Archive | Higher Ground
President Dwight Eisenhower’s foreign-policy record was far from perfect (Exhibit A: Iran), but would he have allowed America to become mired in the disastrous Iraq and Afghanistan wars? Not blody likely. The man who was commander-in-chief of the Allied forces that landed in Normandy, unlike other post-WWII presidents, knew there is a big difference between being a president and a five-star general. It’s a distinction that George W. Bush, Barack Obama and others don’t seem to appreciate:
The Eisenhower portrayed by [Jim] Newton is more of a devotee of brinkmanship than a peacemaker. But because of a long military career, particularly his wartime experience, he could see danger posed by the generals, admirals and intelligence community and their allies in the arms industry. He saw through them.
In his farewell address, Eisenhower warned that this combination reached into “every city, every statehouse, and every office of the federal government.” Then in the most memorable passage of the speech, he said, “In the councils of government we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist…
Neil Gainman was in town to give the commencement address at the University of the Arts, and it was one of the best I’ve ever heard. If you have even an ounce of creativity in you, you should watch this:
Erik Kain at Mother Jones, defending MSNBC host Chris Hayes, who was bombarded with insults after questioning the wisdom of automatically referring to Americans soldiers who fall in battle as heroes:
In transforming our soldiers or police automatically into “heroes” we ignore the atrocities our own side commits. In doing so we also ignore the real moments of heroism. We give a free pass to anyone with a uniform and a gun regardless of their individual merit, and lend unwitting support to every war, from Iraq and Afghanistan to the War on Drugs, in the process.
I’m with Kain. What we need these days are more anti-heroes — people who rebel against the “my country right or wrong mentality” that allows us to be manipulated by lying politicians who all too often take the country into unnecessary wars to enrich “defense” contractors while dodging serious domestic problems.
We need more people like Yossarian, in Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. More here.
From Rolling Stone:
Bob Dylan received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor, at a ceremony at the White House [Tuesday] afternoon.
At the ceremony, President Obama said of Dylan, “There is not a bigger giant in the history of American music,” adding that the “unique gravel-y power” of his voice helped redefine “not just what music sounded like, but the message it carried and how it made people feel.”
When the White House announced that Dylan would be one of this year’s recipients, they wrote in a statement that the rock & roll pioneer had “considerable influence on the civil rights movement of the 1960s and has had significant impact on American culture over the past five decades.”
Dylan also had considerable influence on the anti-war movement — you know, protests against the undeclared Vietnam war, the war that made it so easy for future presidents to send young Americans into equally unnecessary conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to keep them there long after it was obvious there was nothing to be gained.
Too bad Dylan didn’t get to sing a few verses of “Masters of War,” although I don’t think Obama would have been amused by the irony.