Monday, November 12, 2012

On Wasting Votes
    The good folks of Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York reelected Barack Obama with 2.6 million more votes than he needed to win. If just 260,000, or ten percent, of them had gone to a progressive third party, such as the Greens, we’d be on the road to making better politics and a more decent country for ourselves.  Instead, progressives can expect little besides business as usual in return for burying Obama in ballots. Talk about waste.

Where Have All The Winners Gone?

    A long time ago, generals who won wars were celebrated and those who lost them were relegated. Not so much anymore.  American-style war has become so commercialized that winning or losing is secondary to operating the military as a corporate profit center. Thus, an officer who maneuvers smartly through the executive suites can now make a mark as a leader without much in the way of martial triumphs.
    That’s the case with Gen. David Petraeus, freshly resigned from  running the CIA over a sexual peccadillo. No general since World War II had a more spectacular career or was more praised by one and all. Even his demit by scandal was used by the media to heap further laurels on him. But unlike Eisenhower of D-Day fame or Montgomery of El Alemein, there’s no great battle associated with Petraeus. At most, he’s noted for the “surge” in Iraq, which in the end amounted to bribing the Sunnis not to attack U.S.forces. Nothing our military has tried in that part of the world has worked out, so Obama tells us we're shifting our sights to targets in Asia.  Meanwhile, in all of the encomiums to Petraeus, one word is missing: victory.
    By the by, the Patraeus imbroglio reminded me of Tim Weiner’s informative, “Enemies: A History of the FBI.”  Weiner, a former national security correspondent for the NY Times, tells us that J. Edgar Hoover vociferously opposed the creation of the CIA because it would cut into the turf of his FBI.  In the decades since, according to Weiner, it’s been all but bloody war between the two agencies. I can’t help wondering whether the downfall of Petraeus by way of an FBI investigation is yet another skirmish in the battle of the bureaucracies?