19 September 2007

Orcs vs. Pollyannas

More betrayals of America by Congress today. I understand that august body is down to an whopping 11 percent approval rating, which isn’t a surprise given the greed and nastiness of the Republicans and the equally greedy but spineless hand-flapping of the Democrats.

And what did they rub our noses in today, you ask?

First, the Republicans filibustered legislation that would have returned habeas corpus to the American justice system, thus scotch-taping some of the shredded Constitution back together. In case you don’t remember, habeas corpus is the right of any accused person to a fair trial, as spelled out in the Magna Carta and adhered to by nearly all western democracies. Except ... us. In November of last year, Congress voted to excise that sticky little ... irritant ... from the law of the land. It made it too hard, they argued, for the president to detain people indefinitely, a necessity in these scary days of terror attacks.

Honestly. I remember terror attacks both here and in Europe for years before Sept. 11, and they never made me feel that we needed to exclude the right to a fair trial in order to stop them. Humans that we are, there’s always a chance that people can be arrested by mistake, or on false, trumped up charges.

Sure, my Pollyanna side doesn’t want to believe that happens. But holy hell, after nearly seven years of Bush/Cheney, my Pollyanna side now wears her dresses cut to here, "forgets" her underwear and smokes like a chimney. I no longer believe in inherent good.

The other thing that happened when Congress was in session today was that a noble piece of legislation by Democratic Sen. Jim Webb, freshman from W. Va., which mandated that soldiers be given the same amount of “dwell time” at home as they spend deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan, was ignored in favor of legislation introduced at the last moment by Republican Sen. John Warner, also of W. Va., which was in every way the same as Webb’s legislation except that instead of making the legislation into law, it merely expressed the Congresses’ opinion about how the soldiers should get to stay home for as long as they had to be deployed.

Wow. I think I just wrote the longest sentence I’ve ever written yet.

Ahem. Anyway, it means our soldiers will still serve multiple, 15-month deployments to the war zone with maybe 6 months of rest between tours, if they're lucky. Now, convince me that the Republicans aren’t evil, hypocritical orcs. Go ahead, try. I won’t believe you. Even if your rank-and-file, everyday Republican isn’t actually an orc, he or she supports the orc-leaders wholeheartedly and with mindless gusto. And all their happy crappy about supporting the troops is just that, because you don’t support the successful mission of your soldiers by sending them repeatedly into horror, where they must face the prospect of death or maiming, without so much as a decent rest. And particularly in this situation, when the best reason we can come up with for them to risk their lives is that we need to “fight the enemy there so we won’t have to fight him here.”

Uh-huh. Our soldiers can fight them “over there” with courage and integrity, but that’s not going to stop terrorists from attacking America on American soil if they decide to. Why? You haven’t been paying attention? Because terrorism cannot be fought by conventional military means. It can only be stopped through diplomacy that attempts to address the underlying issues causing the acts of terror, and careful, plodding, preventive, investigative police work.

Anyway. I’m ranting again, huh. I’m starting to wonder why I don’t just give it up. Walk away. Join the majority of my American brothers and sisters and just live for American Idol and low, low prices at Wally World. Be numb. Believe everything I’m told by the voices coming from my TV set. Eat my dinner, every bite of which is laden with hidden sugar, corn syrup and preservatives that are making me fatter by the day and diabetic to boot, hardening my arteries and clogging my veins with cholesterol. Someone has to pay those insurance premiums, though, and what would the drug companies do without corn syrup? And once I’m sick and miserable and probably dying, my medical insurance provider can drop me as a bad risk, laughing all the way to the bank with his big oil and big pharma buddies.

Whooooa Wren. Stop already.

Go take a walk.

P.S.: Wasn't Pollyanna a cute little dickens?


Blowing Shit Up With Gas said...

Yeah, Hayley Mills was something else. My daughter's a big fan of her movies.

My biggest beef with the way we're treating our soldiers, btw, is how we're forcing them to re-up, extending their tours of duty indefinitely. Which, to me, is no different than drafting them.

I wonder how many of our soldiers would hang up their helmet if given the choice?

Wren said...

That's a good question. I haven't seen any military recruitment or retention numbers lately, but I wouldn't be surprised if they were sliding downhill fast.

As to "forcing" them to re-up, I think you're referring to the inactive Reserve forces, people who'd normally be done with their hitch but signed the papers that say they'll be available for a few more years, just in case. I hate the idea that we're calling volunteers who've already given their time back to serve during wartime; that's not very honorable, by my lights. And extending tours is downright dishonorable and disrespects the sacrifice the soldier is making already.

This is a war of disrespect in all its aspects though, isn't it. I know that people will go ballistic if there's a draft, I also think that there's a real limit to what we can reasonably -- or even unreasonably -- ask our volunteer soldiers to endure.

Blowing Shit Up With Gas said...

Just FYI- A link from my other blog on this topic.

MichaelBains said...

Whoa... Now I see needed that Obla Di Da so much this morning!

Ya know, btw, I swear I thought I had you on my side-bar. I've fix that, lemme tell you!

Happy Sunday, Wren. Hang in there, eh.

MichaelBains said...

wow! me no grammar any good right now. D'oh!