“The safest place in Korea was right behind a platoon of Marines. Lord, how they could fight!” MGen. Frank E. Lowe, USA; Korea, 26 January 1952 Today is the 238th Marine Corps Birthday. Below, the Commandant and the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps wish a Happy Birthday to Marines everywhere: A message from the Secretary of the Navy: And here is the official Birthday | Read More »
So what can we learn from all this going forward?
1) Don’t draw a Red Line unless you’ve got a nice “or else” ready if the other guy snorts it up off the floor.
2) People outside the constraints of Judeo-Christian morality will resort to WMDs, terrorism and anything else if force pays off better than Pacifism.
3) Military action of too small an order of magnitude to enter into the risk-reward mathematics of a would-be terrorist will only piss them off instead of deterring them.
President Obama failed all three of these lessons. As long as our nation remains this ignorant of the lessons of 9/11, we can expect more terrorism. It works like Hell.
Until September 11, 2001, I worked in the World Trade Center, halfway up Tower One. I wasn’t doing political blogging at the time, but was writing “the Baseball Crank” as a weekly baseball column for the online edition of the Providence (R.I.) Journal. Here’s my account of that day, written for ProJo two days later while it was all still fresh. We run this every | Read More »
Science Fiction Novelist David Drake wrote a long series of novels about a future mercenary band called Hammer’s Slammers. If the price was right and the planet was within reach, you too could hire your very own column of armored vehicles to rearrange the terrain to something that better suited your personal tastes. Our present leadership in Washington, DC isn’t that crass and won’t be funding NASA quite enough to make that happen. Yet Secretary of State John Kerry made a comment to the US Senate that makes me wonder if our venal national leadership isn’t travelling that road in its hopes to get their Syrian adventure approved by a balking and angry Congress.
You see, Secretary of State Kerry was attempting to get people to stop worrying about the cost of all the ordnance and OPTEMPO required to bomb targets spread throughout Syria. So he uncorked some comments that made me think he was a character from one of David Drake’s old pulp military sci-fi novels. Unless he was committing the Mother of All Gaffes, I’m now less worried about Syria than I am about how we intend to finance it.
If you have been wondering why Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor have decided to support Obama’s request to use military force in Syria, despite it being bad policy and being opposed by about 80% of Americans, the answer is easy. They are idiots.
In today’s Washington Post, two conservative congressmen, Mike Pompeo and Tom Cotton, attempt to make the case for supporting Obama’s Syrian adventure. Their defense is based on a religious experience that has led them to conclude Obama will do in Syria what he has already said he will not do.
During yesterday’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the possible authorization of U.S. military action against the Syrian government, Secretary of State John Kerry got tripped up once again with his tendency to be consistently inconsistent. Kerry was asked by the Committee Chairman, New Jersey’s Democrat Senator Bob Menendez, whether the administration would accept a prohibition against having American boots on the ground. In response, | Read More »
In 1961, John F. Kennedy went along with a harebrained scheme to liberate Castro’s Cuba with a small force of expatriates without air or artillery support. One would have thought we would have learned a lesson. Apparently not.
Over the last few weeks as the crisis in Syria has come to a head, I’ve found myself in nonstop arguments about what, if anything, to do. My own opinion started fairly emotionally. I saw dead kids, knew we had bombs, and was fine with dropping bombs on the heads of the people that killed the kids. However, I knew that was probably not a | Read More »
The plans being floated by President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry for a wildly unpopular military intervention in Syria are incoherent on any number of levels. Rather than identify an enemy and seek the enemy’s defeat, the essential requirement for using military force, the Administration is unwilling to declare the toppling of the Assad regime as a goal – despite Obama’s own proclamation two | Read More »
By now, we’ve all gone through the mourning period requisite to accept that any privacy we expected to have as American Citizens is dead. The War on Terror killed it. In a sense, Osama Bin Laden won. He’s spiking the football down in hell as we speak. If he hated us for our freedoms, he should lighten up a bit and chill. Those freedoms are increasingly becoming non-existent – a casualty of war so to speak.
And the people wielding all the special powers we enacted to fight The War on Terror still wield them without any let-up. They wield them without let-up right after they announced the war was coming to an end. So if the GWOT is over and done with, who does the administration consider the enemy? Or worse yet, does the administration even feel the need for an enemy? Do they consider the police state a naturally justifiable equilibrium? All of these questions above are fine and dandy for batting around the dorm hall amidst a cloud of epistemological bong smoke. If you don’t like the answers to any of the questions I’ve posited then here’s the only question that matters: what do you intend to do about it? Glen Greenwald offers one response below.
If we don’t end the emerging American Orwell State, Francis Fukayama and the Dead Kennedys both could be tragically correct. History may well end, and it could end with Bedtime For Democracy. What Fukayama got right is that Western governments would emerge with hegemony over the rest of the world due to their advantages in wealth, culture and technology. What he got wrong was that they would use these advantages to stifle their own citizenry through the formation of what George Orwell described as Oligarchical Collectivism.
To properly assure the uncontested hegemony of an Inner Party Elite, all information must be controlled and censored. How else can both Google and the noble, all-knowing state assure themselves that we’ll do no evil? Well, according to The Washington Post (and other officially official sources within the Ministry of Truth), we no longer need to worry about that.
Despite his clear and popular promises to the contrary, President Obama has not shifted the balance between security and freedom to a more natural state—one not blinded by worst fears and tarred by power grabs. If anything, things have gotten worse.
• Killing civilians and U.S. citizens via drone.
• Seizing telephone records at the Associated Press in violation of Justice Department guidelines.
• Accusing a respected Fox News reporter of engaging in a conspiracy to commit treason for doing his job.
• Detaining terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay, despite promises to end the ill-considered Bush policy.
Or it could be that Ron Fournier had an honest concern dating back to the fateful signing of The USA Patriot Act in 2001. He’s not alone and he’s a man of honor for continuing that concern after his team captured the flag atop The White House. These concerns came to a head when The UK Guardian reported that The FBI had used Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act to justify seizing every phone record from Verizon under a secret order issued in April. According to the Washington Post, the order requires the company to hand these records over to the NSA in a Daily dump.
Perhaps this old song from John Lennon played in President Obama’s head as he gave his recent speech at The National Defense University. It’s decent yet misguided naivete went through mine as I read about The President’s views on our war against Reactionary Islamic Fundamentalism.
Brett Easton Ellis begins his first novel Less Than Zero with a seeming Red Herring. Blair tells Clay (the anti-heroic protagonist) that “People are afraid to merge on freeways in Los Angeles.” This, of course, symbolizes the empty, existential ennui that Easton-Ellis posited as a monster poised to devour the children of 1980’s America. I sometimes feel that I live in an era marked by that monster’s triumphant conquest over what was once a great American Nation. I find myself forced against my will to believe the nation I once loved has succumbed to what I once described as “The Evil of The Blur.” I was born here and grew up here. I served in my nation’s armed forces of my own free will. I wasn’t exactly Rambo and never claim to be. However, I loved America without condition. Now I only remain patriotic to the memory and hope in all my delusional vanity that this is what we can again become. Now keep that in mind as you imagine what Osama Bin Laden thought about America on a typical day.
Let me put down here some facts that are worth returning to from time to time, as arguments over the history of Islam and Islamism are back in the news with today’s beheading in London. In debates over the history of tension between Muslims and Christians, the Crusades are often cited, out of their historical context, as the original cause of such clashes, as if | Read More »