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In which I sum up the week, more or less

I was suddenly washed over with a feeling of strange bereft-ness. Probably because I've been reading my Flist and seeing how many other people other folks have. While I have been overflowing with the joys of the holidays, I realized I'm spending a lot of money on myself and the three or four people I have left in my life, and that's about it. Oh, sure, Barb has a million billion friends, and I know many of them like me because I'm her sig other, but on the whole, me - I'm alone. My mother is the only relative I have left (who will answer mail, anyway), although her second-oldest brother and his wife will send a Christmas card. I've lost touch with all my friends from school. All my friends from after school have scattered to the wild winds and despite the fact that I've lived in the same house and had the same phone number for nearly 20 years now, everyone I've ever known has simply gone away from me.

Now, this isn't a pity party, I'm not asking for sympathy; I know there's a few real friends there, and I hug them tightly and call them collectively George (you should know who you are). It's just a realization that much of what I have I have because I have a marvelous significant other - including a large part of my "family," who are all in-laws (outside of the law, 'cause of course, the law won't let them be REAL in-laws). I love them, too. I do have a great deal, and I am thankful for each and every one. I just feel - I don't know, I guess it's the time and the right place where I miss my brother and my father and I wish Mom still lived in-state. I've always been an acquaintance-repeller; not sure why. Don't know if I'm too brusque (probably) or too annoying (likely) or just plain irritating (certainly). But those that love me - well, they mean more to me than I can say.

In news that made me happy, the shuttle Discovery launched successfully this evening. Paul Krugman wrote a great big "We Told You So" article which I include for those who can't use the link

Op-Ed Columnist
They Told You So

By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: December 8, 2006

Shortly after U.S. forces marched into Baghdad in 2003, The Weekly Standard published a jeering article titled, “The Cassandra Chronicles: The stupidity of the antiwar doomsayers.” Among those the article mocked was a “war novelist” named James Webb, who is now the senator-elect from Virginia.

The article’s title was more revealing than its authors knew. People forget the nature of Cassandra’s curse: although nobody would believe her, all her prophecies came true.

And so it was with those who warned against invading Iraq. At best, they were ignored. A recent article in The Washington Post ruefully conceded that the paper’s account of the debate in the House of Representatives over the resolution authorizing the Iraq war — a resolution opposed by a majority of the Democrats — gave no coverage at all to those antiwar arguments that now seem prescient.

At worst, those who were skeptical about the case for war had their patriotism and/or their sanity questioned. The New Republic now says that it “deeply regrets its early support for this war.” Does it also deeply regret accusing those who opposed rushing into war of “abject pacifism?”

Now, only a few neocon dead-enders still believe that this war was anything but a vast exercise in folly. And those who braved political pressure and ridicule to oppose what Al Gore has rightly called “the worst strategic mistake in the history of the United States” deserve some credit.

Unlike The Weekly Standard, which singled out those it thought had been proved wrong, I’d like to offer some praise to those who got it right. Here’s a partial honor roll:

Former President George H. W. Bush and Brent Scowcroft, explaining in 1998 why they didn’t go on to Baghdad in 1991: “Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land.”

Representative Ike Skelton, September 2002: “I have no doubt that our military would decisively defeat Iraq’s forces and remove Saddam. But like the proverbial dog chasing the car down the road, we must consider what we would do after we caught it.”

Al Gore, September 2002: “I am deeply concerned that the course of action that we are presently embarking upon with respect to Iraq has the potential to seriously damage our ability to win the war against terrorism and to weaken our ability to lead the world in this new century.”

Barack Obama, now a United States senator, September 2002: “I don’t oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.”

Representative John Spratt, October 2002: “The outcome after the conflict is actually going to be the hardest part, and it is far less certain.”

Representative Nancy Pelosi, now the House speaker-elect, October 2002: “When we go in, the occupation, which is now being called the liberation, could be interminable and the amount of money it costs could be unlimited.”

Senator Russ Feingold, October 2002: “I am increasingly troubled by the seemingly shifting justifications for an invasion at this time. ... When the administration moves back and forth from one argument to another, I think it undercuts the credibility of the case and the belief in its urgency. I believe that this practice of shifting justifications has much to do with the troubling phenomenon of many Americans questioning the administration’s motives.”

Howard Dean, then a candidate for president and now the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, February 2003: “I firmly believe that the president is focusing our diplomats, our military, our intelligence agencies, and even our people on the wrong war, at the wrong time. ... Iraq is a divided country, with Sunni, Shia and Kurdish factions that share both bitter rivalries and access to large quantities of arms.”

We should honor these people for their wisdom and courage. We should also ask why anyone who didn’t raise questions about the war — or, at any rate, anyone who acted as a cheerleader for this march of folly — should be taken seriously when he or she talks about matters of national security.


I was also pleased with :

The Oval Intervention
By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: December 9, 2006

It is not a happy mood in the Oval Office.

Poppy is sobbing, his face in his hands, slumped in one of the yellow-and-blue striped chairs. Laura is screaming the words “Oscar de la Renta” and “rendition” into her cellphone, still seeing red after showing up at a White House gala in the same $8,400 red gown as three other women who did not happen to be first lady.

Bob Gates is grim-faced, but not as grim-faced as Barbara, whose look could freeze not only the Potomac but the Tigris and the Euphrates. Scowcroft is over on the couch, trying to nap while Kissinger drones softly in his ear.

And, of course, there is the Deprogrammer for the Decider, James Baker, perfectly suited in bright green tie and suited perfectly for his spot behind the president’s desk.

The Council of Elders had hoped this Apocalypto moment wouldn’t be necessary. They had assumed that the scorching Iraq Study Group report would have the same effect on Junior as the bucket of cold water that Mr. Baker’s strict father, a lawyer known as “the Warden,” used to throw on his face to wake him up as a boy.

But Junior is trying to wriggle away completely, offering a decidedly cool response to the attempt to yank him into the reality-based community. He rallied his last two allies — his English poodle and his Scottish terrier, Blair and Barney.

He is loath to give up his gunslinger pose to go all diplo. He cleaves to the neocon complaint that it is the realists who are now being unrealistic, thinking the administration can bargain with Syria and Iran, or that the Army can train Iraqi security forces (or, as they are known there, death squads) in a matter of months when they haven’t been able to do it in years.

The Velvet Hammer is undeterred. He’s doing an all-out intervention, locking Junior and Barney in the little study next to the Oval. To stress the seriousness of the situation, they don’t give the president his feather pillow.

The group gathers at the door of the study. “My boy,” his dad tells him between sobs. “We love you. We’re here for you. We’re worried about you. You’re not just hurting yourself, you’re hurting others. This is a safe place. No one’s judging you ...”

“What are you talking about, Dad?” Junior snaps. “I just actually read 96 pages of your friends’ judging me in that cowpie report.” Barney woofs in support.

Barbara can be heard muttering from across the room. “We were right about Jebbie.”

Henry the K lumbers up to the door and in a low Teutonic rumble says: “It’s time we stopped taking care of you and started caring about you. Would you like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?”

Junior is getting even more furious. “You all think you’re so realist. But you’re unrealist. I’m realist. Are you sitting at my desk, Baker? Get out of there! Everyone says you’re so Mr. Ride to the Rescue, but none of your surrender monkey ideas would work. Talk about Pretend Land — Israel giving up the Golan Heights? Yeah, right. And they call me delusional.”

Baker glides up to the door and says, in his most satiny drawl, “Son, I just threw a few D.O.A. ones in there for you to reject so you could preserve your manhood.”

There are sounds of feet stomping. “You say I can’t stay the course but I can too stay the course!” Junior yells. “I can! I can! You say I have to put the two trillion dollar war cost in the budget, but I don’t! You say we have to cuddle up to evildoers in Iran and Syria. Why do you hate the troops? Where’s Condi? I want my Condi!”

Realizing the president is getting hysterical, the group looks at Laura, hoping she can calm him down.

She approaches the door and coos in a soft voice: “Bushie? Listen, now, this is important. How do you get someone audited? Can’t we send Oscar de la Loser to Gitmo?”

Baker gently nudges Laura aside. “Now son, hear me out. We’ve disabled your enablers. Rummy has written his last self-serving memo. Dick’s got his hands full explaining his darlin’ new grandchild’s Two Mommies. Don’t bother calling for Condi. She’s at the bottom of Foggy Bottom. You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.”

It’s not sinking in. “We must achieve our objective,” Junior sputters. “Our objective is success. To succeed we must have success. If we don’t win, we lose. We are the winners. We can’t let the ... we’re in an ideological struggle and that’s why we have a strategy ... AL QAEDA! We must help democracy in Iraq succeed because ... ISLAMOFASCISTS! ... that is the objective of a successful ...”

Barney scratches at the door, trying to cut and run.


And then this article made me delirious with happiness. So it HAS been a happy couple of days, really. The off feelings didn't come around until late this evening, after we watched the final episodes of Full Metal Alchemist (wow, what an intense little series THAT was!) and some early Dr. Who (both versions of An Unearthly Child and Cave of Skulls). It was a good day of shopping and spending and enjoying time with, you guessed it, a great friend.

So I suppose it's just time to reflect, to consider, to ponder, spend a little time on regrets, and then move forward positively. There's too much YAY going on to waste it all on "maybes" and "what ifs" and "oh if onlys" and "if I weres..." To paraphrase Harold Hill, that way you only pile up a lot of empty yesterdays.

For all those who haven't had a chance to see Mark Knofler and Emmylou Harris live, then pick up the DVD/CD combo of their live show - totally awesome.

And on the whole, it's been a pretty good week.

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
doll_paparazzi
Dec. 10th, 2006 05:08 pm (UTC)
You Kats, I'm going to tell you something...it's better to have a few GREAT friends than hundreds of crappy friends. Because you only have so much time to spend, and only so much time living... I have a pretty good friend who has SO many friends that he larks about from person to person. When I ask, "So, what do you have in common with this one?" He usually says, "oh it's a co-worker" Or someone from college... or someone from HIGH School... what does that mean? It means HE is keeping in touch with THEM, so that he goes out to dinner, maybe does some chitchat... and then, comes back to his boyfriend who is left ALONE when he's wasting time on someone that probably could care less about him honestly.

This same friend used to be in choirs and perform twice a year. It was VERY important to him and he'd invite ALL his "friends" to come to his performances. Guess who showed up to these performances? His boyfriend, sometimes his mother and father... his sister on occassion, and me and my roommate. NONE of his so called "friends" would come. And he's invite at least 25 or so of them. And we are talking during the summer AND during Christmas. So you wouldn't have that, "well, I have holiday plans" all the time.

So... well... I think you need to think about quality over qanitity in this aspect. I realize my example here is a little extreme. And this friend will NEVER understand what a true friend is until he loses them all (which I was about to plow him in the head several weeks ago when he did something particullarly thoughtless), but mabe because when I was married my husband has isolated me so much that I was thankful for ANY friend I had that I see even one friend as gold, like you, is enough for me. :)

Hopefully this made sense.
wildrider
Dec. 10th, 2006 06:26 pm (UTC)
Yes, indeed it does. As I said, life in general is too YAY to sit around feeling sorry for myself, but sometimes you just get into the retrospect mode, y'know? *g* T'anks for the thoughts.
sillymagpie
Dec. 11th, 2006 04:50 am (UTC)
See, that's why I don't think of most people I meet as "friends." They're acquaintances. They are nice acquaintances, like the gals from work, but I don't feel that they really qualify as "friends." Then again, I am also someone who uses the "L" word very sparingly.
wildrider
Dec. 11th, 2006 12:35 pm (UTC)
Lesbian?
(Anonymous)
Dec. 11th, 2006 05:18 pm (UTC)
Hee hee hee hee hee!
nutmeg3
Dec. 11th, 2006 01:58 am (UTC)
I'd like to think that even though I knew rahirah first, you're both equally my friend now. Not that I've actually met either one of you, of course - though I hope to remedy that situation one of these days. I have a much smaller f-list and real-life circle of friends than many people I know, but I'm also at least half hermit, so sometimes I feel overwhelmed as it is. And as the first commenter said, better to have a few really good friends to rely on that a bajillion acquaintances.

PS - I saw Emmylou and MK live and I'm dying for the live combo disc.
wildrider
Dec. 11th, 2006 03:17 am (UTC)
I like to think that, too. I can always tell when I've made a friend - I start thinking of them when I'm shopping. (I love buying things for people!) I think these days all I want is to just ONCE be able to use our place settings for 12...

I'm not entirely a Martha Stewart-type, but I love entertaining, cooking, baking, etc. I have all the equipment and do none of the actual stuff - except these days when I fill boxes with cookies and mail them (or bring useless caloric items to the office).
sillymagpie
Dec. 11th, 2006 04:55 am (UTC)
I'm feeling a little low this season myself. I think part of it is that our little New Year's crowd has shrunk to you, me, and rahirah. I like to share things with people, and I miss knowing more people who like the same geeky things I like. I miss tiirz and edgedancer. I miss my geeks...er, peeps...um, geeps?
wildrider
Dec. 11th, 2006 12:35 pm (UTC)
Yep, that's pretty much it. I miss the group - and since I don't make friends easily, it just... there it is. Often when I do meet someone who shares similar interests, they have their own gang already and have no interest in joining another, and I'm a homebody; the tough part of it is, I really want a gang who'll come over and hang out and let me feed them. Therefore I'm thankful for you. *g*
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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