Revisiting the Sea of Déjà Vu…

August 11, 2014

again and again….

Winston Churchill has often been erroneously credited with coining the wise adage “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. ” The fact of the matter is, however, that he actually was paraphrasing George Santayana, who made the remark in his The Life of Reason back in 1905. “Paraphrasing” in Churchill’s case, of course, meant coming up with ten words for every one uttered by whomever inspired him, but it doesn’t matter because Santayana was himself pre-inspired. Evidently, the idea hails from as far back as the 6th Century B.C.E when it was said to have perhaps originated with the Greek Oracles, which suggests they in turn had commandeered it from yet earlier predecessors. In any event, the wisdom of the observation rings perpetually true.

Even now, we continue to reissue the declaration as if it were some virgin epiphany, and do everything short of going to war over who said it first and when. Perhaps someday someone will decide that it’s time to work on coming up with an equally tenacious saying instructing the ages how to not repeat the past. Then again, there are still throngs that will step outdoors during a downpour, hold out a palm-up hand, and announce with an air of professional authority that it is raining.

I don’t suppose it matters, really, but the thought did cross my mind while catching up on how the latest manifestation of humanity’s favorite prophesy is playing out in the Middle East. This mind-crossing took place at the same time as I found myself asking out loud “who the hell is arming these ISIS animals, anyway… !?”

The United States has a superb track record of secretly snuggling up to some of the planet’s most unsavory characters in order to influence or manipulate some aspect of global politics, economics, or military prestige to our favor, only to have our largess later repurposed to do the Big Ugly on us in one way or another. Consequently, I couldn’t help scoffing that we were probably ISIS’ silent benefactor.

I wasn’t far off, unfortunately.


Our favorite spot to decide to “fix” in recent years has been the Middle East, although we aren’t the only ones who have a habit of stirring everybody’s soup but our own. As part and parcel of “defending our freedom” by lighting up cities a half a world away, which serendipitously also shoots major juice into our domestic economy, we have made sure to powder the right butts and sprinkle rose petals and free munitions along paths with the greatest potential for a positive return on our investments.

When the falfalel hit the Syrian fan back in 2011, the US, as well as other major global players, poked wet fingers to the skies to determine from whence favorable political winds originated. Since Russia kept poverty and unemployment at bay by manufacturing bullets for Syria’s President Assad, and we still don’t like Russia, we resorted to our usual Bernie Madoff School of Investment Theory and put our chips on the Rebels. Even though they were suspected of having al Qaeda ties and clearly demonstrated an inability to play well with others. As recently as last September, Obama and Company decided the rebels were the good guys.

Now, just a few short and rather bloody months later, the Made in America tools of war that found their way to anti-Assad forces in Syria are popping up all over Iraq as ISIS uses them to eradicate everybody and his dog who doesn’t bow instantly to the ISIS mandated version of strict Sharia Muslim law.

So, here we are again, basking on the shrapnel-strewn beaches of Lake Déjà Vu…, breathing the acrid fumes of spent explosives while we hem and haw over when to don the Superman suit and Go Save the Day.

The United States has an uncanny talent for contributing to the creation of circumstances wherein it would be immoral and unconscionable for us to NOT to intervene and put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

I don’t know who is behind that curtain actually pulling the strings, but the used car salesman with a law degree that does all the smiling, waving, promising, and plays golf while Mosul burns is a serious threat to Woodrow Wilson’s lock on the Worst Foreign Policy President trophy. His domestic performance has been equally disastrous, though many like him. On the other hand, some will follow just about anyone who throws enough of the right flavored candy at them.

So, it seems I may have answered my own question regarding the source of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s weaponry, and how they were able to amass the momentum they presently enjoy.

We have a lot of work to do. While not all of the 535 members of Congress are damaged goods and need to be replaced over the next couple of years, along with the Mr. Glib occupying the White House and his Howdy Doody side kick. Throwing the baby out with the bath water is not a good plan, which means the politics of some of our more extreme right and left wingers could be worse than doing nothing. The trouble is, we have been divided into single reference points at each extreme for so long, I wonder if that broad and varied expanse of reality in between can re-emerge to reclaim rational territory.

Do I know how to run this country?
Heck, no!…but I do know an empty ballot when I see one.

Do I know how NOT to run this country?
Heck yes!…I’ve been taking notes for years now


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