Andy his accused me of an unseemly vindictiveness regarding the former ISAF commander. And that took me aback, because I like to think of myself as a thoughtful kind of guy, not the sort of streetcorner shouter who hectors passersby about conspiracy theories and the Club of Rome. And, frankly, I know nothing about the officer relieved except what I have read, and the Ghost of Judith Miller should have if nothing else cured me of believing what I read in the papers...am I losing my perspective? Am I ready for my tinfoil hat?
So I took lunch break, went outside in the sunshine, and thought about it for a while.
And I realized that, goddamn it, I AM becoming vindictive, cynical and sour.
I'm feeling vindictive that my country continues to spend bagfuls of money on Great Power games in the global hustings while its economy falters at home.
I'm feeling vindictive that the people who got us in to many of these quixotic (at best) or criminal (at worst) misadventures, who blew smoke up our collective ass, who were proved wrong again and again, are still there, still at it, still trying to convince us that dark is light and down is up.
I'm feeling vindictive that judges are sending poor people to prison for debt while showering the gentle rain from heaven on the oil majors "right" to drill in offshore deepwater despite the ongoing proof that they have neither the experience nor the capability to deal with the inevitable well problems that will result.
I'm feeling vindictive that money and influence make it harder for you to get out from under a $10,000 debt but easier for a Goldman Sachs bankster to slip out from under a cool couple of billion he lost on a bad margin call.
I'm feeling vindictive that my newspaper and television news are virtually content free, that I try and contact my "elected representative" and I get at best a form letter, that my countrymen seem determined to remain clueless and uninvolved while my Army is sent to fight badly thought out and problematic wars.
I'm feeling pretty vindictive towards all those people who seemed determined to keep things that way: from media conglomerates to editors to reporters to op-ed writers. From city councilmen to mayors to governors to congresscritters to lobbyists to Presidents. From admirals to generals to national security advisers to cabinet secretaries.
I'm not one to pretend that my country has EVER been perfect, or that even its recent past was "better" or "brighter" than the present. But it's frustrating and meddening to write and phone and pester my supposed-representative, the one that we theoretically elected after kicking the crony-capitalists and the foreign-adventurers out of office after eight years...and watch the same damn things happening, the same people spouting the same rubbish about the same damn garbage.
Back in the old Intel Dump days I used to get a little patronizing to Charles Gittings because he would lose it with people like MSR or Dionysus. I'm sorry, Charles, I admit it. I would think to myself, damn, Charles, chill, man. We're all here for the discussion.
But I'm starting to find myself coming to agree with Mister Gittings more and more; I think he'd just been staring into the same political and intellectual test-pattern for longer than I had and got angrier sooner.
I thought I was resigned; We Are So Fucked, right? But I find myself becoming, instead of more philosophical, less tolerant and more angry with the powerful fools and the fools in power. Like Charles, I'm having a harder and harder time pretending that everything's going nice and sleek and happy.