Fulcrum Ruminations

Friday, June 17, 2005

Tipping Over

I have an uneasy feeling.

There is an increasingly loud chorus for pulling our forces out of Iraq on some arbitrary deadline. This, of course, would be the worst possible course of action we could take. It would tell the insurgents that all they had to do was wait until the day after we leave, and then they can go nuts. Iraq collapses into total anarchy and becomes Afghanistan II, a haven for every nutjob jihadist on earth.

You can see it coming. From Senator Durbin's assinine statement to the bleating of the chattering classes, who are always ready to be horrified at the idea of America defending herself, the momentum for the cut-and-run is gathering. The spectre of VietNam is rising, and not the way the usual suspects would like. No, it's the stench of retreat and failure that is coming from the rotting corpse of the war in 'Nam. There's a large and growing segment of our population that wants to leave Iraq the same way we left South VietNam - unprepared for the horrors soon to be visited upon it.

Which will also be a huge propaganda victory for the jihadists and no doubt encourage them to attack us again. After all, if we run away when things get tough, we must be that paper tiger the Chinese used to talk about, right?

Fear for the future, gentle reader.

Monday, June 06, 2005

The Fulcrum of History

So now we know who Deep Throat was.

Big, fat, hairy deal.

Seriously. If this had come out around, oh, 1976, 78 or so it would have been a big deal. Thirty years after the fact it's a matter of minor historical significance. Nixon has been dead for years, many of the other Watergate principals are dead, and Watergate itself has been buzzworded out of proportion or any understanding of its importance. Consider how every new scandal that comes along is referred to as "something-gate." I think we'll need several more decades to finally get the proper perspective on the whole sorry affair.

The number two guy at the FBI was leaking inside info to a couple of reporters from the Washington Post. Probably breaking more than a few laws himself in the process, but what the hey, right? It's kind of sad that the whole thing seems to have been motivated by Felt's anger at having been passed over for the top spot.

Nixon remains a figure of ridicule, despite some not-inconsiderable achievements while in office. Coming right on the heels of the VietNam debacle, Watergate did tremendous damage to our sense of nation and our trust in government. It wasn't until the 80s and Ronald Reagan that it was okay to believe in America again.

On balance it could be argued that Watergate showed that the checks and balances built into our government work as intended. A president up to illegal shenanigans was brought to heel by the power of an open press and the mechanisms built into the legislative branch . . . he resigned largely to avoid being impeached.

I suppose it's somehow appropriate that a major figure in the affair was motivated by something so plebian as bruised ego. Somehow, on the fulcrum of history, that probably balances out Nixon's own inflated sense of his own importance.

We'll see what the history books say fifty years from now.