Monday, July 25, 2011

Iran Ate My Homework. Again.

26 July 2011

by Jeff Huber

“Uncle Leo” Panetta, our newly coroneted Secretary of Defense, wasted little time in leaping face-first onto the blame Iraq bandwagon.  On 9 July he stated that weapons supplied by Iran had become a “tremendous concern” in Iraq in recent weeks.  “We’re seeing more of those weapons going in from Iran, and they’ve really hurt us,” Panetta puled. 

Panetta, Mullen and Jeffrey agree
on the threat from Iran.
Panetta wasn’t flying solo on this propaganda raid; he had two loyal echo chamberlains on his wing.  As New York Times Pentagon camp follower Elisabeth Bumbler dutifully relayed from her uniformed handlers, “Mr. Panetta is the third top American official to raise an alarm about Iranian influence in Iraq in recent days.”  The other two top officials were Joint Chiefs potentate Mike Mullen and ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey.  Mutt and Jeff say they have “forensic evidence” to back their claims, though neither they nor Uncle Leo mentioned what that forensic evidence might be.  Whatever they’re referring to, historical evidence indicates we’ll never see it. 

The Pentarchy’s bull feather merchant marines have been shooting poisoned information arrows at Iran at regular intervals since around the time young Mr. Bush stiff armed that Iraq Study Group surrender stuff and went instead with the neocons’ surge strategy.  Freddie Kagan, The American Enterprise Institute’s warlord Fauntleroy, published the surge manifesto Choosing Victory: A Plan for Success in Iraq in January 2007. 

Within a month Michael R. Gordon of the New York Times published “Deadliest Bomb in Iraq Is Made by Iran, U.S. Says.”  Gordon had made his bones with the Bush/Cheney regime when he and Judith Miller helped them execute the Nigergate hoax that duped the nation into nodding along with their pet invasion of Iraq.  In their 8 Sept. 2002 article “Threats and Responses: The Iraqis; U.S. Says Hussein Intensifies Quest for A-Bomb Parts,” Gordon and Miller supported their assertion that Hussein was seeking yellowcake from Niger by citing anonymous “officials” a jaw-dislocating 30 times.  The documents that comprised the “smoking gun” were later proven to be poorly fabricated forgeries. 

In making the case that Iran was producing the roadside bombs that were killing so many Americans in Iraq in his 2007 story, Gordon referenced “interviews” with “civilian and military officials from a broad range of government agencies” who “provided specific details to support” a claim that Iran was providing “’lethal support’ to Shiite militants in Iraq.”  Gordon didn’t name any of these officials, or quote them directly or, for that matter, relay any of those specific details they provided other than to state that said details were likely to be revealed later. 

Looks Iranian to me.
Then-ambassador to Iraq and charter New American Centurion Zalmay Khalilzad promised to pony up proof of the allegations outlined by Gordon.  The military trotted out some of its very best PowerPoint palaver for a select audience of embedded media trustees, in which some sad sack major looking to become a sad sack light colonel said the shaped roadside bomb charges being discussed could only have come from Iran.  After the brief the major allowed as how, well, yeah, um, actually, the stuff in the bombs could have been bought at any Radio Shack.  (But Iran people still suck, okay?)

My colleague Gareth Porter correctly noted in Sept. 2007 that the Bush/Cheney administration “has not come forward with a single piece of concrete evidence to support the claim that the Iranian government has been involved in the training, arming or advising of Iraqi Shiite militias.”  To this day, the only existing evidence of an outside party supplying weapons to Shiite militias points directly at “King David” Petraeus who, as commander in charge of training Iraqi security forces in 2004 and 2005, handed out 190,000 (that’s right, one hundred and ninety thousand) AK-47s that vanished like cookies at an AA meeting.   

Porter has also exposed allegations that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons as fatuous.  In early 2010 he published a numbers of articles that revealed the files contained on the “smoking laptop” computer that described Iran’s work on a “nuclear trigger” were as blatantly bogus as the blue-dollar-bill forgeries that “proved” Hussein was buying yellowcake uranium powder from Niger.  But thanks to neocon-backed brainwash breweries like United Against Nuclear Iran (aka UANI), lysergic visions of an Iranian made mushroom cloud over Jerusalem persist. 

An article in last Thursday’s New York Times by Michael Gordon soul mate David E. Sanger badgered us with bull roar about how some development or other means Iran is getting closer to having bomb-grade material because the “United Nations Security Council” has “evidence” of something completely unrelated, and “international nuclear inspectors and American officials” say “evidence” points to something else entirely, and an “Iran expert” at a right-wing think tank says “The evidence is there that they are accelerating” but he doesn’t say what the evidence is or what exactly it says "they" are accelerating. 

Trying to reverse engineer the thought process behind the latest manifestations of the warmongery is always perilous work.  The main assumption involved—i.e., that there is a thought process of any kind behind anything those yahooligans do—is manifestly flawed.  Strategies crafted by neocon tank thinkers resemble model airplanes assembled with sledgehammers.  More than anything, war wonk schemes remind one of ice hockey’s bullyboy dump-and-chase tactic.  Such methods are unsightly and uncreative and brutish, but if you simply keep pounding away at the opposition with them you’ll eventually prevail over things like art and science and reason and, most of all, humanity. 

Why fling the puck into Iran’s end again now?  Partly because that’s how dump-and-chase works; you keep doing it.  Partly because the neocon men need somebody to blame for the recent uptick in U.S. casualties in Iraq, somebody for Americans to get mad at so they don’t stop and think things like Hey, didn’t we end combat operations there a while back?  The war mongrels also need to keep Iran good and boog-ified to justify the coming atomization of our withdrawal timelines from Iraq and the Bananastans.  (Gotta keep the Persian Peril isolated!)  

Iranian Air Force C-22 flying carpet bomber.
The threat Iran poses to the Centurions’ agenda has little to do with that country’s military power or warlike intentions.  Iran can’t project enough conventional force to pout about beyond its borders or the Persian Gulf, and for Iran to strike another country, especially Israel, with a nuclear weapon would be like the entire Persian race mumbling into the barrel of a .44 Magnum.  Iran only becomes a problem when it develops a truly self-sustaining nuclear energy program and it, along with its big buddies Russian and China, wrestles control of the global energy strategy away from Dick Cheney’s pals.  But even control of our most precious commodity is a mere chip, something to contend for that will sustain the great game that has been played by the powerful and corrupt since Winston Churchill molested Muslim geography after World War I. 

In a kinder, gentler, saner America the body politic would have dismissed all this boo noise about Iran a long time ago.  Lamentably, we live in an age when anything Bill O’Reilly says, no matter how asinine or bizarre it is, becomes incontrovertible fact if Sean Hannity says it too. 

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.  

Monday, July 18, 2011

Panetta's an Idiot, What the Frick Can He Tell You?

19 July 2011

by Jeff Huber

Buddy Hackett impersonator Leon Panetta, who just stepped into Uncle Bob Gates’ vacated billet in America’s Pentarchy, has set a new benchmark in ethnic humor.  He spent his first greet-and-grip trip abroad grinding his heel into his tinkle tool, saying more stupid things per minute of media exposure than George W. Bush ever did, and shrugged it all off in an MSNBC interview with “I’m Italian, what the frick can I tell you?” 

"Beats the shipoopi out of me."
Tell me you’re not really the frickin’ Secretary of Defense, Uncle Leo.  Moe, Larry and the Holy Ghost.  Where do we find such bureaucratic twits?  

Panetta began his government career as an Army intelligence officer during Lyndon Johnson’s surge in the Vietnam War.  Military intelligence is to both the military and intelligence what McDonald’s is to food.  Officers in combat branches have to be able to fly airplanes or drive ships or lead frightened young men in desperate attacks against machine gun nests. The only requirement for becoming an intelligence officer is to never know what the hell you’re talking about.  Panetta was discharged after a two-year tour as a first lieutenant and awarded an Army Commendation Medal, a medal normally given to junior enlisted and officer personnel for not getting caught masturbating in the middle of the parade ground at high noon.  (Fair disclosure: in the course of my career I received six Navy Commendation Medals, which shows you how good I was at not getting caught). 

Uncle Leo didn’t claw his way to the top of the warmongery by the sheer inertia of his lack of competence in military and intelligence matters alone.  He was a political prodigy.  In high school Panetta joined JSA (aka Junior Statesmen of America aka Junior State of America).  He was vice president of the student body as a junior and as a senior he was president.  He graduated from Santa Clara University in 1960 magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.  In 1963 he got his Juris Doctor from Santa Clara School of Law.

There’s no mention of Panetta having served in Vietnam, and you can bet a shiny new District of Columbia quarter that we would have heard about it if he had.  It isn’t clear where exactly Panetta did serve, but I’d be willing to double down that he got himself stationed in Washington, just like a lot of wannabe politicos getting their military service block checked on their way to bigger and more malevolent things.  It’s a tried and true career path that continues to be beaten by ambitious youth eager to acquire the creeping corruption that accompanies the incremental accumulation of power.

Why did law school graduate Panetta become an Army intelligence officer instead of an Army JAG?  It’s hard to say for sure, but in Washington lawyers are as common as call girls.  If you’re a Washington lawyer with an ultra top-secret security clearance from your days in military intelligence, on the other hand, you defecate 24-karat ingots. 

In 1966, newly discharged First Lt. Panetta cashed in his credentials on a job as legislative aid to the Senate minority whip, and before he could say “Jimmy Hoffa poured into a pond of poached piranhas” three times, he knew where all the bodies were burid and he was a made guy.  The higher and higher up the ladder the mob kicked him, they more they could trust him to keep their secrets because he had as much blood on his hands as anybody else.

After Panetta rode this gravy train through a series of appointed positions, he switched parties in 1971 and was elected to nine terms as a congressman.  (He reportedly claimed to have left the Republican Party because it had moved away from political the center.  Heh.  The Republican Party hasn’t been in sliding distance of the political center since it was against slavery.)

Uncle Leo left the legislature to become Bill Clinton’s director of the Office of Management and Budget.  Panetta had worked budget issues in Congress, though one can hardly imagine that he ever dirtied his hands on a spreadsheet.  Possessing actual skills involved with areas one works in is for the servant classes, not for high rollers like Panetta.  But his fluency in the Big Schmooze made him a natural to move up as Clinton’s White House chief of Staff, where no asset is more valuable than knowing how to deploy elbows and trim the sails to catch the prevailing winds.    

Eyebrows collided with hairlines, however, when young Mr. Obama nominated Panetta to head the CIA, and his elevation to defense secretary popped optical organs out of their orbits.  Talk about trading one empty hat for another.  It was telling that at his defense post confirmation hearing, Uncle Leo predicted that the next Pearl Harbor could be a cyber attack.  Clue in, Leon.  We’ve already had cyber attacks, on the Pentagon itself no less.

So it’s little wonder that Uncle Leo devoured his feet during his first, uh, trip abroad.  Oddly, though, his witless comments rang of a certain savant veracity.  We may snicker that he told the troops they were in Iraq because of 9/11, but why else was he going to say they were there?  Because their last commander in chief lied to the entire world to justify an invasion that had been on the neocon agenda since the late nineties, and because their present commander in chief is too much of a weakling to put an end to the “strategic mistake” like he pledged he would?  And how else could Panetta justify telling the troops that they’ll have to continue to fight and die for a strategic mistake as soon as the Iraqis get off the dime and ask us to stay like he wants them to? 

As to Panetta’s comment to the embedded war beat press that despite promises from the White House we’ll keep 70,000 troops in Afghanistan until 2004, I don’t see what the furor is all about.  This White House hasn’t kept any of its frickin’ war promises yet.  Why start now and set a bad precedent?

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.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hiding Behind the Troops


By Jeff Huber

They sure could go for a Reese's Peanut Butter
Cup from your local Walgreens right about now. 
You’re at a convenience shack or a grocery barn or wherever Old Century-style place it is you go where you have wait in some kind of line to pay for stuff in person and talk to an actual check-out clerk who hasn’t yet been replaced by a machine that’s smarter than your kid in college.  You look around while you’re waiting for the one or more of the latter-day luddites in front of you to write a check instead of swiping a credit card because a) they don’t believe in the 21st century or b) they never heard of it.  (I can think of no contemporary scenario more Chaplin-esque—maddening, hilarious and heart-breaking at the same time—that the one that contains the bit of dialogue that goes: Darn it, I can never find that pen, it’s the one I always use, I know its in my purse somewhere, I always keep it there, it was an anniversary present, you know.  Oh, I hope I didn’t leave it someplace.)

Mixed in among the displays of designer kid’s candies that are more addictive than crack cocaine and tabloid periodicals that are worse for your mind than sniffing glue, right next to the cash register, you see a presentation that proudly features one of those old-oak-tree ribbon thingies with a logo you can’t quite read yet.  It’s not the pink one that wants you to save the ta-tas, no, and it’s not the one that wants you to adopt pound puppies and kitties or have them neutered or to clean up their poop or whatever—that one’s brown isn’t it? No, this is the yellow one, and you can read what it says now: SUPPORT OUR TROOPS!

If you tack a dollar onto the tab for groceries or your beer or your giant box of Jujubes, “a portion” of it will go help our troops overseas who are protecting us and keeping us safe and are making all the sacrifices in our War on Evil while we sit at home and don’t make hardly any sacrifices at all.  This particular come-on promises to make sure every troop—that is, every troop who wants one, or asks for one, or fills out a ten page application form and writes a 500 word essay and then wins the drawing—will receive a gift, on the next Christian holiday, of a personalized Hershey bar that reads “Go, Troops, Go!” or simply “Yay Troops!”

At this point, you hopefully ask yourself why, if we the taxpayers have ponied up over a trillion dollars for our woebegone wars in Iraq and the Bananastans, should any of us pull another dollar out of our wallet to make sure our troops get a candy bar for Christmas?  Gee, those tens or maybe hundreds of billions we poured into Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan that disappeared like an old lady’s favorite pen, wouldn’t they alone have bought a lifetime supply of personalized Christmas Hershey bars for just about every person in the world who celebrates Christmas?

And you hopefully want to scream when you fail to toss a buck into the pot when you check out and the cash register professional pouts and says, “Don’t you want to help the troops?  The poor old lady who lost her pen did.”

If these yahooligans
don't end up in hell
there is no such place.
The preceding scenario portrays an artfully crafted scam with a witting or unwitting accomplice on the scene to guilt trip you into going along with it. It’s a parable that illustrates the principle behind the most cynical and perhaps the most effective pro-war propaganda campaign that has been operating since Dick Cheney first convened his White House Information Group to gull the American public and its legislature into rolling over for the invasion of Iraq, the crown jewel in the grand neoconservative strategy for invading and occupying the world. 

Some of the support-our-troops organizations you’ll rub against are no doubt front groups, supposedly “grass roots” outfits similar to the repellant Vets for Freedom that bills itself as the f the "leading voice representing troops and veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan" but is actually a political beard run by Republican-affiliated public relations, media, legal, and political consultants who include former Bush White House spokesman Taylor Gross.

Many troop support groups and the people who run them are quite earnest and relatively free of Big War paw prints, but their effect is much the same as if they were simply a gaggle of propaganda goons.  And I hate to say this, but even most of the love-the-troops-hate-the-war folks, however well intentioned they are, play into the pro-war propaganda scheme.  In any case, it’s hard to tell which pro-trooper outfits are a scam and/or a front group and which ones, however misguided they may be, are on the up-and-up.  The thing to remember is that there is no reason on earth why you should pluck a single penny out of your pocket to “support” the troops.  You’ve already sacrificed enough; the malignant likes of Dick Cheney and John Bolton and Paul Wolfowitz and Bill Kristol who brought you the Longest War Ever have hustled your country’s economy to hell in a hand truck, and unless you’re in pre-school right now, you’ll never see a return to the fiscal halcyon days of the President Pants (aka Clinton) era.

Lamentably, the grandchildren of kids in preschool might not see the end of the Long War either, now that the folks in charge of it have established a line of succession.  Ex-CIA director Leon Panetta, who just replaced Ex-CIA director Bob Gates as defense secretary, is the same brand war perpetuating bureaucratic savant as his predecessor was.  John Bolton was a kick up, kiss down kind of D.C. culture vulture; Panetta and Gates kissed up, down and sideways and sucked their way to the top of the dung heap.  They were, long ago, wholly vested in the warfare-welfare system status quo; they knew where all the bodies were buried because they’re the ones who hired the hit men. 

That they know little or nothing about actual war is of little consequence.  The next guy in line for their cabinet job, newly implanted CIA chief David Petraeus, knows little or nothing about actual war either, yet to hear the hapless bullroar machine describe him, you’d think he’s the reincarnation of Ike, Patton and Robert E. Lee combined.  Where Panetta and Gates are self-promoting bureaucrat buffoons, Petraeus is an out-and-out great white shark.  He knows where all the bodies are buried because he’s the one who embalmed them.  All Petraeus really knows about wars is how to keep from losing them by making sure they never end.  As his hagiographer and camp wife Tom Ricks artlessly blurted in his most recent rewritten history of the Iraq War, Petraeus really did “betray us,” pretending to be looking for a way out of Iraq when he was actually buying time to make it impossible for us to ever leave.

That’s where the “support our troops” hook kicks into high gear.  Whenever commenting for the embedded media about the prospects of bring troops home, the likes of King David, Mush Mullen, Desert Ox Odierno, Uncle Bob and now Panetta Head will fall back on the we don’t want to squander the tremendous gains our wonderful men and women in uniform sacrificed so bravely to achieve mantra.  Those bravely sacrificed for “gains” amount to an Iraq and Afghanistan that, nearly a decade after 9/11, still look like the London Zoo ten minutes after a Nazi air raid, and a best ally—Pakistan—that we’re in a virtual open war with.   

The Pentarchy exhorts us to honor our war dead and wounded by adding to their number in pursuit of self-defeating, self-perpetuating wars whose sole purpose is to create bases of operations from which we can launch more self-defeating, self-perpetuating wars in the name of American global leadership.   

The way you can support our troops is to apply constant pressure on your elected federal officials to bring them home and to keep their tea bagger toadying mitts off the troops’ pay and benefits.  Anything else is just helping the warmongery use our troops as a human shield.

Whatever you do, don't plunk down good money to have Walgreens send them a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.  Our troops are getting plenty to eat, trust me.  

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.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Daoist Diary: They're Here, They're Queer, They're Heavily Armed...

Maybe now retired reserve Air Force JAG officer Lindsey Graham will feel safe to ooze out from under the closet door.

SAN FRANCISCO - A federal appeals court ordered the U.S. government on Wednesday to immediately cease enforcing the ban on openly gay members of the military, a move that could speed the repeal of the 17-year-old rule.

Col. Lindsey Graham, USAF (Ret),
leading DADT proponent
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said the "don't ask, don't tell" (DADT) policy must be lifted now that the Obama administration has concluded it's unconstitutional to treat gay Americans differently under the law. The appeals court noted that Congress repealed the policy in December and that the Pentagon is preparing to certify that it is ready to welcome gay military personnel.


As a senior naval officer I considered Don’t Ask Don’t Tell to be the dumbest of a host of ill-advised personnel regulations.  I knew so many brass hats who made Hugh Hefner look like Saint Paul but who considered homosexuals and lesbians too “perverted” to serve in “their” Navy.

Get used to it, old boys. 

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.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Don't Let the Door Hit You, Uncle Bob

5 July 2011

by Jeff Huber

Leave it to the Washington Post, perhaps the most fetid carcass in the tomb of our once vibrant fourth estate, to lead the pandering applause for recently recycled defense secretary Bob Gates.  In a recent fawning fluff piece on the Gates legacy, Pentagon correspondent Greg Jaffe, a journalistic progeny of David Petraeus myth fabricator Thomas E. Ricks, gushes like a bobbysoxer about how Gates established a reputation for “straight talk.”  There’s plenty of media shame to go around on this story, though; Anna Mulrine of the Christian Science Monitor writes a similar love letter, cooing about the how Gates spoke “truth to power.”    

Great.  Caesar’s.  Ghost.  If Uncle Bob established anything, it’s that his mouth has more sides to it that the number of angels that can fit on the head of a pin.  In a city desperately overpopulated with nude emperors, Gates was especially notable for his ability to maneuver around the naked truth like a master danseur.  The guy had more positions than the Kama Sutra. 

Possibly the best example of Gates’ mendacity is his smoke-and-mirror bombast on reductions in defense spending.  Gates conspicuously championed the cause of reduced military spending.  But his idea of slicing $100 billion from the defense budget over five years was “saving” it so the Pentagon could spend it on modernizing and recapitalizing military equipment and sustaining troops.  That’s like forcing your kids to "save" their allowance so they can blow it in a candy store.  And when you get right down to it, the military’s major expenditures come in two basic categories: equipment and troops.  The only other military expense is war, and where the federal budget is concerned, war is like Jell-O: there’s always room for it.
In June, Gates’ number necromancers announced plans to “freeze” the Pentagon’s budget, by which they actually meant that they could stop asking for annual increases—excepting for adjustments for inflation, of course—by 2015.  But a lot can happen between now and then, and even Gates sheepishly (or wolfishly?) confessed that predictions that far into the future have a “troubled track record” and that "any number of these decisions could be reversed."  By “any number,” one can safely assume that Gates meant “all.” 

"The defense budget
is not the cause
of this country's
fiscal woes."
In a speech to his war mongrel pals at the American Enterprise Institute (parent organization of Bill Kristol’s malignant Project for the New American Century), Gates allowed that defense budget cuts needed to be “part of the solution” to the country’s economic woes, but in the same breath he added “I have long believed – and still do – that the defense budget, however large it may be, is not the cause of this country’s fiscal woes.”  That’s a remarkable remark, considering that the official defense budget accounts for over 50 percent of discretionary federal spending and that the real tab for defense outlay, when you chalk up defense related spending not included in the DoD budget—non-DoD agencies defense-related spending, veterans benefits, interest on debt incurred by military spending and so on—may, according to some credible arguments, run to over half of all federal outlays

But the defense budget largely trickles into the pockets of military industrialists like the folks who belong to the American Enterprise Institute, and they are perfectly willing to hear that defense spending had nothing to do with ruining the economy.  They want to believe, or rather they want the rest of us to believe, that the economy was shipwrecked by all those black and brown people who got up one morning and forfeited on $700,000 billion worth of mortgages that the liberals made the banks lend them because of some law Jimmy Carter passed in the ‘70s.  

Feckless Jaffe writes of how much Gates cared about the troops he commanded, and about his concern for their welfare in combat:  "Gates helicoptered into a hardscrabble U.S. base near the Pakistan border," Jaffe writes.  "Many of the soldiers had just been through a withering, weeklong battle that took the lives of six of their colleagues. 'I feel a personal responsibility for each and every one of you since I sent you here,' Gates told them. 'I just want to tell you how much I love you.'"
Jesus, Mary and Shemp.  I love you, man, in your hardscrabble base after your withering battle, dude.  It’s lucky for Uncle Bob that I wasn’t among the soldiers at that hardscrabble firebase, because he wouldn’t have gotten back into that helicopter under his own power.  Jaffe doesn’t say how he came by this Bunyon-esque narrative; he likely heard it from the same unnamed “senior military official” who feeds him the most of the propaganda he channels into his paper and calls “news.”

Despite how much Gates loves his hardscrabble, withered, battle hardened, desert tanned, crew cut, musky odor emitting troops, he is perfectly willing to screw them out of pay and benefits in order to meet his phony-baloney budget reduction strategy.  He’s also pushing a plan to poke veterans (those hardscrabblers of yesteryear) out of pay and benefits. 

He doesn’t like doing that, mind you.  It breaks his little heart, I'm sure.  But he’s already cut important weapon programs to the bone, and he’s only preserving must-have initiatives that will allow America to fight its future wars, high-dollar gizmos like flying submarines, and a killer drone that can fly halfway across the world from the deck of an aircraft carrier that’s already halfway across the world, and global strike rockets that can whack distant terrorists with a fraction of the wallop that could be delivered at a fraction of the cost by overpriced bombers we’ve already bought, and stealth fighters that may or may not be able to defeat air defense systems that may or may not ever exist*, and robot soldiers who don’t need any pay or benefits at all, and whose moms and dads and wives and kids won’t whine about it when they accidentally get killed by their fellow robot soldiers.  The shameful list of pricey gee-wizardry still on the defense dole goes on indefinitely.

Gates likely reckons we’ll need all these gizmos in future, because despite saying that he’s become “cautious on wars of choice,” he is singularly responsible for extending our wars of choice in Iraq and the Bananastans; he was the tool of choice to usher in the Iraq surge under young Mr. Bush and he backed Petraeus and the rest his velvet coup generals when they pulpit bullied young Mr. Obama into surging in the Bananastans.  I highly doubt whether baby boomers or Xers will see the end of those two conflicts.  

Candid, straight-talking, truth-to-power-telling Bob Gates was so full of crap I could smell him clear down here in Virginia Beach.  Lamentably, his successor, Leon Panetta, is likely to make Gates seem downright Washingtonian vis-à-vis the truth.  And the guy on deck for the SecDef job, new CIA chief David Petraeus, will make the Gates tenure look like the good old days. 

*Don’t be fooled by tales of Gates’ opposition to stealth aircraft programs.  They’re still alive and well and consuming more tax dollars than any ten federal infrastructure programs.

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.