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August 18, 2008

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We all owe a profound debt of gratitude to Andrew Bacevich for his contribution to our understanding of war, politics and democracy. I grieve with him on the loss of his son. What bothers me more is that the sacrifices that have been and are still being made are often not understood -- and thus, seldom appreciated.

Politic had become a plethora of promises, programs, plans and panaceas that have little or no connection to reality. We can't seem to handle the truth anymore. We didn't listen to President Eisenhower when he warned us about the 'military-industrial complex,' and we didn't listen to Jimmy Carter when he warned about the consequences of doing nothing to lessen our dependence on oil. In Carter's case, not only did we not listen, but we mocked and ridiculed and vilified him, much as Obama was mocked, ridiculed and vilified by the Republicans during their 2008 convention.

Like McCain, we cling to our militaristic past and tout it as our salvation for the future without the recognition that the world, warfare --and we, ourselves -- have changed.

We have become a nation of entitled consumers, a nation of such 'dumbed-down" consumers of "news" and information that lies, distortions and half-truths are swallowed whole and without question by an increasingly ideological, uneducated and manipulable public.

The Fox News,' Rush Limbaughs, and increasingly, Lou Dobbs, immediately come to mind -- and yes, even some of the CNN news-persons and analysts like Wolf Blitzer and John King -- who SEEM above partisanship, but who more subtly, but consistently favor John McCain. While a few others seem to have somewhat of an affinity for Obama, they mostly stick to the facts and are less inclined to "spin" their presentations.

There are many other considerations, including race, gender and partisanship, the abdication of responsibility by Congress, the increasingly imperial presidency, the influence of moneyed interests, but this note would never end.

It has become impossible -- as the case of President Carter clearly shows -- for a politician to tell the truth to the American public during a political campaign, for no matter how well-intentioned one may be, it is always easier to persuade, influence and guide the public from within the Oval Office than it is from the space outside the White House fence.

I would never expect John McCain to speak truth from the White House since it proved so elusive to him on the stump.

Yet I, perhaps foolishly, have the hope that Barack Obama will, after becoming the first "real" black President, stand up, speak the truth -- and give us all a chance to hope again.


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