Monday, November 28, 2011

Fog and Friction are Stranger than Fiction

That unnamed "senior
Pantagon official" you're
heard so much from.

by Jeff Huber

I took a long enough oxygen break from the novel project (Sandbox Generals) this week to catch a whiff of the story about how we bombed the smithereens out of some of our little Paki pals.  At least 25 of the Central Asian buggers shuffled off to party with however many virgins it is non-terrorist Muslims shuffle off to when they shuffle off.  One thing you can be sure of is that none of the non-Muslims who shuffled them off the face of the planet could give a gnat’s eyelash less where the Hajis hi-hoed to or how many hoes they had when they got there. 

A gram of war truth that managed to sneak under the radarscopes of the Pentarchy’s echo chamberlains at the New York Times was a November 24 story by Andrew E. Kramer about how many Iraqi widows and fatherless children nine years of war in that country have created.  A UN report states that at the peak of sectarian violence in 2006, nearly 100 women were widowed every day. 

I grow increasingly appalled at the number of people, most of whom likely consider themselves God-fearing Christians, continue to support our overseas armed abominations.  Sure, we can look down our noses at the non-sentient masses who are hooked on a study diet of Fox News, Rabid Radio and the rest of the Big Brother Broadcast, but they aren’t the only ones passively supporting our national atrocities.  All those liberals camped out across the country because they’re mad at the rich could long ago have stopped our psychotic hegemony in Iraq and the Bananastans and Libya and in all the 120 or so other places where we’re freeing peace-loving peoples of all creeds and colors and nationalities by relieving them of the burden of existence.  

The Times, our newspaper of revised record, identified the parties who parted the Pakistani patriots from this mortal coil as “NATO aircraft" that “killed at least 25 soldiers in strikes against two [Pakistani] military posts.”  Two major things are wrong with this take of the story.

The first is that "NATO" is propaganda peddler code for "US." The combatant commander of NATO is, always was and always will be an American four-star and hence NATO's commander in chief is and always was and always will be the President of the United States.  Pointing a blood-stained finger at NATO every time one of our cockamamie conflicts turns another corner for the worse illustrates our psychopathic refusal to bear responsibility for our actions.  

Second, "NATO aircraft" are kind of like guns.  NATO aircraft don’t kill people.  People flying in NATO aircraft kill people.  This business of making war more palatable by framing its human toll in terms of remotely controlled violence needs to end.  People in manned NATO aircraft and/or people flying UAVs over Kabul from air conditioned bunkers in Nevada are hands-on killing their victims as surely as the special ops cats who snipe at alleged evildoers from a thousand yards away or skewer them at something less than arm’s length with a high-tech Ka-bar they bought at the “tactical store” just outside the front gate at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek.

We have met the barbarians, and they are us.
The more we’ve managed to depersonalize the horrors of war, the more palatable war has become.  Donald Rumsfeld used to cry like a wet wicked witch about how all the “terrible images” the mainstream media were showing us were turning popular opinion against his Morass in Mesopotamia.  That dose of mind detergent flowed through the BBB until everyone, even a majority of the self-proclaimed cognoscenti who should have known better, believed that they had in fact seen all sorts of grisly war zone violence in the popular electronic and tree-centric media.  In reality nobody had seen anything remotely close to the sorts of apocalyptic horror that we have created in the name of the “9/11” meme.  We have killed well over 50 brown and yellow overseas people for every American who died in the Twin Towers and Pentagon air strikes that the multi-billion dollar North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) failed to defend us against (because, I’ve always suspected, they had already tweaked their radars to track Santa’s sleigh and weren’t looking that closely at jumbo jets veering off their assigned courses and altitudes and on hot vectors for national landmarks).  

But they’re brown and yellow people we’re killing, and they’re halfway across the world, and our gutless wonder press has gone belly up for bull feather merchant marines like Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, warriors whose full time mission it is to wage information operations against the American people, culling us into believing that ou fundamental security hinges upon our support of an exorbitant war against enemies who have no armies or navies or air forces or even a defense budget. 

The likes of General Jeff in this man’s military, along with their trusty little Tom Ricks wannabe helpers in the woefully misnamed fourth estate, also have the programmed masses believing that military leaders like “King” David Petraeus actually know something about the art of war when, as the latest bottom burp with the Pakistanis clearly illustrates, they don’t know their helmets from their mess kits from the things that mark their skivvies.  

"That was close!" says "Revoltin'" John Bolton.
One doesn't need a PhD in post-Clausewitzean bebop theory to understand the truth of Sun Tzu’s caution that “No nation ever profited from a long war.”  But what did the tank thinkers at the Pentagon cook up as their overarching post-9/11 strategy?  The Long War and the Era of Persistent Conflict.  Clausewitz admonished that all actions in war should contribute to the war’s political aim.  But the only political aim the Long War seems to further is to make itself as long as possible, possibly forever or until Dick Cheney and John Bolton and the rest of the New American Centurions draw a “Get Out of Hell Free” card, which ever comes first.   

The Clausewitzean concept of critical vulnerabilities is something the military artist is supposed to identify or create in the adversary, allowing friendly forces to attack the tragic flaw in an enemy’s armor and causing him to collapse with relatively minor own-force expense and effort.  Throughout our persistently conflicted Long War, we have take pains to create vulnerabilities in our own armor.  Especially notable among these right now is our reliance on a line of supply that runs through Pakistan, a country that is as much of an enemy as it is an ally, and one that we consistently double-dog-dare to shut down our flow of war material into our primary theater of operations.  If the guys running the Bungle in Bananastan had been in charge of the Normandy invasion, they would have routed Allied supply lines through German occupied Poland. 

I abandoned earlier treatments of Sandbox Generals because every time I dreamt up some incredibly stupid stunt for Prince Albert and Fix Felon and the rest of the Pentarchs to pull, their real life counterparts would pull something incredibly dumber.  It seemed, at first effort (and second and third effort as well, in this case), impossible to write a farce that burlesques real life events that are themselves parodies of human political behavior.   

But then I recalled how it occurred to me once that the most accurate film portrayal of the American west was probably Blazing Saddles.  That gave me the measure of the problem, and I hope to have the current draft-in-progress completed in time for the Baby Jeebus to preview it, or Baby New Year at the latest.

Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) is author of the critically lauded novel Bathtub Admirals, a lampoon on America’s rise to global dominance.


  1. Sun Tzu cautioned that “No nation ever profited from a long war.” But Tzu didn't stick around to notice that the bit of land west of New Jersey and the 12 other colonies has brought some people some profit. Thank you General Jackson.

    Whether Manifest Destiny's continued successful "discoveries" of high-value natural resources being defended by low-value tribal governments, will work so well on lands not immediately settled upon by the discoverers, remains to be seen.

  2. Well considered point, ER. Offhand I'd say that the sometimes-called Indian wars maybe weren't the kind that Sun Tzu had in mind. There's also a matter of proximity: we were actually looking to settle people in the lands we were taking (the old lebansraum game, eh?)

    Thanks for the thought provoking post.



  3. You simply cannot think up shit more stupid than what America's fuck-up-and-move-up officer corps has actually tried to pass off as "strategy" and "tactics" -- from Vietnam to IraqPakIstan. Think Parkinson's Law meets the Peter Principle and you've got all that you need to structure any farcical narrative. Think Warfare Welfare and Makework Militarism. Think Ordnance Expenditure Expedition fueled by Commendation Accumulation Syndrome (i.e., "ticket-punching" careerism.) Think ... oh, shit, I just gave myself a headache.

    You can also just put together a typical string of the brain-dead metaphors -- or thought-terminating cliches -- that normally pass for "explanations" of American military genius. For example:

    "In only another Friedman-Unit or two, the tipping point will turn the corner and begin connecting the dots on the ink-stained flypaper dominoes in the tunnel at the end of the light."

    Or the geo-strategic rationale: "We invaded Iraq to depose a dictator we did not fear so as to deprive him of weapons he did not possess in retaliation for an attack upon us in which he did not participate."

    I've always wondered why the Russians and the Chinese did not supply the Iraq and Afghan freedom fighters with cheap, sophisticated weaponry sufficient to wreak havoc on American forces -- sort of like what America, Saudi Arabia and Israel supplied to Osama Bin Laden in fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. As best I can figure, they could have and would have except that America kept losing so badly to "dead enders" "in their last throes" with practically no weaponry at all -- so why bother? Way worse than Vietnam. The North Vietnamese had an actual army and some SAM missles for cryin' out loud! What to the goat-herding poppy farmers of Afghanistan have?

    Holy shit. We've just gotten our asses handed to us by absolute nobodies armed with absolutely nothing. Sure, we killed a lot of brown and yellow people somewhere who never tried to harm America, but their surviving relatives and friends still chased our asses out of Dodge with our tails tucked proudly between our legs.

    How pointless and humiliating.

  4. Good stuff, Michael. I'll just add that the commie bastards didn't bother to arm our enemies because we've done such a good job of that ourselves. I often cite the report showing that King David handed nearly 200,000 AK-47s to militiamen when he was in charge of training Iraq's security forces.

    I know we've done a lot more of that kind of foolishness, in Iraq and the Bananastans and elsewhere.


  5. Good point about America arming the enemy, Jeff. Nothing new there, either. Mao used to jokingly refer to the U.S. military in China as "My Quartermaster."

    In Vietnam, we used to throw away so much useful material that the new slogan became: "They're killing us with our own garbage!" How come the "improvisational" edge always goes to the uneducated peasant who really hates us invading and occupying his country? For our part, we have to pay college graduate engineers to DESIGN our Rube Goldberg defeats.

    When the U..S. arms conscripted peasant proxies to fight for American interests against their own people, the peasant proxies usually do one or both of two things with the guns: (1) they sell the weapons they don't want to use for food or (2) they use the weapon to rob and rape their fellow peasants, only enraging them all the more and creating hordes of new anti-American "insurgents." Old Vietnam joke:

    Q: What do you get when you arm an uneducated peasant to fight for you?

    A: A bandit who fights for himself and blames you for his crimes.

  6. I agree with your take on the "leadership"(??) of the US military. Every time I think I have seen the absolute dumbest thing possible, these cretins go and do something that tops even that. There is no limit to the stupidity of the generals/admirals of the US military.
    As we used to say in my days in the University of Science, Music, and Culture (aka USMC); rank is inversely proportional to intelligence. The higher the rank, the less brain power used/needed/required etc.
    I also think the Peter Principal applies; cream rises until it sours. Just look at the crap that passes as "leadership" in ANY level/outfit of this government.
    Of course, this sort of comment from me may wind up with me in Gitmo indefinitely if this "bill" currently in the US Senate passes and Gobomber signs it. It will allow the president to declare ANYBODY (US citizens as well) to be held indefinitely if he/she is declared a "security threat" to the country, by, wait for it........the president himself. Nobody can object/over turn that "decision".
    America, what a country.
    Thanks for another great commentary. I'm waiting for that book.

  7. That's quite a bill, isn't it? Just amazing.


  8. I live overseas, Charlie. How do you think I feel about this planet-wide dragnet for any and all "subversive" thought? Perhaps they'll put my cell next to yours at Chateau D'If Guantanamo where we can swap Navy/Marine-Corps jokes through the adjoining bars.

  9. Wor
    From Progressive Review.... and Sam Smith:

    "God appointed America to save the world in any way that suits America. God appointed Israel to be the nexus of America's Middle Eastern policy and anyone who wants to mess with that idea is a) anti-Semitic, b) anti-American, c) with the enemy, and d) a terrorist." - John le Carr, London Times, 2003

    Another one.... too good not to share.


  10. Fabulous, EL. Thanks.