Saturday, March 17, 2007

It's Saturday Morning and I am a Huge Daniel Shore Fan

When I heard Alberto Gonzalez in his press conference on Monday say “Mistakes were made” I got a sick feeling. When his boss said it Tuesday, I damned near went visceral.

I remember the 80’s. I was a SAC wife with three babies, ready to go where the orders…ordered. It was also a time when U.S. service personnel were targeted in bombings in discotheques, airplanes were hijacked regularly and a barracks bombed in Beirut (that happened the last time the U.S. took sides in a civil war and Cap Weinberger ordered Muslim villages shelled in Lebanon). Because my husband had to fly in uniform, we took different planes.

I know things the cheerleaders for Reagan don't know. I was right smack in the middle of that clusterfuck, and felt like a god-damned pawn. Of course, I felt like a pawn because I was a pawn. Let me tell you, from someone who was fucking there - peace broke out in spite of Ronald Reagan, not because of him. If you want to give credit for the hastening of a natural social evolution, don’t thank Reagan. Thank the Strategic Air Command, rock-n-roll, Levi’s jeans and McDonalds for the U.S. victory in the cold war. Just so the record is clear. But don’t just take my word for it – ask around, find someone about 50 who was in the Air Force in their 20’s and ask them. Prepare to hear a truth about that *magical era*that just ain’t told, because it doesn’t appear in the program for the worship services in the church (cult?) of unholy Reagan worship. That’s a bubble of denial that really needs to be popped.

Anyway – when I heard “mistakes were made” I heard Ronald Reagan and the state of the union in 1987 – he stood there and gave cover to every mendacious fuck-up made by every mendacious fuck-up in his entire administration who took part in the treasonous Iran-Contra Affair.

But though we've made much progress, I have one major regret: I took a risk with regard to our action in Iran. It did not work, and for that I assume full responsibility. The goals were worthy. I do not believe it was wrong to try to establish contacts with a country of strategic importance or to try to save lives. And certainly it was not wrong to try to secure freedom for our citizens held in barbaric captivity. But we did not achieve what we wished, and serious mistakes were made in trying to do so. We will get to the bottom of this, and I will take whatever action is called for. But in debating the past, we must not deny ourselves the successes of the future. Let it never be said of this generation of Americans that we became so obsessed with failure that we refused to take risks that could further the cause of peace and freedom in the world. Much is at stake here, and the Nation and the world are watching to see if we go forward together in the national interest or if we let partisanship weaken us. And let there be no mistake about American policy: We will not sit idly by if our interests or our friends in the Middle East are threatened, nor will we yield to terrorist blackmail.

And now, ladies and gentlemen of the Congress, why don't we get to work? I am pleased to report that because of our efforts to rebuild the strength of America, the world is a safer place. Earlier this month I submitted a budget to defend America and maintain our momentum to make up for neglect in the last decade. Well, I ask you to vote out a defense and foreign affairs budget that says yes to protecting our country. While the world is safer, it is not safe.

If you weren’t in my shoes back then, you don’t know what those words sounded like. We knew that we were at increased danger in our assigned duty stations outside the U.S. because of policies of the Reagan administration. We felt like the political football that was kicked, and bounced off the goal-posts, then got pounced on. No matter who is speaking, when I hear “mistakes were made” I don’t hear contrition. I hear “Fuck you, cannon fodder.”

Now, fully twenty years later, the same mantras get chanted and even more American service personnel are being killed in the middle east in all-out open warfare because of foolish and foolhardy policies of a corrupt, mendacious Republican administration.

Learned any lessons yet America? Or are you still riding the short bus?



The Mandarin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Mandarin said...

The Mandarin was living in Hong Kong during most of the Reagan years and quickly got tired of having people in Hong Kong and China ask questions like, "Can Reagan be serious about that?" Or, "Why do the Americans do what they do?" Pretty soon, we began to speak of "the Americans" in the third person. Seeing "us" through the eyes of the rest of the world can be a humbling, and sometimes mystifying experience.

The Mandarin (SAC brat too - my dad flew B52s out of Bergstrom for several years beginning around 1959.