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Great general or greatest general?

It's Douglas MacArthur's birthday. I've always found him fascinating; his life was truly heroic in many ways, and while his failures were pretty serious, his accomplishments were even greater. There's a reason that the Japanese and Koreans, who don't agree on a whole lot else, have memorials to him - the former have the 1948 Constitution and the latter, a mother-huge statue at Inchon. The William Manchester biography American Caesar is perhaps the best (and least biased) of the many done on MacArthur; those who know MacArthur mainly through the extremely slanted portrayal in Anton Myrer's Once An Eagle especially should read it.

One of the criticisms leveled at the antiwar Democrats in Congress and elsewhere is that they have no plan for Iraq. Well, now that Democratic media darling Michael Moore has sounded off, I guess we can't say that any more. On the other hand, since some folks on the Left seem awfully fond of the Vietnam analogies, it seems only fair to remind them what happened the last time we let them knock the props out from under the war effort.

It's fairly slow at work today, which is just as well since I'm thoroughly unmotivated.

I find it horribly, painfully ironic that I used to have a reputation for being skilled with administrative/bureaucratic stuff, because one of my biggest problems in recent years (going back some 10-20 years, really) has been a continuing inability to stay on top of my financial situation. It's as if the sheer number and size of all my bills -especially the medical bills- has utterly swamped my ability to organize and cope with them, so that I'm constantly in crisis mode, jumping from one fire to the next with not nearly enough urine to do more than push back the flames slightly. (There's probably a section of Dante's Inferno that describes this.) This also makes it nearly impossible to make and stick to a budget, except in the most crude and unsatisfactory manner.

In the long term, this will be solved by taking a job that pays more in a location with a lower cost of living, and one that reduces some of my hideous debt load to boot, but in the short term things are going to suck for a while and I don't really see any way out of it. There's a limit to how much more expense I can cut from my life; the few remaining discretionary expenditures I have wouldn't make much of an impact in the situation, and replacing/disposing of the Sportage isn't really an option either.

I think I'm going to go have lunch, try not to think about it for a while, and see if I can work on getting the whole thing summarized tonight after I get home.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
sqotty
Jan. 26th, 2007 08:11 pm (UTC)
MacArthur's B-Day?
Thanks for the reminder...was not aware it was his B-Day today. MacArthru was truly one of the greats. And a Medal of Honor winner. Tough act to top.
wombat_socho
Jan. 26th, 2007 11:22 pm (UTC)
Re: MacArthur's B-Day?
Yup. Only father & son duo to win the Medal (his father won it on Missionary Ridge) until Congress posthumously gave one to TR for San Juan Hill.
digex
Jan. 27th, 2007 05:46 am (UTC)
hip hip for MacArthur - rare essence he

on the Iraq/'Nam things, I think a lot of people are going
far too far with the direct comparisons, but at a meta level
of "this is a hairy situation that the military has handled
pretty well but they have been very much failed by the
civilian command and control" there are many similarities.

It will take years, even decades, to know - but my own personal
guess is that history will not be very kind to Bush, and will be
very harse toward Chaney and Rumsfeld. At least Bush has the
Office to kind of hide behind and deflect some of the criticism,
but C & R have nothing of the sort. I think they will be crucified.

doug






wombat_socho
Jan. 27th, 2007 06:30 pm (UTC)
It all depends on how things work out over the next few months. If the troops and the solid parts of the Iraqi Army and Police shut down the Shiite militias, kill off the Iranian provocateurs who have been helping stir up the shit, so that we wind up with something closer to South Korea than South Vietnam, then I think history even in the short term will not be as harsh as the current media & Democrat leadership might like.

Long-term, I rather doubt that Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld are going to come out of this looking as bad as LBJ, Humphrey and MacNamara. I keep hammering away at the Philippine Insurrection analogy because it fits a lot better than Vietnam, and while I don't think W is the great leader TR was (mainly due to his confounding inability to communicate) I think 30-40 years from now he and his cabinet will be done well by, especially considering how well they managed to keep the war from screwing up the economy. You and I are barely old enough to remember how fucked up things were under Nixon, Ford and Carter thanks to LBJ's insistence on running the money presses flat out so he could finance the Vietnam war and all his worthless social programs; W hasn't made that mistake. I expect to be around to see what happens, with any luck.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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