Monday. I listened to an NPR program this evening that was essentially a discussion with David Gergen, a White House advisor to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton. Maybe you know him, maybe you don't, but he's always struck me as a Republican with a great deal of experience in the real world who doesn't go off the deep end in his approach to national and international politics. He surprised me in saying we've dug ourselves into a hole so deep in the Middle East and Asia that we need to deep six the political infighting and bickering between the political parties and come together, all of us, to save the nation; that we're in more danger today than we've been in since our founding. I figured we were fucked but I guess I really didn't understand how bad it was until I'd listened to Gergen.
Most of the discussion was of the uniformly unappetizing options in Korea (which he judged the greater danger, since he felt it likely the North Korean elite, struggling to keep themselves in power, would sell nuclear weapons to generate revenue) and Afghanistan/Iraq/Iran, which he judged a complete disaster well on its way to spreading throughout the Middle East. He listed courses of action that were being pushed by groups within the administration that ranged from grim to grimmer.
His opinion on the President's possible reaction should they came to him after the election and say the nation required us to attack Iran was “sure”, he agreed with them and he was ready to “do what needed to be done”. Gergen's own opinion was that an attack on Iran, particularly if it involved the use of nuclear “bunker busters” being advocated by some, would lead to a brutal world polarization and an unimaginably ferocious terrorist war against the United States that would last for generations.
And so you're going over this Iraq/Korea stuff again?
And so I am. When I was young - the Cuban Missle Crisis comes to mind - it never really sank in we were in real danger of nuclear war. Vietnam was stupid and caused me to take a two year detour in the Infantry, but since I missed Vietnam at the last minute, rubbing up against it only made me nervous. I was naively hoping the end of the Cold War would bring a time of less danger, a slow progression to “rationality”. What a dope. Still, I'm old, getting older, will undoubtedly check out one of these years, maybe it will hit the fan after I'm gone. Shouldn't that make a difference? No. I'm not really sure what it is that I will or can do, but I'll start with casting my absentee ballot for this coming election.
What a hero. I thought after all that you were going to run for governor or start a foundation.
Maybe shoot sympathetic pictures of parading (attractive lady) protesters?