Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My golf education

I did the unthinkable yesterday. Played golf on a holiday. It was predictably brutal. One of the ironclad rules for living that I have always lived by is …don’t play golf on the weekends and especially if a holiday is involved. Don’t get me wrong, I love golf, the great outdoors, the camaraderie of the fellas, and the opportunity to smoke a fine cigar. But for me golf is a sport to be participated in on a weekday with an obscure tee time like Tuesday at 10:45. If a round of golf cannot be completed in 4 hours or less it morphs into something ugly. It becomes a tedious slow motion death trap. You find yourself watching from a distance 50 year old men plumb-bobbing 4 foot putts. After taking three shots to advance the ball 200 yards, some 65 year old retiree in lime green Bermuda shorts stands in the middle of a fairway confidently waiting for the foursome on the green to clear before he hits what is sure to be a fabulous 225 yard 3-wood. Meanwhile back on the tee you and your buddies debate the ethics of firing a drive over his balding head. Although all agree it would be “freaking hilarious” the decision is made to be patient. After all, it is pointed out, he is probably somebody’s grandfather.

On this particular day I was graciously invited to join a group of guys from my church who had an early tee time on Memorial Day. I agreed to violate my ironclad rule of living in this case because I actually felt like playing golf for a change. My enthusiasm for the game has considerably waned in recent years what with two kids in college and my only getting worse with age impatience with anything that forces me to wait for stuff. But on this day I was excited to get out on the golf course. At this point I should point out that my last purchase of golf equipment occurred pre-millennium. I bought a driver which at the time was all the rage 15 years ago. It was called the “Blue Rage” and it was manufactured by a company that no longer exists I think. I have a set of Titleist irons that are the same age as my son. My putter is the putter I bought back before I got married. Anyway, you get the picture.

When we get to the first tee it started. I look around at the equipment that these guys are packing and I feel like an old man sitting on a plastic chair at the Royal shop waiting to pick up his repaired typewriter! When I pull out my trusty old Blue Rage the fellas start with the jokes…” Nice driver Mr. Trevino, can I have your autograph?” I look around at the drivers around me and they all look like croquet mallets only shiny and metallic and quite intimidating with all sorts of cool technology like little screws that you can turn to alter the balance or to play a fade or a draw. And it wasn’t just the drivers, these guys had incredibly gleaming irons and space age looking putters. The best part was when one of the guys in my foursome whips out the “Laser Range Finder 2000”. All you had to do is point this one-eyed monster at the target, peer into the monocle and BAM, the exact yardage to the hole appeared on the screen. It was as though I had walked off the set of the Flintstones and found myself playing golf with George Jetson. I promptly responded by carding an 8 on the first hole.

Thankfully my woefully under-equipped game did improve and I didn’t embarrass myself too badly. My Blue Rage actually out drove her high tech competitors on several occasions and I ended up in the middle of the pack with an 86. Although I was happy with the score and the fellowship, spending 5 hours to do it in 95 degree heat was about as dreadful as it sounds. The cigar was good though.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Book Reviews!!

10. Stan Musial An American Life George Vecsey

Terrific biography of the greatest baseball player that nobody ever talks about. Although he finished his career with over 3600 hits, 475 homers and over 1900 runs batted in, won three World Series titles and three MVP awards and had a career batting average of .331, the fans left him off a 1999 vote to determine the best 25 players of the twentieth century. Why? Mostly because he was boring. He never married an actress, never said anything controversial, and he played his entire career in St. Louis, not New York. Great read that shines some long overdo light on a wonderful player.

11. Men & Dogs Katie Crouch

My list of favorite female writers is embarrassingly short. Its nothing intentional. Its just that I tend to prefer masculine perspectives. So I set out to remedy that with this novel by the highly respected and well recommended Katie Crouch. The book was well written, creative and in spots actually beautiful. But in the end I didn’t care one way or the other about any of its characters. They all seemed shallow and self-indulgent. By the last chapter I wanted all of them to be consumed by the wrath of God for their pettiness and incessant whining. I will not here end my search for fine contemporary female fiction. But my first attempt was a dud. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

12. Knuckler Tim Wakefield with Tony Massaroti

Yes I know. I read tons of baseball books this time of year. I can’t help myself. It’s the game I love more than any other. Tim Wakefield is a rarity, a 42 year old who still plays and one of the last of a dying breed of pitchers who have made their living throwing a knuckleball. Add to that the fact that he plays for the Red Sox, my favorite team and there was no way I wasn’t going to slap down the 28 bucks for this hardback. It did not disappoint. Wake is as tough a competitor as anyone who ever played the game, but he has done so for over 15 years without making enemies. Friends and foes alike all admire him and want their kids to be like him, none more so than Joe Torre the manager of the arch rival Yankees who famously placed a call into the visitors locker room after the Red Sox had come back from being down 3-0 to win the 2004 American League title…just to personally congratulate him. That’s the ultimate respect…and no player deserved it more than Tim Wakefield.

13. Love Wins Rob Bell

Whenever a book by an evangelical shoots up to the top of the New York Times Bestseller list it gets my attention. I saw Mr. Bell interviewed on CNN and he was awful, tying himself into a pretzel of contradictions trying to explain/defend his thesis that essentially 2000 years of orthodox theology about the nature of salvation, the meaning of the cross, and mankind’s eternal destiny..well..has just been a huge misunderstanding! I run over to Barnes & Nobel immediately to see what all the fuss was about expecting a giant door-stop of a book outlining this dramatic departure from biblical doctrine. Something between Augustine’s City of God and a dusty tome by Martin Luther. Instead what I found was a cute little pamphlet of a book with artsy indentations and tiny little paragraphs of simplistic non- sequiturs. Although Bell does at times stumble into some brilliant observations, mostly he just asks question after question like some breathless sophomore in a theology class. I’m sorry, if you’re asking me to turn my back on the work of brilliant men over twenty centuries, if you’re asking me to turn aside central doctrines about the meaning of salvation and eternity you’re going to have to do better than this thin gruel of a book.

14. Bonhoeffer Pastor Martyr Prophet and Spy Erik Metaxas

After Love Wins I felt the need to wash my brain out with soap, so I went 180 degrees in the other direction looking for a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer figuring that I needed to read about someone for whom Christianity had consequences. This book was simply transformational. One cannot help but be overwhelmed by the power of his mind, the sweep of his story and the sadness of its end. To see how this great man was transformed by the times he lived through from being a man of reflection and theory to being a man of action, bravery and defiance is inspiring to behold. And it raises the quiet question in your heart with the turn of each page..”would I have been as strong?” Long after the Rob Bells of this world will have faded from memory, future generations of Christians will still marvel at and be challenged by the life and thoughts of D. Bonhoeffer.

15. Meditations On The Psalms D. Bonhoeffer

OK..after reading ABOUT him I just had to read something BY him so this collection of sermons and meditations on his favorite book of the Bible was the one I chose. Some of them were written during the 18 months he spent in Nazi prisons which only added to their emotional power. Missing are the cute stories and platitudinous blather that pass for sermons today. Every word had meaning. The time was short and he had something to say and the urgency and gravity of the hour leaps off the pages. Beautiful and convicting stuff.

16. Collected Poems 1909-1962 T. S. Eliot

I try. I really really try to like poetry. Part of me feels guilty and simple every time I pick up a book like this. I bravely plow through it trying desperately to be enlightened. I mean, he’s TS Eliot for crying out loud! He’s great, right? I read poetry like a child reads an encyclopedia, vaguely aware that stuff is going on but hopelessly clueless. Every now and then I find a poem that I get and that actually stirs me to the point that I experience something of the art that’s there, Byron’s “She walks in beauty like the night…” or Dylan Thomas’ “ do not go gentle into that good night”. But mostly I read poetry and feel dumber for it. No thanks.

17. Alexander The Great Philip Freeman

This is an incredible tale about a giant of a man who by the sheer power of his passion and will conquered the known world…all by the time he was 29. The most interesting part of Alexander’s story is the complex contradictions in his character. He could be generous and touchingly kind one minute and stunningly brutal the next. He was a man of big appetites for conquest, revenge, and sex. Reading how the Macedonian culture was so openly bisexual was a bit of an eye-opener. Here’s the most macho man in history openly cavorting with young boys…very weird. An amazing read primarily because of the glimpse it offers into the ancient world.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

What do seat belts and antsy 5 year olds have in common?

Yesterday started like every other day. After performing the morning routines I got into my car, backed out of the garage and instinctively reached over my left shoulder for the seat belt, pulled it across my chest and heard the snug “click” as it became operational. This has not always been so. When I was a teenager I drove a 1966 Volkswagen beetle which had no working seat belt…among the many non-working things it didn’t have. Once I got married my wife hounded me about my seat belt usage until it finally became second nature. Now I wouldn’t dream of going anywhere in a car without a functioning seat belt. But on this particular morning my car radio was ablaze with warnings about a new State Police initiative called “Click-it or Ticket”. Yes, my all-knowing, all caring government was giving me fair warning this Memorial weekend eve that if I was caught not using my seat belt, there would be hell to pay. “Cops nationwide are clamping down!!”..the commercials warned. “It’s the LAW”!! And just then in a flash of clarity it occurred to me. This is why the United States of America will NEVER get its financial house in order.

Some government agency somewhere had decided to devise a national advertising campaign to bring attention to the fact that law enforcement would be lying in the tall grass of interstate highways all over the country looking to catch us not using our safety belts and if we knew what was good for us we better buckle up. Our government then went to considerable expense ( advertising ain’t cheap ) to remind us that failure to wear a seat belt is now against the law. So now I must add seat belt usage to the list of 39,678 other routine details of my daily life that now has fallen under the scrutiny of my government.

All crimes have victims. If I fail to use a seat belt and have an accident that causes avoidable injury then I and I alone am the victim. My fellow passengers aren’t affected. The guy I hit wasn’t affected because I wasn’t wearing a seat belt. He was hit because I was frantically trying to change the channel of my radio to avoid yet another annoying commercial warning me to Click-it or Ticket! So, why is not wearing a seat belt illegal? What business is it of the government whether or not I wear a seat belt? Under what provision of our Constitution does the authority for such a law reside?

You may say..but Doug, this law is for your own good! The government is using public policy to promote your general welfare. Maybe if there’s the threat of a fine people will be more willing to do the right thing. This law will “save lives”! Suppose I don’t want saving? Am I not allowed to make a stupid decision that doesn’t hurt anyone else? If the government is so concerned with saving my life why don’t they come into my house, go through the fridge and throw out all the crap I eat that’s full of fat and sugar? No..wait. Lets not give them any ideas.

Now, lets get back to our fiscal nightmares and my epiphany. The reason we are doomed is simply this. For every personal liberty loving crank like me there are 7 or 8 of my fellow citizens who are perfectly fine with handing out citations to seat belt rebels. They applaud , indeed, demand that their government “do something” about every problem that society encounters whether large or small, grave or trivial, cost be damned! Don’t believe me? On my commute yesterday after the seat belt ad came news that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has found 500 million dollars of our money to fund a new program called…wait for it… the Race To The Top Early Learning Challenge. Among other issues the program will deal with “5 year olds who cannot sit still in a Kindergarten classroom” Ms. Sebelius noted expertly , “because if a 5 year old cannot sit still it is unlikely that he or she will do well in Kindergarten” The only thing sadder to me than the utter sophistry of that statement is the price tag of her foolishness. We will spend half a billion dollars to get the ants out of juniors’ pants. That’s half a billion dollars that we do not have. But not a peep of protest comes up from the American people because it will be cast as a program that’s..”for the children”. The simple fact is that over the years we have become accustomed to the notion that there isn’t a single problem facing us that can’t be tamed by the application of a government program. If we lack the will to end the small outrages like seat belt laws and billion dollar “why can’t Johnnie sit still boondoggles” we have no chance at entitlement reform. Poor Paul Ryan probably never dreamed that he would be depicted in campaign commercials literally pushing a wheelchair bound grandma over a cliff all because he had the audacity to ask the question..”How in God’s name are we going to be able to pay for Medicare in 20 years if we don’t fix it?” Unless and until the American people rediscover their love of liberty, Democrats will always win the spending argument. I’m not optimistic.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Quanitative Easing in the Dunnevant House

Our nation is currently running a 1.6 trillion dollar annual account deficit. That means we are spending 1.6 trillion dollars more than we are bringing in to the treasury. To fund this shortfall the Federal Reserve sells U.S. treasury notes. 30% of these notes are bought by people and other countries and 70% are bought by the Federal Reserve itself. This is called “quantitative easing”. If my math is correct that means that each week our government spends 31 billion dollars that it doesn’t have, 21 billion of which it borrows…from itself. This is what passes for monetary policy in 2011. I wonder how “quantitative easing” would work in the Dunnevant household? Hmmm…

Me: Hey sweetie. Whatsya doing?

Pam: Oh..just took Molly for a walk and in so doing I created or saved 250 calories!

Me: Awesome! Guess what?! I just got the new Down East magazine in the mail and look at this incredible lake house! Its on Lake Megonticook, only 5 miles from Camden and the price was just slashed to $850,000.

Pam: Honey that’s great but this is probably not a good time to be buying a lake house what with you losing your job and all.

Me: That’s just a temporary setback sweetie. Heck, we’re Americans and we can do anything when we set our minds to. Just think of all of the enjoyment we will get out of this place for years to come. Not to mention the boost this will give to the economy up in Camden.

Pam: Well, when you put it that way, how can we not invest in our future enjoyment and overall standard of living? Who are we to withhold economic benefits from the fine people in Maine. I’m sold! But what about the money?

Me: I will call the bank and work out a bipartisan compromise that will raise our debt ceiling.

Pam: I don’t think that’s a very good idea, honey. One of their rude employees called the other day complaining because we were late on all of our payments. They said something about we were spending much more than we were making each month and that if we didn’t stop soon they were going to be really mad.

Me: HaHa!! Crazy right? Don’t they realize what good things we are doing here?! I’ve created or saved countless jobs over at the Cadillac dealer and Home Depot, not to mention all the financial stimulus that you have provided to Panera and New York and Company.

Pam: True dear…but maybe they do have a point. Are you sure that withdrawing all of the money from our retirement plan last month to pay for our 30th wedding anniversary cruise around the world was the right thing to do?

Me: You silly goose…of course it was!! That’s in our future and we must never hesitate to invest in our future. Think of all of the wonderful memories we’ll create or save on that trip.

Pam: Good point love. Besides, I suppose if the bills pile up too high there will always be Kaitlin and Patrick there to take care of it all after we’re gone.

Me: Exactly! And I’m sure they won’t mind at all. A small price to pay for the wonderful life we gave them. I’m hungry! What do you say we go over to the Melting Pot for a ridiculously expensive six course meal? Take a quick shower while I call MasterCard to inform them that I’m arbitrarily raising my credit limit.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Kaitlin Elizabeth Dunnevant

My daughter turns 24 today. Kaitlin Elizabeth Dunnevant. I’ve always liked the way her name rolled off the tongue. Lots of letters and syllables coming together to make a pretty sound. On her birthday I will take a minute to make a partial list of the many things that come together to make her so wonderful.

* She is the lump in my throat every time I watch Father of the Bride.

* She is the unexpected catch in my voice whenever I brag about her at work.

* In a life of mistakes she is evidence that I got something right.

* She is the smile on my face every time I see a blonde curly-haired two year old in a yellow dress.

* She was the pit in my stomach whenever teenage boys with bad intentions came around, and they all had bad intentions.

* When her softball team lost a thrilling game in the bottom of the last inning she was the only one with tears coming down her cheeks. She may be the most competitive Dunnevant of them all. It’s a glorious thing.

* On the five minute drive to school in second grade I could always make her smile at least once no matter how miserable she was and no matter how hard she tried not to.

* I marvel at the level of discipline she has developed.

* She is the pride I feel when I see her curled up on the sofa reading yet another book. My gift to her.

* When I see her fierce loyalty to friends, her tender heart to the less fortunate, her love and devotion to all things family I realize how amazing my grandchildren will be to behold.

* She is the shame I feel still that I spent the first 24 hours of her life disappointed that she wasn’t a son.

So on this day, may my daughter with the crooked smile, the curly hair, the brilliant mind, stunning beauty and doting father have an awesome day. And tonight at Outback you can have something besides water!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Tale Of Three Mothers

There are three mothers in my life. My biological Mother, my Mother-in-law, and my wife. On the eve of their big day, a few words.

Whenever someone accuses me of being opinionated and strong willed I blame my Mom. She is an amazing woman who shaped me in a thousand ways. My ability to think on my feet I got from her. My passion for travel from her. My curiosity about the world…her. My Mom also infused in me a love for the Bible. Verses dripped from her lips like an act of God, not in the phony forced way of many, but rather it was as if she had literally grafted God’s word to her heart and it flowed out contemporaneously and naturally in conversation. This was a woman who took her faith seriously and she had little patience with those who didn’t. It has been said that my Mother could argue with a fencepost but what is not said is that there exists no fencepost in the world that would stand a chance against her untrained logic. One of my earliest memories on this earth involves my Mom’s beautiful, rich virbrato alto singing “Tell Me the Old Old Story” while giving me a bath one summer night when the fire-flies were pulsing just outside. She had a way of calming me and wrapping me lovingly in her arms before putting me to bed that told me that I lived in the safest place on earth.

Mother-in-law jokes are a National tradition in this country. But for me none of them are ever funny. Although she had many reasons to worry when her daughter announced our intentions ( I didn’t exactly have a spotless resume) she never held back her support for me. In 27 years of marriage she has never once interfered in our lives..not one time. She has always been there for us when we needed her, as dependable as a best friend. She adores her grandkids and would run through a gauntlet for all of us. My marriage is as strong as it is in no small part because of her steadfast loving presence in our lives.

I married my wife for many reasons but primarily because she was so scorchingly hot. In this I was not unlike most other men on our planet. It’s only after the wedding that the luckiest of us discover what an amazing and undeserved windfall we have stumbled into. My wife turned out to be one of the finest human beings I have ever had the good fortune to know. Never was this more evident to me than on the two days that our children were born. I was just not prepared for her strength. I wasn’t ready for her toughness. In the years after I have stood off in the corner of rooms marveling at her amazing powers of organization, her blinding efficiency and the unfathomable depths of her mother’s love. In our house I’ve always had the easy job of making money and being Mr. Fun. I come sweeping in after dinner collapsing on the floor in a pile of tickling and giggles. I had the awesome job of giving them their baths and reading bedtime stories and kissing their sweet faces before the lights were switched off. But my wife had literally everything else. She was the one who made sure they got signed up on time for little league. She was the one who made sure that they turned in their homework, filled out their applications for church camp, got their shots, ended up with straight teeth and remembered to bring flowers on teacher appreciation day. My wife was the reason that our kids made it, the reason that they became the beautiful bright well-adjusted adults they are today. I just watched in baffled amazement and paid the bills. She has simply been the most valuable member of our family for the past 25 years and is the only thing that stands between me and oblivion. Mother’s Day is the day were credit is given where it is most assuredly due. I consider myself blessed that I have three women to praise.

Lucky me.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Circle the Wagons

There’s a funny dynamic that occurs in a family. No matter how much you might fight with your brothers or sisters, no matter how many names you may call them in the midst of knock-down drag-out fights over time spent hogging the bathroom and whatnot something odd happens when someone from outside the family joins in. Its perfectly fine for me to call my sister a loud-mouthed blowhard but whoa be unto the poor soul from down the street who calls her a loud-mouthed blowhard. That’s my sister you’re talking about bud!! Something very similar happened to me this morning when I opened my online version of Der Spiegel.

I was treated to a charming interview with a German Political Scientist who was complaining about the “immature naiveté “ of the American celebrations at Times Square following the killing of Bin Laden. While its true that I have written on this very blog about my own ambivalence on this matter and my own son wrote quite poignantly of his own conflicts, there was something particularly galling about having to listen to this lecture from…a German. This professor went on and on about the unseemliness of American barbarism and our foolish and unnecessary provocation of the Muslim world. Really? A German feels the need to lecture us about barbarism? A German whose Grandfather was probably elbowing people out of the way 75 years ago so he could catch a glimpse of the Fuehrer. I don’t know that a citizen of a nation that plunged us all into World War twice in the last century is in any position to preach about barbarism. His nation gave us Adolph Hitler and the slaughter of 6 million jews. You want to talk about immature naiveté? Ok lets start with every segment of German society rolling over to accommodate the Nazi party in the 1930’s. I’m thinking that maybe there should be a 100 year gag rule on any country that invades all of its neighbors twice in 25 years prohibiting them from opening their pie-holds in criticism of any other country’s foreign policy. So to all German political scientists out there..um..shut up!

Then I moved on to Le Monde and heard all about the French being aghast at the jubilant displays of “American Triumphalism”. Ahh, the French. As irritating as the Germans can be, at least they give us spectacular beer and the finest cars in the world. From the French we just get haughty condescension and the croissant. I can just picture some Parisian sitting at a lovely café at noon beginning his 3 hour lunch break complaining about our triumphalism secure in the knowledge that thanks to Seal Team Six his chances of being blown to smithereens just dramatically declined. We Americans are constantly reminded of the superiority of French society with its bountiful safety net, fine food, and elegance. Wonderful. While our revolution produced the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and Thomas Jefferson, the French version 20 years later ushered in the Jacobin Reign of Terror that claimed the lives of upwards of 30000 Frenchmen, and introduced a new word into the world’s lexicon…the Guillotine. The supposedly superior French society has produced 57 Nobel Prize winners while we knuckle-dragging Americans have somehow managed to win 327. While our military has had to bail out the French twice in the recent past you would think our boys would get a bit more respect from our friends in Paris. Whenever I am confronted with French whining I think about that great Craig’s List add for the French Infantry rifle…”in mint condition, never been fired and only thrown to the ground twice!” Save me from pious hand wringing from a bunch of cheese eating surrender monkeys who folded at the first whiff of diesel fuel from Hitler’s tanks, then formed the traitorous Vichy government to complete their total humiliation. No wonder they are so offended by military success.

So on this day I circle the wagons. That’s my country you’re talking about bud!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Smoke 'Em if You Got 'Em...please!!

I’ve never quite understood why young people are generally more politically liberal than older people. Sure, I know all about youthful naiveté and innocence and how every kid grows up wanting to change the world and all. But there seems to be a gigantic disconnect between the young appetite for activist government policy and the reality of actuarial tables. Let me try to explain.

If kids today knew just how screwed they are they would be marching on every nursing home in the United States with signs that read..”Die already!!!” …and “80 years is enough Gramps!!”. Why don’t kids realize how the baby-boomers like me are taking them to the cleaners and will be forever in the future? My two children will be taxed to the moon and back to pay for Mom and Dad’s sweet pension check from Uncle Sam. And the best part is, by the time they are old enough to collect, we’ll all be dead and their retirement age will have been raised to 85 so if they do live long enough to get any money from the government they will have to spend it all on Dentucream and adult undergarments! And it all started when the do-gooders of the American left set their high-minded sights on cigarettes. That’s right, cigarettes!

In 1950 we were a smoking nation. Watch any movie from the forties and fifties and if you can make out the actors through all the smoke you will see that they have cigarettes hanging from their lips. And they looked so good doing it! Back then fully 46% of the population smoked. Not surprisingly longevity in the fifties was around age 65 meaning we had a perfect system. People loved to smoke and cancer loved to shave 15 years or so off smokers’ life spans. Everyone got what they wanted! Now 60 years later, after banning cigarette commercials, adding graphic warnings to packages, passing thousands of laws banning smoking in public places, smoking is now indulged in by only 21% of the U.S. population and guess what?? We’re living a lot longer…A LOT longer. The average lifespan in the U.S. today is roughly 78 years which means that the average retiree gets about 12 more years of paychecks from the Treasury than he used to 60 years ago. And its not just smoking. Now the “Too-Much Fun Patrol” has turned their gaze on childhood obesity. By all means , lets encourage healthier eating habits among all those elementary school porkers out there so they too can live to be 100.

When Social Security was designed back in the thirties the government was secure in the knowledge that very few workers would EVER live long enough in retirement to actually cost them anything what with all the smoking and diarrhea and influenza killing people left and right. Now look at us. We’ve killed off Joe Camel. Michelle Obama is taking the Twinkees away from junior, and Pepto-Bismol sells over the counter for $4. Throw in seat belt laws, helmet laws, air-bags and the Clean Air Act and what you find yourself with is a nation of future ninety year old tech-saavy Grandmas tweeting their congressmen not to even THINK about cutting their Medicare.

So kids, keep voting that Progressive ticket, and ..we’ll leave the light on for ya!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bin Laden Sleeps With The Fishes

Osama Bin Laden is dead and we are dancing in the streets. He was a vile man who took great pleasure in the destruction of the west and the killing of thousands. I do not shed any tears for him. There is something in the heart of men and women everywhere that longs for justice especially when it is so long delayed. This longing helps explain the spontaneous celebrations. I will not here judge those who have felt the need to blow off patriotic steam by waving flags, singing songs and chanting “USA, USA”. But when hundreds of thousands gathered in Times Square in 1945 and that happy sailor planted that famous kiss on that happy nurse, they were celebrating the end of something terrible. They were joyous because the long bloody mess was over. No one sang the Star-Spangled Banner when Adolph Hitler killed himself. The day after Bin Laden sleeps with the fishes, nothing is over.

But there are questions. Does anyone find it troubling that the man who master mined 9/11 spent the last six years living across the street from a police station in a country that has received over 5 billion dollars in aid from the American tax payer? This is just the latest in a long series of infuriating entanglements that we have gotten ourselves into these past 10 years. Our vaunted terrorism-fighting ally Pakistan has looked the other way for six years all the while cashing our checks. We expend blood and treasure trying to build schools and hospitals in Afghanistan and Iraq, trying to force-feed democracy to people who hate our guts, and then have to listen to a chorus of critics in Europe and the United Nations. Osama Bin Laden is dead. Good. Now, get us the hell out of there.

I cannot leave this topic without praising the skill and tactical brilliance demonstrated by the Special Forces who carried it out. We are lucky that something in this country is still the best in the world. We are fortunate that at least some branch of government is still all about excellence. President Obama also deserves praise for having the guts to take the risk that this operation carried. If it had blown up in his face like the Iranian hostage rescue did for Carter he would be getting ripped apart today since defeat is an orphan and victory has a thousand fathers. But I will save my patriotic exhibitions for the day when those brave men and women finally come home from the endless misadventures of the Middle East.