Friday, September 21, 2007

The Museum Trip

Our president is a patient man. It's only now and then that he breaks the cowboy code of "no griping", at least in public. But something happened this week that just stuck in his craw. He said he was disgusted. The reason, though, wasn't that some "shoot-for-pay" yahoos, I mean, contractors, had murdered several Iraqi civilians. No, the thing that got the President riled was an anti-General Petraeus ad in a paper paid for by those dirty Democrat snakes at Move On. No one died from the ad, but it's not known whether Petraeus lost any sleep over it.

I'm on a trip inspecting grandchildren. As some of you know, they are a handsome group, but since the oldest around here is still only three, they can be a handful when together. Nevertheless, we (oldest son and I) took two of these little diaper fillers to the local Air Force base museum just to see all the aircraft on display and learn some things about operating in the wild blue yonder.
It was very impressive. On display were aircraft dating from the early days of aviation all the way to today's sky-based weaponry. There were even parts of nuclear warheads to be seen. You could learn some of the data that flying buffs find useful: weight, engine thrust, payload, top speed and wartime assignments of each of a few dozen specimens. And that was just inside the huge museum. There were even more, bigger aircraft kept outside, including the largest of all our strategic bombers, the B-52, and one B-29, the model used to drop atomic weapons on Japan at the end of World War II.
The intended message of the display was something like this: Through sacrifice, bravery and good old American know-how, we have kept you safe to live you lives pretty freely. A little thanks would be appropriate. All right. That's perfectly fair. My thanks to the US Air Force for doing their duty so well for so long. We, the usually ignorant civilians, salute you.
But there was another message there as well, unintended, but unmistakable if considered: We used your tax dollars to create mighty machines of war capable of destruction almost beyond your power to grasp. What you see is just a tiny speck in the vast military power that is ours. We will spend a million times more than what we have already devoted to war if you, through your legally elected leaders, ask us to. And we will stand down too, if asked. But when you ask us to withdraw or redeploy, remember whom you are addressing, and please display some respect.


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