This is supposed to be one of my “weeks off” in regard to any heavy lifting in column-writing.
But, as is so often the case, there are significant news stories which invite comment.
First, what do we do about Iraq? Simple: Get out. Let the Shiites and the Sunnis settle—or fail to settle as they have for centuries—their bloody differences on their own. Stop sacrificing American lives and spending billions of dollars in blood-soaked Iraq.
Eleven Years, And Blood Still Flows
Consider: The United States—with the Senate supporting President George W. Bush with more than 80 votes—invaded Iraq in 2003. The announced attention was to stamp out the threat to Middle East peace which dictator Suddam Hussein was believed to represent.
Eleven years—more than twice as long as the American Civil War or World War II.
And what has been accomplished in the way of bringing peace between Muslim factions which seem dedicated to killing each other, with too many American soldiers having died in the crossfire?
Accomplished? Little or nothing, as evidenced by the current uprising by the Sunni minority in protest against the harsh domination of the Shiite majority.
I am not advocating a policy of American isolation. Commitments in the Middle East (to Israel and Jordan and Egypt, for example) remain firm.
Worldwide, our nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed submarines, our Stealth bombers, our troops in Europe as part of NATO, our troops in South Korea, the missile silos in Montana and North Dakota—all are evidence that America continues to stand on guard against real threats to world peace. And those real threats simply don’t include what happens in Iraq (or Afghanistan).
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The Major Tea Party Question In Nebraska:
Will Ben Sasse Take More Moderate Path?
Another subject getting saturation news coverage is, of course, the supposed threat that far-right Tea Party conservatives have taken control of the Republican Party, dragging it back from a path of sensible conservatism and willingness to negotiate with Democrats to reach compromises which allow our federal government to function effectively.
As I see it, that there is no solid evidence that the defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in his campaign for re-nomination in his district in Virginia June 10 validates the conclusion that is reflected in news story after news story and opinion column after opinion column; i.e., Tea Party conservatives are a real threat to assume control of the Republican Party.
The results in a single Congressional district do not justify sweeping conclusions about Tea Party strength on a day when in South Carolina, Republican Representative Lindsey Graham was re-nominated despite strong Tea Party opposition.
Tea Party Benefited From Maximum Effort
Given entirely too little attention—not even mentioned after the first day’s report—was the fact that Cantor went into the primary election buoyed by poll results which indicated he had a 20% margin among Republican voters.
Too many of those potential Republican voters, apparently, didn’t go to the polls.
Sasse Avoiding Tea Party Path?
When questioned by the news media, Tea Party candidate David Brat seemed surprised and unprepared to say how he planned to capitalize on his victory. He is a Randolph-Macon college economics professor and appeared in need of tutoring in preparation for likely serving as a member of the United States Congress.
Nebraska has a big stake in all of this Tea Party “back to the future” controversy.
Ben Sasse, the Republican nominee for United States Senator, campaigned like a Tea Party candidate, stressing the things he was against. (It was only after the election that the Sasse campaign staff revealed that the flood of low-road attack advertising against Sasse’s opponents, financed by ultra-conservative organizations a long way from Nebraska, had flooded into the state at Sasse’s request, enabling him to pose as a political high-road campaigner.)
Nebraskans must hope that Sasse now has the political wisdom to give proper consideration to what government can achieve rather than Tea Party obsession with what government should be prevented from doing.
There is hope, I believe, that Sasse (who has done a superior job as president of Midland University in Fremont) will now take the more positive road: What can government reasonably accomplish for the common good in a way that Nebraskans of conservative or moderate political persuasion can support without being accused of “selling out” to liberals.
After his election victory, there was a hopeful sign that Sasse recognized his obligation to be for something, not simply a Tea Party-type. He said that it was time for him and his supporters to start talking about things they are for rather than continue to concentrate on things they are against.
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Happy Father’s Day All Year Long
Easy this week to finish on an upbeat note—just tell you of my conversations with our two children, David and Nancy.
Both Dave and Nancy called to wish me a “Happy Father’s Day!” I replied that the call was, of course, most welcome, but that I considered that I enjoyed a “happy father’s day” relationship with each of them 365 days a year and 366 days in Leap Year. And this has been true since their infancy.
Somehow one of my favorite antidotes occurred to me as I consider the blessings of the love which Dave and Nancy and I have shared for so many years. The antidote goes like this:
“I love you more today than I did yesterday.”
An auspicious start, but followed by:
“Yesterday, you really got on my nerves.”
Dave and Nancy each laughed and agreed that a sense of humor is a helpful ingredient in any love affair.
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