Thursday, August 21, 2008

Will the real man please stand up?

By Capt. Fogg

There's a divide and you're either on one side or another and, whether genetics or experience is the greater factor, one can tell your polarity even without discussing politics. No, I'm not talking about liberals and conservatives -- I'm not quite sure what those things mean any more -- I'm talking about the cultural divide that puts John McCain in the same camp as the fellow I know who lives in a shack out by Lake Okeechobee, whose tattooed torso is shirtless all summer and who has never owned anything but old, beat-up trucks. Those in the category I know personally, include a retired engineer who used to design ordnance, several retired military pilots and others who share very little in life but the "me against the world" attitude, an appreciation for John Wayne movies, authoritarian governments who never the less govern less - and the distrust of intellectuals.

Now that the media has decided to tell us that violence in Iraq has declined dramatically, it seems that such people are seeing John McCain as someone who can be most obstinate and forceful in dealing with the Iraqi Government's desire for the kind of freedom and independence and sovereignty we have made such a fuss about giving them. Barry says we're going while the Maverick shows his "maverisciousness" by saying "not so soon" to the colonials. That's what we can see John Wayne doing and that's what they fear Obama will not do: give us a settlement that seems more forced than negotiated; a settlement that makes us look more victorious than negotiated; that makes the whole misguided enterprise look like a glorious demonstration of imperial power.

Whether or not violence has decreased and whether or not the Iraqi government is now strong enough to fight its own battles, the gap between McCain and Obama, at least in the polls, seems to be closing as it becomes more likely that the glorious and victorious peace with honor we were denied in Vietnam is more likely with the former than the latter, under whom it might just quickly and quietly end.

An accord has apparently been reached, however, and if the Iraqi Parliament approves, the matter may be settled before the election. Perhaps McCain will have to invent a new attitude for himself as regards the 100-year occupation he's apparently comfortable with. Regardless of what that might be, the below average pilot who nearly flunked out of the academy his father got him into, will be seen as better be too many people simply because he wore a uniform than the far more intelligent and accomplished Obama.

(Cross-posted from Human Voices.)

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