Recently I read some thoughts and analysis by a fellow Milwaukean that I found very interesting. So I am presenting a guest blog below. Comments welcome. - mjm
As long as I have been writing these blogs (if that's what you call 'em) I have insisted that the war(s) we find ourselves enmeshed in will go on interminably. This, despite the fact that Americans are more worried (and with good reason) about the economy. That is a pivotal factor in everything we do... it is the basis for our "lifestyle"... the American dream which is slowly becoming a nightmarish existence. Nothing can be as important to us as to get in our most valuable piece of property..our cars...and heading off to visit some part of the country that we haven't seen before. Suddenly, we are finding that we can't be as loose with our time anymore; there are things that we must attend to that are much more demanding.
But you know all this...so why am I even talking about it because we still have a wartime economy to face. War time! The president (if that's what he's called) most recently added another 162 billion to that budget and our good friends the loyal and true Democrats went along with the outlandish request. Why? Good question... possibly because they want to "support the troops" or else they didn't want to be considered "unpatriotic", a sin which can no longer be tolerated.
But where do we stand in Iraq and Afghanistan anyway? And will the new president be any closer to solving the morass we are in? McCain flounders about and "flip flops" (a term the press has picked up somewhere!) while Obama, he of the golden tongue and political demeanor, may have had a change of heart himself. Obama speaks as if the Iraqi war is finished and we must put additional troops in Afghanistan and then Pakistan! At any rate, I haven't heard him say anything about closing down the permanent bases in Iraq nor has he made any mention of the Green Zone and the large embassy we have installed there!
Victory in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley, is far from over although the violence seems to have receded... maybe because of $$$ which was dispensed to the Sunnis and the Shiites... the greasing of a few palms helps. But Obama is correct about Afghanistan. The Taliban have had a resurgence and the poppy fields are prospering...the war there is going to be around for some time to come as it was in the 1980s when the Russians tried their damndest to win the country over...and failed!
What we must not overlook is the dirty hand of Dick Cheney and the Big Oil corporations: the reason that the war will not end soon. We can blame ourselves for going into the Middle East as well. If our "lifestyles" didn't depend upon our consumption of gasoline ((25% of the world's supply is used by Americans and don't forget heating oil and natural gas!). The oil grab will continue and we have our eyes set on Africa and South America. The US even has an AfricCom established and our minds set on Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea.
What most people are thinking is: Why worry, good old American know-how will come up with an answer! I respond by saying: Our sacred lifestyles MUST change more than they are already . Things like, less commuting, perhaps new occupations, living closer to our jobs; the suburbs may no longer be an option and perhaps a renewal of a New Deal program with a revitalized NRA and WPA! Several things must be considered. Never mind the new iPhone, and text messaging and all that crap. Seriously, it is unimportant! Toys for adults!
But always remember: Be patriotic, wave the flag and In God We Trust. Sure!
- Frank Blair
Frank Blair is a native of Connecticut born in 1922, a vet of WW 2, in the Navy for 34 months, stationed at Okinawa. Frank later became a Professor. He matriculated at Northwestern in Evanston. He married and had three daughters, all live in Milwaukee. He has worked in Pittsburgh, Kent, Ohio and Nashville, and was at UWM until retirement in 1985.