Sometimes the events of days past are merely curiosities that don’t offer much insight to the occurrences of today; however, those grainy images of the past often can give very helpful hints as to how matters of concern today might evolve. As the US considers the many issues on its plate at the moment it would be useful if some of the lessons of days past were fresh on the minds of our leaders.
We’ve been Iraq for about 8 years now. The announced and planned “pullout” is really only a partial one and we’ll have thousands of troops on the ground there for some time to come under current policy. We tore up a lot of things and there was damage to lots of infrastructure but not nearly as severe as the damage imposed in wars past. We had a deliberate policy to keep that destruction to a minimum considering we were fighting a war. When Sherman marched on Atlanta in August and September of 1864 he had a deliberate policy of causing as much destruction as possible to both military and civilian targets. He shelled the city indiscriminately. He intended to not only defeat the military force opposing him but to destroy the civilian base and morale. What he did would today be considered a war crime. The entire South was occupied and much of it was laid waste. People wonder now how long it will take Iraq to recover? Well, the South shared a common cultural heritage with the Yankees but it still took over two generations for it to regain its footing and even then remained behind the North in development. It wasn’t until after WWII that the South was truly recovered. Iraq is fractured by religion and ethnic divisions that won’t disappear overnight, if ever, and faces the additional burden of endemic corruption common in all Muslim lands. Bakeesh is the way of commerce and trade there and has been for centuries. Do we want to remain there for generations? Don’t kid yourself into believing everything will be honkey dorey there in only a few years. If we intend to wait until everything is fine in Iraq we’ll be there until my grandsons are serving there. We need to decide what is best for us and take action. All I ask is thoughtful and realistic reflection on how long we want to make this commitment.
Bureaucrats rarely do good in the long haul and can cause untold pain in the short run. Anyone out there remember FERC? It was created under Carter as a response to the second Arab oil embargo. Essentially, that agency was given the power to regulate prices, production and distribution of oil and gas products. It was the answer to the crisis and supposedly beyond for energy independence. What it gave us was very long and difficult lines at the gas station, arcane and fuzzy rules about who got how much gas and when and regulated prices. All of that simply bottled up the market flow of oil products. Farmers got first priority and so did “essential” industries. Most of us at the time didn’t like the high cost of gasoline but hell who wanted to wait and hour or more to simply buy your 10 gallon limit? Even the middle class and everyone else would have been happy to pay an extra 50 cents a gallon if we could only get the gas. What we got was thousands of new government employees assuring us they were from the government and here to help us. We were told repeatedly that everything was working fine. Somehow those assurances rang very hollow while you were waiting in line or disappointed to see the red flag flying at the gas station which meant they had already sold all their allocation for that day or week.
Now the guy in the White House is proposing something similar to rein in the cost of Medicare. The Independent Advisory Board created under the Obamacare program in the agency he has chosen to save us billions in Medicare cost. They will have the power under Obamacare to allocate and designate the payments to our health care providers. In theory that might mean they will keep costs from going up some. But it also means that rationing will be the inevitable result. Those providers might not be able to make a profit. The hospitals that can’t survive economically will close. If the government going to nationalize them? Are we going to conscript the doctors into the army and make them provide services at Captain’s pay? When providers can’t function in a market society then there will be less health care for everyone rich or poor. Talk about losing American jobs. By the mid ’20’s it wouldn’t be surprising to see many of the health care providers moving their operations offshore. We’ll be going to El Salvador for our medical treatment. Whatever the ultimate fix is for Medicare we shouldn’t turn its future over to an unelected group of bureaucrats who control the health care purse. Is Medicare Airlines only a few years away? It won’t be the fox guarding the hen-house, it will be a yapping poodle that does nothing but create so much confusion that the hens quit laying eggs.
To TV pundits everywhere….enough already with the “at the end of the day”. Have they ever considered “when all is said and done” or “the denouement will be…” or even “this will conclude with….” www.olcranky.wordpress.com