There was a time when we could do anything. Walking on the moon wasn’t a fantasy, it was a reality. Alas, the past seven years we’ve seen the bar lowered by a two term Bush White House compliant to politics and arrogance rather than the difficult choices and compromises that foster real solutions. The result has been the acquiescence of a stronger, more confident American policy and popular consensus of the role of America, both here and abroad. This malaise in leadership nurtures a perception amongst the domestic and global populace that expects nothing more than the usual level of brilliant incompetence. “Our leadership is incapable of anything more” is the general common belief, our leaders aim to please.
Expectations are so low that when an inferior candidate for placement as the top cop in the land is presented, the general response from our leaders is “we can’t expect to do any better, so this will have to do.” Logic has been turned on it’s head. We settle for less, because shooting for better isn’t a an option any more. Better is the new bad. Up is down, down is up. Torture isn’t torture (because they say so and it’s something they truly believe in) when to any sane person, waterboarding is clearly torture.
In the real world, whilst American’s argue about whether the so-called surge in Iraq is working or not working, those human beings whose lives are hanging by a thread because of the war in Iraq and the destabilization of the entire Middle East are experiencing a reality that has nothing to do with the politics of how the US military campaign is perceived or even whether the surge is a success or a failure and everything to do with staying alive. The contrast is striking, and embarrassing.
And, it is costing us dearly. Not to mention the higher cost on the ground in Iraq. Which is the reality check.