Thursday, December 3, 2009

Politically incorrect, I suppose

I promise that we won't do much of this, but as long as we're being personal for the moment (see the last post), I can't help writing a bit about where I am politically. My favorite blogs are:

Steve Benen
Ezra Klein
Matthew Iglesias
Kevin Drum
James Fallows
Tom Ricks
Brad DeLong
Stephen Walt
Bernard Avishai

I watched President Obama's speech on Afghanistan the other night on TV. Politically, I think he has to do this extra something, though he doesn't want to, and I don't either. If he failed to do it, the right wing would cream him.

I get discouraged because I think what we are looking at here, ultimately, is a "lost decade" or even more. The correct response to 9/11 should have been, in order:

• lock the cockpit doors on commercial aircraft and alter our response to threatened hijackings

• think about arming marshals and putting them aboard

• do bad things to Osama what'hoosits and his buddy KSM---these would involve helicopters at an altitude of 1350 over the WTC site if I had my way...

Instead we spent 1 trillion dollars (or is it 2?) on an unnecessary war and the aftermath. I know we're a rich country and all, but this is totally crazy. Don't these guys read history?

As Bronowski says near the "Ascent of Man" (a favorite):

"It seems very pessimistic to talk about western civilization with a sense of retreat. I have been so optimitistic about the ascent of man; am I going to give up at this moment? Of course not. The ascent of man will go on. But do not assume that it will go on carried by western civiliation as we know it. We are being weighed in the balance at this moment. If we give up, the next step will be taken---but not by us. We have not been given any guarantee that Assyria and Egypt and Rome were not given. We are waiting to be somebody's past too, and not necessarily that of our future."