Friday, September 26, 2008

The Republican Guard?

In an election cycle which might well make the Guinness Book of World Records for gaffes, evidence of yet more confusion surfaces from the mouth of candidate McCain who says that we must go after the "Republican Guard of Iran."

Perhaps Sen. McCain was thinking of his own party when he said that, and not the Iranian "Revolutionary Guard" that allegedly causes an egregious, and growing, threat.

As you recall, the Republican Guard was an elite group of Iraqi ground forces that was dissolved in 2003, and functioned principally to guard Saddam Hussein. Oh, well, Iraq--Iran; same difference.

McCain got his Reagan reference right, during the debate, though. The gipper's famous slogan "Trust, but verify" was a timely reference indeed given McCain's penchant for chastising Obama over his openness with respect to making public any intention to take some kind of military action in Pakistan. For the McCain camp, covert action only need apply. Presidents think, and strategize about, but never discuss with taxpayers what military roller coasters they intend to embark on. Let the taxpayer pick up the tab, to the tune of $10 billion a month in Iraq, as Obama repeatedly reminded McCain tonight and, all the while, let the unitary president keep his mouth shut.

Rest assured, if John McCain becomes the next commander-in-chief of our military, we may expect the same news blackouts witnessed in Grenada, and Libya. And, if Sarah Palin, becomes his second in command, we can expect to see the same defiance of congressional subpoenas, the same claims of executive privilege, campaign of secrecy, and the same suppression of the press. If the next occupiers of the executive branch are McCain/Palin, we may also expect to see the State of the Union Address with photos only, and no sound.

With President Obama, we may expect to hear plenty of sound, some of which we may not like, of course, but he will be one president who knows how to talk.

And, when it comes to the vision behind the talk, think about this: while McCain speaks about increasing the use of nuclear energy, Obama's focus, when it comes to things nuclear, is on nuclear nonproliferation, with the recognition that nonproliferation is as much a necessity to the survival of the planet as an effective energy plan.

Think about this: while McCain said that he will cut back on governmental programs and services with the exception of defense spending, and aid to veterans, remember that, on Memorial Day, John McCain openly opposed Virginia Senator Jim Webb's G.I. bill that will increase benefits to service members who return from Iraq and Afghanistan. McCain used the lame argument that the bill would "encourage people to choose to become noncommissioned officers," and would thereby "hurt the military and our country." (WaPo)

When Obama disagreed with McCain's position on Webb's bill, McCain shot back by challenging Obama's experience, and knowledge.

Well, when considering things like knowledge, judgment, and experience, one can only hope that the next President of the United States will recognize the difference between a group that guarded a downed leader during a military coup, and a group with a similar name in a neighboring country.

When considering things like knowledge, and experience, one can only hope that those of us who are old enough to remember what it was like to hide under a desk during an air raid drill will also remember the 1950's mindset that brought us not only the Cold War, but the deep intellectual freeze known simply as McCarthyism, and the mindset of conformity at the expense of creativity, faux nationalism; a mindset that forced women into back alley butcher shops for abortions.

We're glad Sen. McCain sees three letters on Putin's forehead: "KGB" because maybe he will soon recognize that George H.W. Bush, and Dick Cheney have three letters on their forehead, too: "CIA," and that the FBI, under George W. Bush, has expanded its powers to include unwarranted surveillance on ordinary American citizens under this foolishness that goes by the name of the USA Patriot Act powers that will soon be expanded thanks to the efforts of Attorney General Michael Mukasey. This new plan to increase FBI powers such that agents, and informants, may hide their identity while conducting so-called "pretext" interviews while pursuing national security risks. (WaPo)

Hiding one's identity is, after all, not a whole lot different than the kind of hiding from plain view we've seen in the destruction of millions of White House e-mails, and the subsequent attempt of the vice president to secede from the executive branch to avoid accountability. Don't let anyone try to convince you otherwise: Islamofascism isn't the kind of fascism we need to worry about now.

When he spoke about Russia, during tonight's debate, McCain was prescient in demanding that those who want to return to Russia to its empire days must deliver "a country that respects international boundaries, and the norms of international behavior," as he asserts. The same must be true of the United States which, in recent years, has defiled international boundaries in the name of empire building, and defied international law, and the Geneva Conventions.
Senator Obama is right. The only leadership that can truly take us forward is one, as he contends, with the "foresight to anticipate problems." Anything less amounts to lip synching the failed policies of a presidency that confuses homeland security with destabilizing the Bill of Rights.

Yes, Sen. McCain is right about working to unseat the Republican Guard---not the one in Iraq, of course, which was dissolved five years ago, but the one that has insulated the President of the United States, and his cohorts, from accountability over the past eight years.

Make no mistake, the radical right neo-conservative agenda being pushed by McCain-Palin reflects the position of maybe a third of Republicans. Indeed, McCain-Palin is what happens when Republicans let their guard down proving only that the war on terror begins at home.