Kabuki Theater - is a classical Japanese dance-drama. Kabuki theatre is known for the stylization of its drama and for the elaborate make-up worn by some of its performers.
Today is the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy. This marked the beginning of the final chapter in WWII. The German Army had been slowly retreating up to that time, as it had throughout the entire time that America had become involved in the war, but that retreat was greatly accelerated after the Normandy Landing. June 6, 1944 really began the phase of the war that signaled the impending end of a maniacal paper hanging demagogue and his crazed mob bereft of humanity bent upon delusional dreams of world domination. WWII, the pinnacle of America's greatest generation, also represented an unquestionable feeling that America was victorious in war. But it wasn't just the military conquest that led to that feeling, it was also the unified and unquestioned belief that we had defeated evil, and prevented evil from flourishing on this Earth.
Now, to be sure, there have been substantial minor disagreements in the manner in which Presidents Roosevelt and Truman acquitted themselves in terms of prosecuting that war. Roosevelt was criticized for not doing anything at all to stop the German effort to inflict genocide upon not only its Jewish Population, but upon all Blacks, Homosexuals, Gypsies, and anyone else not of pure Aryan descent. The general consensus of those observing Truman at Potsdam believed that Josef Stalin left with the impression that our American President was truly a dolt, and this view has been bolstered by Stalin actually verbalizing this belief. Some people feel as though Roosevelt's actions before the war were designed to get American public opinion behind our involvement for economic considerations, and that he saw our involvement in war as the only way in which to finally end our 12 year old depression.
No matter what anyone felt about the side issues however, we as a nation were unanimous in our belief that our President had America's interests foremost in mind, and that we, along with he, were committed to defeat of an evil enemy, and that not only was our very own national security at stake, but that the well being of the world as a whole also hinged upon our success in defeating this evil. This was not the last time our nation was victorious in war, but it was the last time our nation's mission in that victory was supported by an overwhelming majority of our citizens. Often times the dissension has been represented by denigration of those serving in uniform, and that is truly a shame. Putting that aside for the moment however, part of that national consensus comes from the top. Not all of it to be sure, but Presidents are able to help sway national attitudes. Mostly, that has been accomplished by their own commitment to their beliefs, and how steadfastly they've appeared to hold those values.
President Roosevelt was not seen as a ditherer, not somebody with a decision making disorder. His commitment to follow through and insure the success of the troops he'd committed to war was never questioned. There was not so much of a hand wringing discussion and national wailing over collateral considerations. Yes the bombing of Dresden was pointed out as a bad thing once word reached the States about what happened, but nobody had their head called for, nobody declared our President to be a war criminal. The nation as a whole realized that war is not a surgical endeavor. The nation as a whole understood that mistakes are made, and that often times, decisions made in the heat of battle are not always in line with decisions that would have been made through the perfection of hindsight.
Before however, you get the idea to blame today's populace for the constant second guessing that now follows our commanders in the field, stop and consider some differences. During WWII, news reports coming from the front lines of battle were only seen sporadically, often times as the filler played before movies. They were sanitized for family viewing, and edited to only show the positives of the events taking place. Technology, for better or worse, has changed that. There will be no going back. Pictures of battle are shown in real time, and any sanitizing that once happened is a thing of the past. I have heard many of my fellow compatriots complain that Americans in General do not have the stomach any more for the tough battles, and my answer is that we've never really had that stomach to begin with.
We'll use a famous battle from the Civil War as an example of this. General Lew Wallace was initially hailed as a hero for helping to turn the tide at The Battle of Shiloh. But, after a couple of months, news of the sheer carnage at that particular battle began to creep North. After three months time, Wallace took that short walk from pent house to out house in terms of public opinion. Once news of how many were killed and injured at Shiloh found its way into the public purview, General Grant had removed Wallace from field command, placed him in an Administrative position, and publicly blamed him for the horror. Wallace would go on to take command during one more battle of the Civil War, a battle in which he actually saved Washington D.C. from being overrun, and many credit him for actually saving the war for the North with that effort. Even with that bit of brilliance however, he was still heralded as the reason for the debacle at Shiloh, and spent the remainder of his live trying to clear his name of that stain. His Novel, "Ben Hur," was actually a tale of his personal struggle for redemption. Make no mistake about it though, it was public opinion that fomented Grant's decision that someone be blamed and hung out to dry for Shiloh. That bears repeating. It was public opinion during the civil war that fomented Grant's decision that someone be blamed for and subsequently hung out to dry for Shiloh.
What President Roosevelt, for all of his many faults understood, was that it is the fate of Americans that Americans actually care about. He knew that if he sent Americans into battle, he had to send them in with a clearly defined victory in mind, and that the rules of conduct should reflect first and foremost, seeing their safe return as the preeminent issue when discussing rules of engagement. He was perhaps the last American President to fully understand this concept in such a clear manner, and most certainly was the last to use it as the template for his decision making. Before the partisans among you get into a full lather, I can give you specific examples for every single man who followed Roosevelt into office, including Dwight Eisenhower.
Now, I don't want you to think that all Presidents are created equal, or that each is the same as all others before or since. Clearly, some have better records than others in terms of how their relationships with the military might be concerned. Both Bushes were pretty much hands off type of guys in terms of allowing the military to carry out their political will. Bill Clinton's suicidal rules of engagement caused terrible problems for our men in uniform in Somalia, Bosnia, and even on our own military bases here in this country. With all of that however, no matter how you arrange the parameters of measure, one man, or man child if you will, stands head and shoulders above all others as the worst.
Today, I saw a speech delivered by Barack Obama from the beaches of Normandy. Like every single other Obama Speech in which he pontificates upon historical events, it struck me how completely he seems to screw up any cogent historical perspective. Today, professor Obama instructed his history class that the invasion of Normandy was not the heroic action taken by allied forces to thwart the tyranny of a mad man hell bent on world domination. He pronounced it to be the terrible consequence when diplomacy fails, and the world finds itself embroiled in war. He stated at the Brandenburg gates that the Berlin Wall fell because people on both sides of the wall decided that they wanted to live together in peace and harmony and desired to end the hostilities of the Cold War. Lost in that rambling restructuring of history of course was the tiny fact that the Soviet Union collapsed under its own massive weight due to the failure of the exact economic system Obama seeks to inflict upon the rest of us, or any reference to the efforts of Ronald Reagan to see to it that the Soviet threat was met, and indeed defeated, and how those efforts hastened the inevitable end that the Soviet Empire faced. This is the same man who, while campaigning for President, (those of you who only watch the alphabet media probably never heard him utter these words, as that fine group of benighted watch dogs have always seen their, "investigative duties," as a duty to edit away any gaffes he makes,) stated that, "our military would never again achieve a victory in the traditional terms that most Americans would identify as a conventional victory."
That statement while telling, is also dangerous. Worse than that, it is nothing short of a disaster for our nation that a man who could utter such nonsense would be made the Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces. It's disastrous for our National Security, and even worse for those wearing our uniform, who are tasked with carrying out his orders. their lives are of minimal importance to him. It told us in plain language that when he committed troops to battle, he would never have an objective of victory in mind, but only some sort of political optic, in which victory and defeat would remain subjective, and open to nuanced interpretation. If you wished to destroy the moral of a military, that would be the best way to go about it.
What is of importance to President Obama is his worldview being inflicted upon the citizenry of this nation, and the political optics of how he perceives others to view him, personally. That world view is that America's wealth and might are the results of chicanery on the part of America's government. The Soviet Union collapse was due to America somehow stealing the Russian resources, and not due to the ravages caused by top down government control and the hardships inflicted by a command economy. The perception of how others view him of course is the reason for the Kabuki theater. That perception is the driving force behind every thing this man does.
Every time we see this President, every move is scripted, and every scene in which any other person appears, their moves are scripted. For six years now, we have seen his entire term in office as nothing more than a series of spiked footballs, and not one single actual decision made for the sake of a necessary piece of business receiving its due. He dithered on the eventual troop surge in Afghanistan for 8 full months, endlessly worrying about how it would make him look, and finally committed to half what his commanders in the field were telling him they needed. His concern was how to placate his peacenik base, while at the same time keeping hold of his gravitas in light of the statement that Afghanistan was the necessary war, and Iraq the bad war. What was never considered however, was the safety of the troops in Afghanistan, or any success that should be sought there, nor even any definition of what success would mean. The only thing that mattered of course, how Barack Obama would be viewed, and how could we lose in Afghanistan commensurate with what America deserves.
I'm going to assign an exercise to you now. Can you think of one thing this President has done, any speech he's given, or any decision he's made that has not fit within this theatrical template? It's all been lights, smoke, mirrors, and the freakishly over the top make up of Kabuki Theater, with out a single break.
Much has been said over this past week about the Bergdahl repatriation. The Obama Administration and its more fervent supporters have said so many moronic things that it literally would be impossible to swat them all away. One thing stands clear however, and that is that President Obama's noon time presser was staged entirely as another of those Kabuki football spikes. The farcical nature of the entire event, from his procession to the podium with his arm inappropriately around the waste of Mrs. Bergdahl while her husband followed, to the way in which he declared the repatriation and allowed time for a gratuitous fan reaction from the gathered press, ending with the even more inappropriate hugs and kisses of Mrs. Bergdahl at the conclusion, were all designed with nothing beyond optics in mind.
Many have pointed to the not leaving anyone behind sentiment. The trouble of course is that we haven't left yet. Yes the war is, "winding down," but only as far as our own efforts are concerned. It is a unilateral winding down of hostilities. The enemy combatants that we've just returned to battle will doubtless rejoin the fight, and take to the task of killing Americans, those who make up the fodder of Barack's optics. Elections have consequences, and President Obama is certainly proof of that.