1. Mary Cheney is preggers. Yawn.
2. The Dixie Chicks have been nominated for a Grammy or two. Bigger yawn.
3. None of the incoming Republican Congressional freshmen has served day one in the military.
Guess which one of those scares me the most. Go on, guess. If you picked 3, you'd be right.
It's no secret that if I had my druthers military service (or national service of some kind or another) would be a prerequisite to holding national public office. This country has a history of voting for ex-military personnel as President (Washington, Jackson, Grant, Eisenhower, Kennedy and even Nixon come immediately to mind). Mostly because they're great organization people. They KNOW how to run things (in the face of overwhelming odds, I might add). Navigating the byzantine structure of the Federal Government is a LOT like navigating the byzantine structure of the military with all of it's "Catch-22" rules and regulations that make absolutely no sense at all, but things have always been done that way.
It's mostly the latter that I'm concerned with. I'd be a lot more comfortable having a Congress full of people who understand, on a gut level, the sort of nonsense that our armed forces can get into, left to their own devices. I want the people who vote for the money to know that the government spends $600 on toilet seats for airplanes, and the reasons why. I want them to know just how cozy the Pentagon is with General Dynamics and Boeing and McDonnell-Douglas, and that the Pentagon basically runs a revolving door, retirement job hunting out-placement service for retiring generals and admirals with those self-same arms manufacturers.
And I'd really like to have a congress full of people who are familiar with President Eisenhower's farewell address to the nation in January of 1961 and, especially, this section of that speech:
"This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."
(emphasis added by me)
Can you say "Halliburton"?
This is why I am discomforted by the growing legions of untutored congresscritters who themselves lack the firsthand experience of the military portion of the military-industrial complex.
God help us all.