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Another Dark Night of the American Soul

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In the dark Indochina night of the American soul, we wasted almost sixty thousand soldiers and a quarter million wounded, while morally weakening virtually every American institution. Multitudes of citizens have never again accepted our administrative, legislative and judicial aspects of governance with the same degree of trust that we had in them before Vietnam. This is still reflected in the twenty-two percent approval rate of the late do nothing Republican Congress. And why should we -- when our leaders not only sacrificed our own men but murdered more than a million simple peasant farmers and fishermen. They killed them in a brutal scheme to return the people of Vietnam as serfs in chains forged by brutal French colonial thieves. Worse, we supported the rapacious return of the Europeans to Indochina while Ho Chi Min and his staff were begging first Truman and then Eisenhower to help them create a humane approach to life for their people. They modeled their revolution after our own and in desperation after their pleas fell on deaf Washington ears, turned to the Communists to help them savage the French Army at Dien Bien Fu. Hard ball power players such as Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon were incensed and eager to retaliate, because the ragged little peasants dared challenge their personal power to move the people of Asia around like pawns on the international board. As J R R Tolkien said so brilliantly -- Unfettered power players compromise so much in their determination to rule or ruin, that they lose the ability to distinguish between good and evil -- between right and wrong. A wicked shroud of expediency envelopes their souls as the needs and rights of others are twisted to their meet own neurotic or even psychopathic yearnings.

It has now become painfully obvious that our present cabal of hubristic proto-fascist ideologues have learned nothing about the limits of American power. We have been led for more than a decade by power brokers who are far more willing to rip and tear everything good for our middle class rather than to create anything positive. Now, anyone with even a modicum of spirituality mourns the three thousand slain and twenty-five thousand maimed men and women of the Cheney/Bush War that has the potential to explode out of control and double or triple the current costs and casualties. Three thousand dead and still counting as Cheney/Bush call for even more men and women to draw their chestnuts from the Iraqi fire. All of which should receive some concentrated attention from Republican clones of Bush who survived the 2006 massacre when the 2008 campaign brings another day of reckoning.

During the Vietnam War, Tricky Dick Nixon won the presidency after the voters drove Johnson from office, by pretending to have a secret plan to extricate America from Vietnam. He even patted his breast pocket as he campaigned -- as if he carried his plan close to his heart. Of course, Nixon's exit strategy was to win a grand military victory over the non-white raggedy-assed little peasants, despite rebellion on the college campuses and streets of America and eventually in corporate board rooms and within the Congress itself. After Johnson left just before the ax fell, Nixon's futile pursuit of a military victory gave America another twenty-five thousand mostly poor ghetto and farm boys slain, and another hundred thousand crippled. Only then was Nixon dragged, kicking and screaming to negotiate with the peasants armed with little more than great big A K - 47s, a handful of rice each day, plenty of ammunition and infinite courage -- as they shivered with malaria in the monsoon. They gave first French Foreign Legionaries and then U. S. Marines all the war they could tolerate, closing so near to the perimeter wire that neither American artillery nor air craft could strike them without slaying their own ground troops. His wicked choices led to Nixon's downfall -- the entire Watergate affair was simply the cause celebre through which angry citizens drove the dark hearted, paranoid president out of office. And despite the continuing disaster Nixon stayed the course to the bitter end. It fell on Gerald Ford, to bite the bullet and withdraw all American forces from Vietnam. And, when Ford sacrificed his own reelection chances to pardon Nixon, possibly keeping him from prison, he refused to thank his benefactor.

As a line of ancient French wisdom reports -- The more things change the more they remain the same. George Bush has taken a page from Nixon's failed play book with his very own secret plan for winning his war despite growing outrage at home. Bush's exit strategy is to win his victory by doubling down the number of our boys and girls at risk, dooming as many American kids as it takes to secure military bases from which to dominate the oil rich region, which is why Cheney/Bush took us to war in the first place. He also wants to leave a decent legacy to his presidency and especially, to sooth his severely wounded ego. Virtually every man and woman in the civilized world now sees that this wannabe emperor wears no clothes, that he is a fraud as a leader. Many understand that his failures as a dyslexic student, a womanizing husband, a troubled father with drastic mood swings and a three strike business failure until his father gave him a share in a Texas baseball team -- have left great throbbing wounds in his psyche. He consistently reveals the symptoms of psychological overcompensation with his bombastic West Texas aggression, his devaluing everyone he meets with demeaning nicknames, his inability to read and concentrate, his violent rejection of any form of criticism and reliance on ideological fantasies rather than on facts, are some of the symptoms that plague a dried out alcoholic. To paraphrase the brilliant Otto Rank -- The road to vast power and wealth indeed passes close by the madhouse.

Bush irrationally expects successful results from compulsively repeating his self-defeating mistakes. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the Baath Party and the El Quaida leaders despised and distrusted one another, there was not a single Iraqi among the 9/11 attackers and the myth of creating a democratic Middle East was a fall back position hurriedly invented by White House spin doctors to deceive a restive American citizenry who had begun to question the logic behind the Cheney/Bush War. Bush now finds himself deep in a hole of his own making but he cannot stop obsessively digging it ever deeper.

Such a rigid inability to learn from one's mistakes is as probably as good a short description of neuroticism and psychopathy as can be found.

Cheney/Bush ignore the bruising defeat the American voters handed the Republican Party during the 2006 election, reject virtually everything the Baker Commission identified as important and dispute the advice from the compliant generals they themselves appointed. Bush is compulsively determined to win a self-redeeming military victory where none is possible without a decade or two of bloody guerrilla warfare. An Iraqi civil war is simmering as American occupiers cause deep resentment and distrust. Obviously, a defeat of this magnitude shall shred even more his wounded ego although he no longer has any good options. Bush faces a choice of evils, clinging to the slender hope that somehow, Iraqi politicians who hate one another with a tribal virulence few Americans have ever seen can persuade their police and military forces to forget centuries of brutal warfare to cooperate according to democratic rules they do not understand.

To win a military victory and keep the lid on tight, Cheney/Bush would need to double or triple the war budget and the number of Americans sacrificed in Iraq and install a regime as cruel as any imposed by the Germans and Japanese during World War II. The war mongers would need to invent and rearm another Saddam! Johnson and Nixon installed surrogate rulers in Vietnam and the expedient decisions made in Washington hastened the Vietnamese victory and crippled the American Army for a generation. Unjust wars and the moral compromises made by politicians and generals to win them at any cost, make a mockery of the motto of our professional officer corps -- Duty, Honor and Country. Even honest and patriotic soldiers can be so worn down and frustrated that they acquiesce to the lesser of several evils. After having served America as one of them, I do not blame the troops in any way as they serve our nation wisely and well in a situation made by the proto-fascists of the Republican right wing. It is a tragedy that so many American soldiers naively danced to the tune of narcissistic politicians, plutocrats and preachers for so long -- who are spending their lives like pocket change in a mad quest to meet their own wicked ideological and financial goals.

The reactionary politicians and their fundamental preacher allies of the Republican Party may remain so stubborn that they must stay the course with an apparently neurotic and barely coherent president and his brain trust. They can filibuster every attempt to negotiate an end to the Cheney/Bush War, burn the Army and the National Guard to professional and emotional cinders with endless tours of duty and keep Cheney's Halliburton gang busy building military bases in Iraq from which to launch an even more disastrous war against Iran. They can continue to play fast and lose with the Kurds' against Turkey and the Shiite slaughter of Sunni Muslims in Iraq until Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt explode in resentment. Then the oil fields may well go up in flames and gasoline shall sell for five dollars a gallon across America -- crippling our airline and trucking industries and sending inflation skyrocketing.

Every wicked endeavor is filled with unforeseen consequences that are subjectively overlooked by compulsive narcissistic leaders who claw their way to power in political, commercial and religious organizations. The Cheney/Bush spin doctors may continue to egoistically assume they can manipulate middle class voters into loving or at least financing and fighting their war with their sons and daughters, while their own kids are safe at Yale, Harvard and Stanford. But we out here on the tundra are primed to complete the job well begun during the 2006 election. If the reactionaries and fundamentalists continue playing the cards Cheney/Bush deal from the bottom of the deck, they will enter the 2008 presidential election season with still more of our kids coming home in coffins, the national debt soaring out of sight and inflation stalking every retirement plan. That should galvanize their already surly constituents immensely as they vote to elect a president and even more members of Congress who will finally stop sleepwalking behind the pied pipers of Washington led by Cheney/Bush and address our legitimate concerns.
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JARD DeVILLE is the author, founder and co-owner with, Dee DeVille, of the DeVILLE LOGOTHERAPY LEARNING CENTER & SPEAKER SERVICES and The FULFILLMENT FORM. The FORUM is the publisher and purveyor of fine e-books and courses. He has published more (more...)
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