from Mr. Brooks in today's NY Times is mind-blowing!
"But I couldn't watch most of the Super Bowl and I didn't have a reaction to the whole halftime fiasco because I had to go to bed and be ready for the continuing war the next day. They say there is a cultural divide between the military and society. There is, and suddenly I am on the other side."
SO, the President sacrifices so that we are safe. I feel better for Mr. Brooks insight, except I have one issue:
Let us grant Mr. Brooks his assertion and assume (for this blog entry) that there is a war on. Let us also assume that President Bush is a warrior President. What follows?
How did everyone else get on the other side? Why are we so out of touch with our virtuous Government (I could argue: Why is our Government so out of touch with us, but that would be quibbling...)? Why do we pig ourselves out oblivious to the sacrifice of others?
Because our Government told us to.
I count this as the greatest missed opportunity of the Bush Administration: When there was a chance to galvanize the nation for a great purpose after the shocking events of 9/11, the best we could come up with was: "Please, continue to spend money."
I have yet to here anything like a JFK moment
on the scale of "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country."
(Caution Ahead: A dash of Hegelian sentiment...) The notion of shared sacrifice would have undermind the strategy of demanding tax cuts in a time of war. In a war, we are supposed to willingly take up the burden placed before us, as previous generations have done to ensure the survival of the family and nation. This choice of the President helps ensure that ours will never be remembered as a "great" generation. For those who retort that this does not stop anyone of us from getting off our bums and doing something about it as individuals: You are right. But in a time of war, a country survives by its ability to rally and bring to the fore its collectivist instincts. War, as an enterprise, requires the acceptance of the possibility that the individual must, in times of peril, be willing to go under so that the embodiment of the universal--family, clan, people, and nation can endure.
Where do we see this now? In a small segment of the population that is tasked with waging this war on our behalf. The result will be a steadily declining degree of morale and willingness to sign up for military duty, as well as an increasing estrangement between professional military personnel and its government as well as the society that this military is tasked to protect. Where will this lead?
To no place good: socially, culturally, militarily, economically, or politically.
In a nutshell: The Administration's inability to call for shared sacrifice and then lead by example imperils the nation.