August 31, 2013

“How do you ask a man to be the [first] man to die for a mistake?”

Meade IM's a rewrite of John Kerry's famous Vietnam question: "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"

The rewrite is on the occasion of John Kerry's new role as Secretary of Defense State:
Kerry Becomes Chief Advocate for U.S. Attack
Jabbing his finger at the lectern, his voice forceful, his words brimming with indignation, John Kerry laid out the case like the prosecutor he once was, making a closing argument to a skeptical jury.

Again and again, some 24 times in all, he used the phrase “we know” as he described the intelligence that Syria’s government massacred more than 1,400 people with chemical weapons. And then, while saying no decision had been made, he left no doubt that the United States would respond with military power.
Here's Bruce Springsteen in 2007 — back when Bush was Prez and everything sounded different —  yelling and guitarizing the morality of "Last to Die":
Who'll be the last to die for a mistake
The last to die for a mistake
Darlin' will tyrants and kings fall to the same fate
Strung up at your city gates
And you're the last to die for a mistake
I don't know, darlin', but darlin' Barack is President now. Let's check the Springsteen set lists. "Last to Die" is #108 on his most-played list and — by coincidence — it's been played 108 times. (For comparison: "Born to Run" is #1 and has been played 1347 times.) Springsteen has only played "Last to Die" 4 times during the Obama administration, 3 times in October 2009 and 1 last March. (The other 104 times were from September 2007, when it was first played, to August 30, 2008.)

Bruce's current tour is called the "Wrecking Ball Tour" so maybe his more into destruction these days, but I suspect the tour name is just a 64-year-old man's effort to maintain the ethos of rock and roll. Maybe he supports Barack Obama's military adventures, because, you know, it's Barack Obama, man.

I mean, I am just generally wondering, where are all the war protests? I was thinking about going down to the Capital Square this morning. It's a summer Saturday here in Madison, Wisconsin, and the crowds are there, at least for the Farmers Market. There should be some protesters, don't you think? Anti-war protesters, not just anti-governor-trying-to-balance-the-budget protesters.

But I'd like to see Bruce Springsteen whip out "Last to Die" and tweak it to "First to Die." 


edutcher said...

After Benghazi, it must be hard to find anybody who wants to be the first to do anything for this crowd, but kudos to Meade; that little shot at Lurch ought to get much wider play.

Big Mike said...

It's one thing to hate war when there's Republican president who seems to be winning a war. It's another when there's a Democrat who wants to go bomb a country because he's miffed.

Bob Ellison said...

Kerry had a point in 1971, but he didn't understand it. The mistake was lack of commitment, not the decision to make war. Now we have even less commitment, and Kerry is on the warmonger side.

It's too late for John Kerry. You can't fix stupid.

Tank said...

Probably no one's going to die. Most likely lob a couple of bombs in from a safe distance, kill a bunch of brown, but not black, people, and wag his finger and say don't do that again.

If there is an anti-war protest, it will be minimal. I mean, wouldn't such a thing be racist anyway?

Ann Althouse said...

I saw Bruce Springsteen once, here in Madison, playing out on the street, for a rally with John Kerry, back in 2004.

Ann Althouse said...

Come on, Bruce! You owe us.

Marty Keller said...

"Where are all the anti-war protests?" Their silence is exquisitely eloquent; will mass shame follow? (We know the answer already.)

PWS said...

Jeez, I know you want to be "interesting" but I've never noticed such acidic sarcasm before.

The point is a tired and old one: people's politics cause them to take seemingly inconsistent positions. That has gone on for a long time and still goes on all the time at all levels of government and society.

What's interesting about that?

john bord said...

To oppose Obama, gets one the label of racist. So to protest Obama's war, one risks becoming labeled a racist. Calling the Republicans has been successful, to a point of shutting them up. If Obama's supporters want a postie spin on his war mongering, then they will possibly use the racial epitaph on the war protesters. What war protester wants to be labelled a racist. Yet look at the racial overtones of LBJ and Vietnam.

Paco Wové said...

"Probably no one's going to die."

Well, no one the Solidarity Singers care about, anyway.

Michael K said...

Kerry is such a pitiful figure. His drunken wife was in the hospital this summer. I wonder what sort of prenup they have. Will he have to sell the yacht when she goes ? Maybe he talked the first wife out of enough money to be OK. What a creep !

Anonymous said...

Still holding some people to their words and actions, I see, Althouse.

LarryK said...

Brilliant! And where are all the cries of 'chickenhawk'? GWBush at least flew fighter plans (OK over US airspace). Has any US President ever been more of a UN-loving chicken than Barack O?

n.n said...

There were no protests when we bombed Serbia, and sided with one criminal faction to remove another (without concern for cause and effect). There were no protests when we bombed Libya in order to remove a benign dictator. This is part of the doctrine which asserts that launching missiles to poke and prod, then drop bombs on their heads, as a kinder, gentler diplomatic outreach. It is not a doctrine which engenders humanitarian relief. It is a doctrine which invites violent responses from former allies.

edutcher said...

Tank said...

If there is an anti-war protest, it will be minimal. I mean, wouldn't such a thing be racist anyway?

ANSWER was out in front of the White House a few nights ago.

Jim said...

I listened to JFK's speech yesterday. I wanted him to accuse Assad of ,"razing villages in a manner reminiscent of Genghis Khan." He disappointed me.

Matt Sablan said...

The lyrics are just muscular enough not to be mocked.

... Yeah, that reference is never going to get old.

Titus said...

I love Teresa. She is fab and rich.

You know she was relieved he didn't win.

Living in the White House would be a step down for her.

Their home on Beacon Hill is fricking amazing.

NotWhoIUsedtoBe said...

I guess the Syrians are worth protecting but the South Vietnamese weren't.

Maybe because Kerry isn't there?

jr565 said...

From a purely political standpoint bombing Syria makes sense, and is a policy I'd agree with. Not how Barack Obama is doing it, mind you, but I will cede the argument that Syria has to be dealt with. And if a country gases it's people a response from the international community should be forthcoming.

But Obama painted himself into this corner. Once you put down the red line and dare someone to cross it you then have to commit if they cross that line and do something egregious. Otherwise you look beyond feckless.
Imagine, if we dont' respond, Iran looks at our actions and realizes it never has to comply with the international Community on its nukes. Because, what are we going to do? Make a threat they know we wont back up?
This by the way was the same reason why ousting Sadaam was necessary. Once you say "this is your last chance" if you don't honor those words then its' never going to get done. Like the UN passing 15 resolutions. If Iraq stil doesn't comply what are they going to do, pass resolution number 16? Then 17? And if Syria doesn't comply with Obama's threat to not gas it's people what is Obama going to do, put down another red line and say Don't you dare cross that one? And when that one is crossed, don't you dare cross the next one?

Obama has to commit. And if that means we have to go it alone, well then that just proves that all those arguments how we need to build coaltions and pass an international test were bullshit anyway.

But now having laid down the line, he's already been completely stupid about it. If you're going to commit, commit.

Because he's said it's going to be limited and there will be no boots on the ground Syria knows that we're not going to do anything. We've even telegraphed where we are going to bomb them, giving them ample time to move their equipment while Obama vacillates like Hamlet.

jr565 said...

There should also be some commentary about Kerry's remarks about passing an international test whne going to War.
Does a war that only has the US and France pass the International test, lurch?

Big Mike said...

Mark Steyn has a pithy commentary on Syria.

I love the phrase "just muscular enough not to get mocked." Amazingly, that was said by a member of Obama's own administration. Steyn wisely lets it stand on its own merits.

jacksonjay said...

If you do catch any protesters in Madison, please videotape a drummer! I so love protest drumming! A protest is not a protest without some insane drumming!

Mrs. Cass Sunstein has been conspicuously quiet! Maybe they are still recuperating from the Charlie Chaplin Film Festival! Quiet diplomacy indeed!

I have noticed that several of these Obama "officials" like to use Titter for their advocacy. Very 21st Century and all!

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the Democrat love for Assad during the period in 2003-2009 when he was supporting attacks on our Army in Iraq. Pelosi and Kerry were saying things like: “The road to Damascus is a road to peace.”

cassandra lite said...

"Born to Run" is a perfect anthem for both Kerry and Obama. "Born to Govern"? Not so much.

jr565 said...

When Bush was bombing Iraq Springsteen was all "Last to Die". And now that Obama is about to bomb Syria he's all "57 Channels and nothing On".

William said...

"It is fitting and sweet to die for one's country." Ever since WWI, artists and intellectuals (I guess rock singers fall under this rubric) have been choking on these words......How long before the artists and intellectuals start pondering the ironies of dying for a Marxist cause or a war of third world liberation. In those cases where the rebels succeeded, they succeeded in causing far more misery than ante bellum. Who was the last Cuban soldier who died installing Mengistu in Ethiopia?.....The wealthy rock star in his private jet with his designer causes should be as much a figure of parody as the Monopoly millionaire.

Irene said...

I was against war before I was for it.

cubanbob said...

Tank, I wouldn't bet on that. It wouldn't surprise me if the spectrum of Arab/Muslim terror has sleepers in this country.

Ann don't hold your breath waiting for Bruce. It's just not going to happen. As for Lurch, he mocks himself better than anyone else can.

Carol said...

"Come on, Bruce! You owe us."

No. You see, it wouldn't be helpful.

Robert Cook said...

"Kerry had a point in 1971, but he didn't understand it. The mistake was lack of commitment, not the decision to make war."

You miss the point, as well. The US was certainly committed to trying to obliterate as many Vietnamese as possible in hopes of "winning," but we were never going to "win," could never "win." How would victory be recognized, what would it have entailed? We were simply killing to save face, to fight against the chimera of "communist expansion," ('tweren't no sech thing), to avoid losing, (which, after years of killing and expense of American lives and treasure, we did).

We had no real goal in Viet Nam, no objective that was achievable. We were invaders of a foreign land, and those whose home that land was were always going to throw off the outsiders, whether Americans, or the French who preceded us, and who also failed.

This mistake was, yes, in the decision to make war, as it virtually always is, as it is now, as it was in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, etc. etc. etc. That decision is inevitably followed by countless other mistakes and offenses that, in whole, constitute not a mistake at all, but a crime of monstrous dimensions.

Kerry may have been posturing in his post-combat anti-war efforts, thinking forward to how such efforts would reflect well on him when he ran for office, but even as a hype, his protest, and the many who worked with him for the same end who were not posturing at all, were right, even if, as in Kerry's case, only as an accidental result of larger ambitions.

lemondog said...

I'm soooo confused by increasing number of events designed to distract us.

Is this another one of those 'wag the dog' things?

Robert Cook said...

BTW, I've always disliked Bruce Springsteen's music. Give me the New York Dolls, the Stooges, the MC5, the Ramones, etc., any day! Give me the Carpenters over Bruce! (No joke, I like 'em!)

Wince said...

“How do you ask a man to be the [first] man to die for a mistake?”

With a heapin' helpin' of condescension.

hawkeyedjb said...

Well, it may be war but it's not "war-war." So no big deal.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant! I was wondering if that's what Obama would do and he did. Leave it up to Congress. They wanted a vote, now thgoodwill get one and the decision they make will be on their heads. The President stated what he would do.

I'm not sure how I would vote.

JPS said...

I see that picture and my first thought is, wow: Silver Star.

(I realize the circumstances of this award have been called into question. Not wanting to get into that I will stipulate that he earned it, not that that validates his actions and conclusions afterward.)

My second thought is, if you're going to put on any sort of uniform, even for political theater, could you please get a damn haircut? Even the Navy didn't allow hair that long.

Rusty said...

I'm enjoying the irony of this administration looking like the last Bush administration and the Johnson and Nixon administrations.
I was laughing my ass of at Kerry's Powell imitation.
if I gave a damn the unseriousness of it all would be alarming.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what the toll is because of the mistake of electing Barack Obama?

Anonymous said...

That should be, "they will " @1:03.

Joseph of FP said...

What happened to Kerry's "Global Test"?

D.E. Cloutier said...

Re: "I mean, I am just generally wondering, where are all the war protests?"

I hear a lot of objections. Example: "Obama is a huge disappointment to me," a Harvard-educated friend and former Obama supporter told me the other day.

Big protests need time to develop. Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in August 1964. In December 1964 only 600 people showed up at an antiwar demonstration led by Joan Baez in San Francisco. In October 1965 I saw 20,000 antiwar protesters at a demonstration in San Francisco.

- DEC (Jungle Trader)

The Sanity Inspector said...

#HandsOffSyria trended for a while this weekend on Twitter, FWIW.

William T. Sherman said...

There's a code of silence that we don't dare speak
There's a wall between and the river's deep
We keep pretending that there's nothing wrong
But there's a code of silence and it can't go on
Is the truth so elusive, so elusive you see
that it ain't enough baby
To bridge the distance between you and me
There's a list of grievance 100 miles long
There's a code of silence and it can't go on
Well you walk with your eyes open
But your lips they remain sealed
While the promises we made are broken
Beneath the truth we fear to reveal
Now I need to know now darlin'
I need to know what's goin' on so c'mon
Well you walk with your eyes open
But your lips they remain sealed
While the promises we made are broken
Beneath the truth we fear to reveal
Now I need to know now darlin'
I need to know what's goin' on so c'mon
There's a code of silence that we don't dare speak
There's a wall between and the river's deep
We keep pretending that there's nothing wrong
But there's a code of silence and it can't go on

Bruce Springsteen

William T. Sherman said...

"Big protests need time to develop."

LOL. The World Trade Centers were still smoking holes in the ground when the "Stop Bush's Racist War" marches took over Washington DC and other U.S. cites. The anti-war crowd can put on a show when they're motivated, but of course it wasn't (and isn't) about being against war. It's about being against wars where American national interests are at stake.

SDN said...

As people like Glenn Reynolds said, correctly, "They weren't anti-war, they were on the other side."

D.E. Cloutier said...

WT Sherman: "The World Trade Centers were still smoking holes in the ground when the "Stop Bush's Racist War" marches took over Washington DC and other U.S. cities."

Please provide specific examples of large-scale antiwar street protests in the U.S. in the first 12-14 months after September 11, 2001. What cities? What dates? What were the size of the crowds?

(We're talking U.S. here. In some other countries, it's easy to send Muslims from mosques into the streets on a Friday. With one credit card, I can put thousands of people on a street in one of several Muslim countries.

- DEC (Jungle Trader)

William T. Sherman said...

"The most prominent U.S.-based movement groups are Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER), Not in Our Name (NION), and United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ).
ANSWER was one of the first U.S. left groups to form after the September 11 attacks in order to express dissent from the nascent "War on Terror". With the U.S. left divided on the merits of military action against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, the International Action Center (IAC), a group founded in 1992 by former U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark and perceived both on the left[18] and right[19] as closely tied to the Workers World Party. Drawing on that party's tight organization, ANSWER attracted an estimated 8,000 people to their first major action, an "Anti-War, Anti-Racist" rally and march in Washington, D.C., primarily in protest of the then impending invasion of Afghanistan. This rally occurred on September 29, 2001, a mere 18 days after the September 11 attacks. This rally happened several hours after the first national protest against the war, an unpermitted march of 2,000 through the streets of Washington which had been organized by the Anti-Capitalist Convergence."

William T. Sherman said...

"On September 29, 2001, as many as 20,000 people demonstrated in Washington, D.C., United States, denouncing the impending invasion of Afghanistan. The protests were organized by the recently formed A.N.S.W.E.R. coalition. Thousands gathered at Meridian Hill Park (Malcolm X Park) and marched downtown, while elsewhere members of the Anti-Capitalist Convergence clashed briefly with police on their way to Edward R. Murrow park, across from the headquarters of the World Bank and the IMF. Both groups of marchers converged on a rally at the Freedom Plaza.[3]
In San Francisco almost 10,000 people converged on a park in San Francisco’s Mission District to denounce the Bush administration’s plans for military intervention in Afghanistan.[4]
In Los Angeles roughly 2,500 protesters marched through the streets of Westwood.[5]
In New York City 3,000 to 5,000 people took part in a peace march at Union Square.[6]"

gsgodfrey said...

There were protests with several thousand people in Washington DC, New York, Boston, and Chicago in late September 2001 alone, before we entered Afghanistan.

D.E. Cloutier said...

To WT Sherman:

You said "marches took over Washington DC and other U.S. cities." You gave me one city.

I remember that day in Washington. I lived in nearby Annapolis at the time. Law enforcement personnel refused to estimate the size of the crowd. Many news reporters thought the number from the rally organizers was inflated.

But the actual figure--8,000 or less--doesn't matter. I had said, "Big protests need time to develop." I don't consider 8,000 people a big protest in the nation's capital (a metropolitan area of 5.86 million people). A crowd of 8,000 leftists won't change anyone's mind. Remember the 1995 Million Man March? Organizers estimated the crowd size at 1.5 to 2 million people, and park police estimated the crowd size at 400,000. Either estimate made the Million Man March a big event.

Compare the 8,000-or-less figure to some of the protests during the Vietnam War. Back then, antiwar protests drew as many as 100,000 people in large cities. (In those days, I was a U.S. Army soldier, then a newspaper reporter.)

Bottom line: My initial comment didn't deserve a "LOL" from you.

Thank you for responding to my questions. Have a great day.

- DEC (Jungle Trader)

D.E. Cloutier said...

Re: Sherman at 10:08 p.m.; gsgodfrey at 10:12 p.m.

These comments weren't posted when I transmitted my last comment.

My response:

I didn't say there weren't any protests at all.

About 2,500 in Westwood (home of UCLA with more than 39,000 students)?

Less than 10,000 in San Francisco (with UC Berkeley's 35,000 students a few miles away and a total population of 7.15 million people--mostly leftists--in the Bay Area)? Do you realize how much the nine countries in San Francisco Metropolitan Area collectively have changed and have grown since 1965? (Example: San Jose has tripled in size.)

Several thousand people in New York, Chicago, Boston?

Delete the Communists, Socialists, Islamists, and oddballs as well as the college guys trying to pick up "promiscuous liberal girls" and look at what you've got.

- DEC (Jungle Trader)

Craig said...

The first soldier to die in Desert Storm was a student from my high school two decades later and a member, like me, of that school's debate team. It was a navy town where debate is more hazardous than special forces.

Mary Beth said...

Rand Paul just asked the same question on Facebook.

Irene said...

Rand Paul also just asked it on "Meet the Press"--the broadcast on which John Kerry also asserted that Sadam Hussein had used WMD against his own people.

The Sanity Inspector said...

The Left is conflicted about Syria. They had no problem coming out against America after 9/11. While the rubble was still smoking, while the cellphones of the dead were still ringing under said rubble, the Left here in Atlanta rushed out to blame America for both the attack and the coming retaliation. Self-congratulating hothouse blossoms...

Meade said...

How do you ask John Kerry to be the fall guy, go on all the Sunday morning talk shows, and try to cover up for your own leadership mistake?

Jason said...

Cloutier: you just got your ass handed to you.