"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."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The bailout that keeps on giving; and our veterans still have some work ahead

One thing I'm learning from raising a child is that if you don't say 'no' to something the first time, it makes it a lot harder to do so the second, third, and fourth times. Congress is apparently learning this too, and the children in question are failing auto companies. They saw Congress cut Wall Street a huge check, and figured, "why not us?" Well, there are any number of reasons, not least of which is that Detroit's problems extend far beyond the recent downturn of our economy. Were GM, for example, not so utterly enslaved by its unions, it might have more money available to actually build cars and hire people, rather than use most of their profits to pay out fat entitlements. One could argue about who bears more blame, the union chiefs or the CEOs who caved to them, but the bottom line is that neither deserve a bailout for their selfish, short-sighted mistakes. Other car companies, while hurting in the economy, are still building cars and staying above water because they made good business decisions. Like I said when the first bailout was proposed, Congress shouldn't get involved in which businesses fail and which succeed. Proponents of the bailout argued that our financial sector was too crucial to be allowed to fail, that we needed to restore confidence and get credit flowing again. Fine, I didn't buy the whole argument but I understood that reestablishing credit flow was an important issue that reached beyond the sphere of foolish mortgage companies. The same does not apply to Detroit, however. Congress has already saddled Americans with paying for thousands of bad mortgages. At some point, it needs to decide that it won't saddle taxpayers with anything else, especially in these rough times. This is as good a point as any.

Apart from financial woes, one of the predominant headlines of the last few days has been the utter post-election meltdown of the geniuses who organized the McCain campaign. Staffer after staffer has - anonymously - crapped all over Sarah Palin and essentially blamed her for costing them the election. Never mind that she turned crowds of thousands into tens of thousands. Never mind that she revitalized McCain's supporters and brought more money to the campaign. Never mind that she caused the media to reveal its naked partisanship in the vile attacks it launched at her. Nope, she sank the campaign because she was dumb and bought expensive clothes. Talk about a circular firing squad. The McCain campaign was poorly run from the get-go, and apparently the only way for the people who ran it that way to avoid criticism is to destroy someone else before they get destroyed themselves. This is not to say that she was flawless; she wasn't. And those who criticize her performance seem to fall into two camps: those who think she was simply woefully unqualified and out of her depth, and those who think she actually brought a lot of valuable experience to the table but was muzzled and mishandled. I fall into the second camp. Someone who took on the entrenched interests in her state and repeatedly beat them - to great public acclaim and affection - is not stupid or incompetent. But she certainly need some help to succeed on the national stage, and she got none from the campaign that hand-picked her. Her treatment by McCain staffers before and after the election was disgraceful, especially since none of her accusers have the balls to reveal their names. If the Republicans are to have a snowball's chance in hell in 2012, the first step will be this: make a list of everyone who worked on John McCain's 2008 run, and bar them from ever touching a national campaign again.

Finally, this past weekend we not only celebrated the Marine Corps' birthday, but honored those veterans who've served in this nation's wars past and present. They deserve that honor; but Michael Yon reminds us that the job is not yet done. Hopefully this country will give both her veterans and new recruits the tools and support they need to finish the job.

No comments: