In the wee hours we awoke to find Tiny (above inspecting the Thanksgiving Lite table yesterday morning) and Baby still fast a asleep. Normally they would have been up and at our eyes, ears, nose and throat with their jaws, claws and crazy-hour dashes across our reclining self in the countdown to breakfast at 4:45 a.m. sharp. Tired but happy hosts of yesterday's gala blogfeast like ourselves, however, they overslept.
Plus ça change . . . Nothing changes but the date. Herewith a timely repost:
November 19, 2006. We awoke early morning to find the totally awesome General John Abizaid, head of CENTCOM, addressing an audience of the best and brightest in a C-Span rerun of a Friday forum at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, where he encouraged his audience to "Think of [the War on Terror] as a chance to confront fascism in 1920, if we had only had the guts to do it." What a treat under any circumstances, but especially when the alternative was all-OJ-book-and-"TomKat"-wedding-all-the-time on the increasingly unwatchable 24/7 cables. The General is a user-friendly Rumsfeld/Cheney, a brilliant, articulate, congenial spokesman for what used to be called The Bush Doctrine and its key "strategery" that dare not speak its name, "stay the course." Abizaid prefaced his remarks with a humorous reference to his appearance before the Senate Committee on Armed Services a few days before, saying he had worn his medals then but was now wearing fatigues, as his formal attire had been bloodied.
Ken, Sol, MB -- who told Tuck she wants to move into our atmospheric Victorian-hunting-lodge-esque living room at once -- Jean and Tuck help themselves to the delights of the groaning board at our elegant Thanksgiving Lite gathering of local bloggers yesterday. It had the festive feeling of our long-ago Christmas parties of friends from the Art Institute, but this time, it was a meeting not of people who happened to work at the same place but of minds, a disparate group who happen to share an understanding of how the world works.
Searching cyberspace for a video of the Kennedy School event to review at our leisure, we came upon our blogfriend Laura Lee Donoho's insightfully titled "Senator Despair vs. General Abizaid," a reference to the moment of truth that we happened to have seen for ourselves last week, when Senator Hillary! in full sourpuss mode had the nerve to chide the gallant and soft-spoken General Abizaid for undue optimism, saying in that you'll-never-amount-to-anything voice that is her signature, "Hope is not a strategy." [Her words have been widely misquoted and are now being presented in news "reports," reflecting the General's response, as "Hope is not a method."] Madame Clinton's question was widely referenced in the media, while Abizaid's reply -- a keeper that belongs in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, not to mention the hearts and minds of his countrymen -- was widely ignored, as it was on Gwen Ifill's PBS show, where her self-satisfied, smirking circle of like-minded Hillary watchers chortled with delight at the General's bitchslapping. His reply resonates:
Despair is not a method. When I come to Washington, I feel despair. When I’m in Iraq with my commanders, when I talk to my soldiers and Iraqi leadership, they are not despairing.
Sol and Tuck and Ken and Teresa and our new blogfriend Jill of Business of Life -- who brought a homemade pecan-and-cranberry pie fresh from her oven -- come back for seconds.
Laura Lee's soldier son had this to say about it all:
I saw McCain and Clinton both beat up on General Abizaid. They are BOTH worthless. Abizaid basically said, hey this is what we are doing given the constraints you put us under, sure we could use more troops but we can’t send more given the military’s force structure (ie we don’t need more troops in Iraq, we need a bigger military period, I guess McCain thinks the Pentagon can arbitrarily make the military bigger whenever there is a need). I just saw Lou Dobbs ranting, Well what is West Point producing nowadays, Generals like Abizaid look like politicians. Another idiot who needs to pull his head out of his ass and figure out what he’s talking about.
Needless to say, Lou Dobbs is not in danger of figuring out what he himself is talking about any time soon.
Don't take my picture! Guests relax in the studio while SpongeBob (upper right) looks on.
Two other contenders for Bartlett's citation this week:
1. President Bush's Iraq/Vietnam analogy ["Peace with honor" need not apply]:
2. US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton re the UN's toxic disingenuousness:
In a larger sense, the United Nations must confront a more significant question, that of its relevance and utility in confronting the challenges of the 21st century. We believe that the United Nations is ill served when its members seek to transform the organization into a forum that is little more than a self-serving and a polemical attack against Israel or the United States . . . The problem of anti-Israel bias is not unique to the Human Rights Council. It is endemic to the culture of the United Nations. It is a decades-old, systematic problem that transcends the whole panoply of the UN organizations and agencies.
Hope may not be a strategy -- or a method -- but national leaders like General Abizaid, President Bush and Ambassador Bolton do give us reason to not yet despair.
Update: Maggie's blesses us with a Thanksgiving Day link.