Tis the spring of our generals' discontent! The parade of military
brass condemning Rumsfeld's incompetence is a refreshing interlude to
the mind numbing spin spewed out every few hours by the good news
boys in the White House. Even more telling is the mass exodus of
junior grade officers bolting the military for civilian life the
moment their obligations are up. The military followed Rumsfeld down
a sewer hole, and the stench has gotten so bad some of them have
decided to come clean and make public what has long been obvious to
most conscious people. The war is going badly!
However, the generals are too nearsighted. While Rumsfeld is
deserving of every public lashing he gets, the brass should also be
condemning this pointless war and the senseless killing that has
caused much suffering at home and abroad. Moreover, they should be
demanding an immediate withdrawal of all troops because they know in
their hearts that having failed in Iraq we will be slinking out the
backdoor at the first politically opportune moment. Yet once again
they remain silent!
Had they demanded immediate withdrawal I might have been more likely
to forgive them for letting the madmen in the White House start this
war. But their public silence aided and abetted Rumsfeld and Bush.
The generals' willingness to remain silent before the war started,
until their pensions were in hand, and stay silent as thousands died
makes it difficult to forgive them now despite their attempt, this
Easter season, at resurrecting their own self-worth.
It is even easy to extent this argument to the tens of thousands of
the public who were gung ho for this war and now have turned against
it. Even though most have removed those yellow magnets from the back
of their cars some of them are already getting excited about bombing
Iran. Again, forgiveness cannot be readily granted to these people
who have cheered as our Army has terrorized the people of Iraq. Yet,
forgiveness will come, but first I propose that all of them, to
include the generals, do penance.
The atonement for their transgressions would require them to be
assigned for a specified period of time, say one year, to tend to
both the graves and the families of the young soldiers who have been
killed as a result of their actions or inactions. Still others would
be assigned to attend the wounded and maimed soldiers at Walter Reed
and other hospitals around the country. After the year was up
attitudes toward war making would be assessed and, if sufficient
consciousness raising had occurred, forgiveness would be granted.
For the Bush crowd of Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld and their minions
forgiveness is not possible. They will find no salvation or
redemption, only the fires of hell.
Bud McClure is a professor of psychology at the University of
Minnesota, Duluth. Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.