In "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich," William Shirer relates events for which he was present at Godesburg September 22-23, 1938, crucial days when the fate of Czechoslovakia was determined. Shirer related what a German companion told him: "And he explained that Hitler had been in such a maniacal mood over the Czechs the last few days that on more than one occasion he had lost control of himself completely, hurling himself to the floor and chewing the edge of the carpet. Hence the term 'carpet eater.'" "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, 1990 ed., p. 391.
Hitler's drive to conquer anything and everything nominally was for a philosophy, but more related to the shrunken ego of a man who had failed as an artist (how much does an original Hitler postcard of Vienna landmarks fetch these days?) and held bitterness toward the rest of the World, especially pitched for certain segments of that World.
What has come over President Obama. I will make several points, in no order with any goal:
1) He won the 2008 primaries over then-Senator Hillary Clinton, in part, because he pointed out his opposition to the United States invasion of Iraq while Senator Clinton had voted for that military action. After eight years of neo-con bluster and martial orgasm, candidate Obama depicted himself as one to avoid war. He won the Nobel Peace Prize at the outset---for what?
2) Since he took office he has seemed to step up---and maybe the statistics do not bear me out on this, but certainly the impression one garners is of this---United States use of non-boots-on-the-ground means of delivery of death. Drones now are the weapons of choice. We kill (up to 92% innocent targets) without Congressional approval and only a thin veil of explanation about elimination of U.S. enemies.
3) A professor at the University Chicago School of Law (a top-5 law school), Obama taught Constitutional Law. I would like to see videos of his lectures (if any) on Article II of the Constitution, that Article that addresses the executive branch. I heard Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) rip into Secretary of State Kerry over the war powers of the executive branch listed in the Constitution. Senator Paul (an ophthalmologist) quoted Madison, at length, and shredded Kerry. This was one of the infrequent instances in which I agreed with Senator Paul and found his discourse well-founded in constitutional history.
4) What makes poison gas "different"? The numbers of Syrian dead from the past two years of civil war are estimated to be in excess of One Hundred Thousand (100,000). The estimates of the number of dead from the gas attack that drove the United States across President Obama's "red line"---and I heard the comment in the press conference; the "red line" was figuratively drawn by President Obama---resulted in 1,400-some deaths. If 100,000 deaths by machine guns and bombs, over two years, did not make U.S. military intervention critical, what is so special about gas?
5) Russia backs Syria. Russia's ships are deployed in the Med. We really---mark that really, really, really---do not want World War III.
6) No one adequately has explained why the situation requires the United States to act as the Gort for the World. Remember Gort? He was the robot on "The Day the Earth Stood Still." Michael Rennie's character explains at the end of the flick that other Worlds employ robots like Gort to keep the peace amongst them. Yes, in the future, as depicted in 1950s sci-fi, humanoids were not competent enough to stay out of war themselves. They needed robots. In other words, ours is a cyber future.
7) Have computers taken over our World and now pay nations off against one another, all under the illusion that humans control matters when actually the control is in the memory areas and function programs of Cray computers or as-yet undisclosed quantum computers hidden under mountains in some secret installation? Such a development is about the only way I can figure why politicians today act so foolishly in service to the military-industrial class.
I opened this blog with a quote from William Shirer. Perhaps a poem from e.e. cummings is more appropriate. This is off the top of my head, so I might be inaccurate, but the poem is short and I think I have it: "A politician is an arse upon which/everything has sat except a man."
A lot more people are about to be killed. The "rebels" in Syria include elements of Al-Qaeda. And we think we can come out with any positive result from this mess?
There's still hope. Contact your Senators and Congressperson. Of course, I once met Karl Hess, who wrote the 1964 Republican National Convention acceptance speech that got Senator Barry Goldwater in such hot water. ("Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.") I met Hess, who by then had become an anarchist and a tax resister, at U of I-Champagne-Urbana, where he was an artist-in-residence. He was a very gifted welder and had be come disgusted by politics. Several of us went to lunch. Hess pointed to a billboard and chuckled. Anarchists had pitched in for the billboard that read: "Vote (it won't do any good, but) Vote (anyway)."
At least make the effort. Maybe we can stop needless bloodshed spent for egos. If then-Senator Clinton had been elected, at least we wouldn't have so much testosterone at loose.