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Wed Jul 11, 2018, 07:30 AM

A lesson that Democrats can learn from our military generals.

If there is one thing that military generals continually harp on whenever the US is attacked by insurgents or a foreign power, it is to strike back swiftly and decisively. Every Democratic president who failed to take this route was taken to the woodshed for this reason: Generals know that if you don't stand up to these hostile actions, they will only escalate. If history is a lesson, any escalation is put on the shoulders of the president who did not retaliate.

Clinton was reamed for this for the Black Hawk down incident, even though he tried to bring it to the attention of the public. When he tried to point our attention to that side of the world, the Republicans diluted his resolve by launched a wag the dog strategy, claiming that Clinton was just trying to take our attention from his Lewinsky problem. Clinton buckled, because he did tend to wait for public opinion from both parties. He was a Centrist president. And for that measured response, history, as it will be remembered by Republicans, is that Al Qaeda were given an early, hidden victory.

Eight months into the Bush II presidency, we were hit with 9/11. Who got blamed for this? Clinton, because the Generals claimed that he did not put Al Qaeda down earlier.

And, here it gets interesting. What did Bush II do? He made a decisive attack -- against the wrong people! But that didn't matter. He was applauded for taking action.

The sad truth is that Republicans don't know one dark people from another. I know this personally, because I know someone who lost a son in 9/11. It was a massive loss. There is just no way that I can give proper due to what she felt, and how she overcame that loss, if she did at all. However, decades later, when we discussed the military response from the U.S., and I mentioned that Bush attacked the wrong country her response was, "At least he did something."

That's when I understood how Bush had used the loss, sorrow and pain from the 9/11 survivors for his own purpose. He took us into a wrong-minded war, and Republicans would applaud him for it and demonize the rest of us for questioning his decision. They just do not have a cultural reference point to differentiate between one dark skinned country from another.

Bush II would never be held accountable for his massive mistake -- or from interfering with a proper vetting that would have helped us focus on the Taliban and bin-Laden earlier. The Bushes were allowed to protect their Saudi Arabia alliances, and the division in the American people grew because the facts were never laid out clearly for everyone to see.

Lean Forward. That was the policy that President Obama would use in relation to the Iraq War. He walked away from holding Bush-Cheney responsible. Yes, at least he got bin Laden, but the division between the American people grew because we were allowed to walk away with a different set of facts.

It should not be a surprise that we have great divisions in our country. Simply, Republicans can create their own reality. Democrats just go along with it. It has been that way since the Fairness Doctrine was abolished. Republicans will change the rules where it suits them, and ignore them when they can't and the Democratic leadership does not hold them accountable. The right will cheat, spread propaganda to their supporters and the Democratic leaders always, always opt for civility in response. It is a pattern that has set in because we have not decisively retaliated with a massive counter-offense to stop them. That is the lesson we should learn from our military generals.

For better or for worse, the counter-offensive seems to be generating from the grassroots. Democratic voters all across this county have finally given up on the leadership to lead. I see this because there is a noticeable uptick in the number of ordinary citizens who are standing up to Republican public figures like McConnell and Sanders. They are standing up to them because no one in the Democratic leadership seems to do it. These ordinary citizens see the unfairness that is going on, and they are saying, Enough.

I suggest that we make it very obvious that we know that Republicans have crossed the line. We should pitch in money for a campaign ad that will highlight the facts as we see them. We need a new way to get our point of view through the red firewall of the right-wing media. The message we send should be clear: No, the end does not justify the means in our Republic. When we catch you gaming the system, anything that is decided by your Republican triumvirate is not valid.

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