To those who want to believe Obama is the Messiah returned, this sort of rhetoric sounds powerful and inspiring, I suppose; but if you just listen to it and digest it for longer than a second, it comes off sounding awfully childish. Perhaps that's to be expected from a politician who's in the infancy of his career; but if the man's a child, should he really be running the country? (P.S. Senator Obama, John McCain only "denies your accomplishments" because legislatively, you have none, unless you'd like to count your opposition to a bill that would have given legal protection to aborted babies who were selfish enough not to die during the procedure. I do not always agree with Senator McCain's accomplishments in office, but at least he's got a bill or two with his name on them). So I gladly grant Obama his historic moment, for it is historic; if only his ideas were as serious as the history he's made.

And so I will be voting (surprise) for McCain in November. As I said, I don't agree with everything he's done in office; however, the big thing I'm looking for is who I believe will make a better commander-in-chief for me, and in that, I back McCain wholeheartedly. He has seen war, he is one of the few men in Congress whose offspring have faced danger on the front lines, and he has nevertheless taken an unpopular stance on our current conflicts because he thinks the alternatives would be even worse than war.

I am also curious to see who both candidates choose as running mates. There is talk that Obama must choose Hillary as his veep in order to unite the Democratic party. I agree with other pundits that this would be a disaster; Hillary's ego could never humbly play second fiddle after such a close race, and with Hillary comes Bill, whose embarrassments on the campaign trail would be brought back to the White House. Hillary would always be looking over the junior senator's shoulder, waiting for her moment; as Peggy Noonan put it, "she would poison his tea". He would be better served to choose, as other commentators including NHDemocrat have proposed, someone like James Webb, a tough guy who could bring a much-needed gravity to Obama's foreign and military policy since he's seen the bad side of war as well, served in the Defense Department under Reagan, and has also had a son in harm's way of late. As for McCain, I've heard talk that he should pick Lieberman, since the two are so buddy-buddy on Iraq, but I don't think old Joe has nearly the widespread following necessary to broaden McCain's base. On the other hand, perhaps someone like Mitt Romney could; he'd be more appealing to the conservatives whose nose McCain likes to tweak, and he could also bring some good managerial sense to the table precisely when our economy needs it. He's also proven that he can win over liberals; it's pretty hard, after all, to win an election in Massachussetts as a Republican, but he did it.

OK, that's all I got. See you all when I get back home. Don't eat at Acapulcos.

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