THE MOST IDEOLOGICAL ADMINISTRATION EVER
IS BLINDED BY ITS NARROW IDEOLOGICAL VISION
Thanks to everybody who sent good wishes during my recent illness. Some deficiencies still persist, so as I noted recently, my posts may be a bit less frequent than usual, at least for awhile.
But anyone who’s as “opinionated and long-winded” as I am (a condition to which I’ve confessed before) would certainly not find reticence a satisfying long-term option in the face of our ongoing national madness. Then too, so much has happened over the past few weeks.
Among the news stories most thoroughly covered and commented on are, of course, the huge and growing scandal within the Veterans Administration and the swapping of five Gitmo detainees for a U.S. Army sergeant held by the Taliban.
Perhaps it’s just a symptom of the gastrointestinal distress that landed me in the hospital, but I can’t help seeing some highly suggestive connections between these two disturbing stories.
In assessing the failure of the VA to provide adequate care for vets — in some cases to such an extent that patients died without ever getting in to see a VA doctor — it’s important to understand the mindset of our current leadership.
Yes, I know the much maligned General Eric Shinseki was himself a decorated combat veteran and military leader (one-time Army Chief of Staff). And yes, I understand that the bureaucratic tangles hobbling the VA go way back before the present administration.
But I relate this vexing situation to the anti-military attitude of the Vietnam era — which wasn’t just a matter of disdain for the military as an institution, but of actual contempt for individual servicemen. I can recall how returning vets were called “baby killers.” I remember vividly how soldiers in general were tarred as drug-addled, wife-beating losers too warped by combat to fit into peacetime society, too caught up in militaristic delusions to ever hold properly nuanced social views.
Such themes played out across the whole pop-culture spectrum: in movies, television shows, and especially on the music scene. They were the pervasive assumptions about military life in which our current leaders were steeped as they came of age and political awareness.
An echo of those ideas could be heard as recently as 2008 when Barack Obama expressed his view that people in small towns…
“get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
So even though candidate Obama had cited the logjams in VA services as a failure of the Bush Administration, it’s not surprising that six years later, no meaningful steps have been taken to correct those institutional defects.
I would not charge that this inaction reflects open hostility toward veterans. It’s just that the needs of those who served in the military (and who, incidentally, don’t represent a large segment of the Obama constituency) simply wouldn’t be top-of-mind among a political class disposed to minimize the importance of national defense and those providing it — which is clearly the attitude of our current leadership.
For all we know, General Shinseki may have been screaming for help. And of course, we likely never will know, because he’s taken the fall. But it’s obvious that, whatever his part in this debacle, the people above him simply didn’t give a damn!
Contrast that situation with the return of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.
Bergdahl is a thoughtful, sensitive, artistic kind of guy (he studied ballet) who may have indulged soldier-of fortune fantasies (he tried to join the French Foreign Legion), but who identified strongly with the Afghan people, was apparently taken with some sort of romantic image of the Taliban resistance fighters, and came to question the U.S.’s mission of occupation, pacification and nation-building.
From the viewpoint of our current leaders, all of that pretty much makes him the ideal soldier. Which is precisely what blinded the administration to how the public would react when the details of his apparent desertion came out.
What a bummer! Here was a perfect opportunity to start emptying Guantanamo — a botched campaign promise for which Obama has taken continual heat from the left — and doing it in the name of freeing a poor American soldier held captive by a brutal enemy.
Now it turns out that the poor American soldier may very well have been a turncoat in active collusion with his captors.
At the handover Bergdahl looked in pretty good shape for somebody who’s endured five years of arduous captivity. And even Democrat Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, had to admit that there were no indications he was in any immediate danger of being killed.
On top of that, the five terrorists for which Bergdahl was swapped are among the hardest of the hardcore we were holding. Plus, the deal was done in clear violation of a legal requirement to inform the Congress in advance of any Gitmo releases.
So, now that the five master terrorists are at large? Not to worry, White House Advisor John Podesta assures us…
“I think it’s fair to say we’re keeping an eye on them.”
For which we may sleep all the sounder.
There can be absolutely no doubt that this is the most ideologically driven administration in the nation’s history. Even that old Court-packer, Franklin Roosevelt, didn’t come close.
And don’t bother with the predictable “What-about-George-Bush?” dodge. It’s true that Bush got carried away with the idea of bringing democracy to the Middle East. But that was a misjudgment — granted, one based on certain ideological assumptions, but primarily reflecting a misperception about how ready the Middle East was to have democracy. If you recall, Bush started his presidency wanting to be the “Education President.” Ideology wasn’t high on his agenda at all.
Given the stunning speed with which the Taliban were routed and Saddam Hussein toppled, Bush would be hailed as our greatest wartime president ever. They’d be clearing his space on Mount Rushmore. That is, if he hadn’t tried to plant democracy in two nations totally lacking in any preparation for it.
The Obama crowd, on the other hand, is all about “fundamental change.” And, Lord knows, they’ve delivered. Have you seen the latest Labor Force Participation Rate? Worst since the Jimmy Carter era.
Nothing has been wrought over the past six years that wasn’t rooted in a progressive vision. Unfortunately, the progress has been largely backward.
But then, ideology is as ideology does. And the vision currently in fashion is rather narrow. In some instances — the VA and Bergdahl situations foremost among them — it’s like wearing blinders.
“There’s no question he [Bergdahl] was debilitated,” she said. “There was no question he was under stress — blinking rapidly, probably held in dark surroundings for a long period of time.”
Nice effort, Dianne…
Incidentally, CNS has the latest on the Labor Force Participation Rate. The decrepit number of people actually working or actively looking for work rather gives the lie to that much more optimistic 6-percent unemployment figure. Well, as Mark Twain said…
“There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.”
Check it out…