Every military base had either a remote feeder broadcast or an on-base facility. Programming arrived weekly in the form of massive 20 inch vinyl records that had the latest music or professionally recorded shows. The local radio station could set up programming which was usually a combination of music and the AFRTS programming.
The studio was simple with two turn tables, a cigarette stained microphone, a 24 hour clock and a library of 20 inch vinyls with music and programs, many going back to the forties.
My regular duties were on shift so in off- time I could fill in for regulars, who were sick or on leave. It was a fun break from the stress and tedium of my job. I always was true to the program of the regular slot, so for me it could be anything from bluegrass to classical.
I occasionally substituted for a rifted Lt Col, bomber pilot, reduced to a technical sergeant, who then jockyed turntables instead of jets. The chain smoking colonel told great stories and played great music from the forties and fifties. I learned to love the elegant music of the period.
One of the colonel's favorites was "Begin the Beguine", a song written by Cole Porter for a Broadway musical, Jubilee. Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell did a classic dance to an instrumental version in the Broadway Melody of 1940. Every time the colonel played it he would say, " Begin the begin, and remember to do the doable." That would be some good advice for President Bush about Iraq.
The president is a goose with clipped wings. He can honk but he cannot fly. He talked about being humble and events have reduced him to it.
This paradoxically chains him to his past but also frees him from it. It presents him with an opportunity to develop a sustainable realistic plan to replace his broken if not failed dream. To do this, he needs to do what he claimed when he ran for President and that was to be a consensus builder. He needs to sit with some sensible and responsible Democrats and Republicans that know and understand the absurd posture that the US faces in Iraq. They need to be Americans first, and recognize that Iraq is a generational problem and will not be solved in six months. A weekend gathering in Camp David would be a good place to start.
He could start with a pleasant dinner, accompanied by some Cole Porter. Assume this could be done and you were setting the agenda. I ask you three question:
- Which Democrats and Republicans would you invite?
- What would be the most realistic goal to be accomplished?
- What practical program could the US commit to that would be sensible, politically acceptable and sustainable to the American voting public?