What is Washboard Express?

Washboard Express is a way for me to express my own opinions, to be a provocative gadfly, by writing a "letter a day" to the President. I may miss a day here and there, because sometimes my family with be my first priority, but my goal is to write a total of 365 letters, representing one full year. To say I have opinions about most things would be to understate the obvious. Those of you that know me, know this is true, those who don't know me, will learn that it's true. The Washboard is a reference to going back to basics and "keeping it clean," so if you would like me to post your comments or opinions on this blog, I only ask that you be respectful. So go ahead, express yourself, and I look forward to an exchange of ideas and opinions.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Day 50...Dear Mr. President... It's time to take our thumb out of the dyke.

Day 50 – June 23, 2011

Dear Mr. President,

Yesterday I expressed my disappointment regarding the withdrawal of only 10,000 of our troops in Afghanistan by the end of the year, and only a total of 33,000 by the end of next year, as not being nearly enough or fast enough. I feel you are on the same slippery slope we experienced in Viet Nam, only we’re spread far thinner and it’s costing us considerably more.

Some people support your decision, and say that we shouldn’t “cut and run” like we did in Viet Nam, and I agree with that. However, this is a much different and much more volatile situation. The Mideast has always been an unstable region, the Governments are either run by Monarchs, autocratic regimes, religious fanatics or as is the case in Afghanistan, different Provinces with different sets of laws and rules.

There is no way we can contain ‘hostilities’ everywhere in the world… even though we have set ourselves up as the ‘Savior’ nation, it is as much a myth as Hans Brinker sticking his thumb in the dyke and preventing the angry waters from inundating his town in Holland. That myth was actually a literary invention by the American writer Mary Elizabeth Mapes Dodge, who was born in New York. In fact, the Dutch children know less about this fable than American children.

So why do I mention this fable and how does it relate to what’s going on in the Mideast? It’s really very simple… we cannot be in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and at various borders around the world. We cannot interfere in Yemen, Bahrain, or Syria… we cannot interfere in the dispute between China, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam over disputes in the South China Sea… we simply cannot be everywhere at once, protecting everyone that needs protecting.  

We can no longer justify our actions by saying the “United States has a National Interest”… We can no longer justify invading another country for their oil… we need to concentrate our efforts at home, and at becoming ‘independent’ of oil. We will never solve the myriad of problems in the Mideast, not with the people, not with the Government.

The slippery slope we are on is one of our own making, we need to rethink our priorities, apologize for our mistakes, admit our limitations, and take our thumb out of the dyke… and accept the fact that we cannot stop the angry waters all around the world.

Most Respectfully,

Your Gadfly Granny
Marcia Reimers

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