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Syria, and Whiskey, Weed, and Warren Zevon

Oh Boy! A New War!

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, September 04, 2013.

Everyone is enjoying the prospect of argument over a war in Syria. Everyone. Not everyone will admit it, but it is true, because it allows all the old, old arguments that have existed between the alleged Hippies and the alleged Patriots of years past, both sides to emote for the ages about things 99% of them know zero, nothing. There are those who can wrap up any section of the argument and say 'well, there's stuff we don't know.' I can only hope. This is followed within the template by 'shouldn't we know?'

To review, the Mideast is pretty much in its usual state of stupid war leavened by periodic justifiable civil war and both augmented by slaughters that have nothing to do with religion or nationalities but by tribal level blood debts between families, which serve as gangs. It's pretty much viewed now as the British once viewed Scotland's Highland families - my people - and not without reason.

One of the several disturbing things in modern life in this country is how our police force has become more military and our military has become more like civil police. The idea of police is to keep the peace, and towards that end America has found itself for its own benefit - by which is meant oil - empowered by everyone else to keep the Arab pumps flowing to the west. This allows other nations, far more dependent upon Arab oil than ourselves, to condemn any action on our part while reaping the benefits of our actions.

On the domestic front, this allows the Chicken hawk brigade, near all Republicans, to pretend to military prowess not noted in their pudgy faces or resume. Congress, which deals in the humdrum when things are working, loves to scream and yell about foreign affairs over which it has some, but not much, control. People running for President, an office that is designed to deal with swift executive actions at need, loves to campaign on legislative issues on which the president has some, but not much, control.

We all know that Congress is required to declare war, yet in 1973 we passed the War Powers Resolution which gives the President the okay to use force as Commander in Chief with certain caveats and with a sunset clause.

What the Syria war hinges on is the view that allowing them to use gas on their own people would encourage gas use by others, starting with al Qaeda types. Obama feels he has the power and there is the need, but he has dumped it back in the lap of Congress, where the issue will near destroy current political alignments within and without the two parties. There are the supposed peace lovers who are against it, and there are the predictable types for it. They've been able to argue without any responsibility for their actions for decades. Now, whatever is done, will have their name on it. Congress doesn't like that.

We assume that Obama is telling the truth because he's shown CIA evidence to Congress reps, most of whom agree the evidence is strong. This in contrast to the Bush era 'just trust me' routine that was a complete lie. The namby pambys who can placate their base by always voting for peace will now be confronted with responsibility for that vote, which might guarantee greater violence and national danger. Which means, Obama has told Congress to man up. I like it.

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I want to mention, ten years ago this week, Warren Zevon died of a cancer caused by asbestos. He was only 56, and so a tragedy, but given his life style a near miracle. The songs he wrote were, if not unique, unusual in the pop field. David Letterman, whose fan support approached nobility, simply said he found Zevon's work exciting, his ballads haunting. That, and he was a good guy. Letterman had him on his show a lot not because Zevon was that popular but because he admired him. When Zevon was dying, they talked about it on the air and let him sing songs he couldn't really sing anymore, yet they were moving moments. It was not just great television, but a great gesture and great art.

One song on his posthumous last album, The Wind, was Keep Me In Your Heart, a description of dying and an explosion of love for his family that was yet reined in by the phrase '...for a while' that kept it from being a maudlin ballad. Be real. Meanwhile, enjoy every sandwich. Good advice.