Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Bully Pulpiteers

Contrary to what the most recent U.S. president named George told you, the oceans are “still there” and they still protect America. There is no evildoing navy or air force that can haul enough wild-eyed Islamofabulists here to conquer and occupy us. Another 9/11 will always be a slim possibility, no matter what we do, but fighting goofy wars overseas for gossamer reasons won’t prevent it. That 9/11 ever happened at all was proof positive of the institutional Onanism that infested the CIA and the FBI and the FAA and the NSA and JFCOM and rest of the alphabet soup that was supposed to keep it from happening.

June 30, the day all of our troops are supposed to be out of Iraq cities, is right around one of those corners Dick Cheney used to say we’d just turned. I can’t wait to hear the excuse the Obama administration springs on us about why we still have soldiers in places they swore they’d get them out of. We’re also about to shove another 21,000 G.I.s into Afghanistan, a maneuver that the Army appears to have been planning on since before the 2008 election, and there’s still danger that the American warmongery will elbow our president and legislature into displaying fool traits vis-à-vis Iran.

Philip Geraldi put up a stunning article at on Tuesday about the decades of abject failure our clandestine operations have produced. “Covert action,” he adroitly notes, “rarely turns out to be positive in the long term because the covert action in itself inhibits healthy political tendencies in the targeted country.” Covert actions, he adds, “support elites and the military” and in result “they are essentially anti-democratic and regressive in nature.” He also aptly observes that no country we have our finger stuck in today is “more stable or better governed because of the American intervention in its affairs.”

One can reasonably argue—as Theodore Roosevelt did—that America has a responsibility to be the major player in world affairs. I have no argument with that argument, but I wholly disagree with the warmongery’s argument that staying engaged with the rest of the world means we have to keep blowing the bejesus out of it a scrap at a time. What makes us so happy about beating everyone else up these days? When I was a kid, everybody viewed bullies as overgrown jerks. We became a colossus with our 20th century wars. I still assert that if we’d stayed out of the First World War, there might not have been a second one, or a cold one either. We can’t row upstream and relocate those boulders, but we can glance over our shoulders as we look upstream and think about what kind of world we want to be part of creating.

Russia and China won’t ever be military competitors, and we’ll never have another Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan to fight. Iran couldn’t bench press our jock strap. By some credible estimates, more than half of our Federal budget goes into funding defense related items, yet you seldom hear anybody with a mainstream pulpit blame the present state of our economy on our over-adventuresome military policies. You’ll hear instead about how the economy was going along swimmingly until all those blacks and Hispanics defaulted on $700 billion worth of mortgage loans the banks had to give them because of some law the liberals passed during the Carter years.

George Washington cautioned us to avoid entangling alliances. Dwight Eisenhower warned us to “guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.” George W. Bush said, "I'm telling you there's an enemy that would like to attack America, Americans, again. There just is. That's the reality of the world. And I wish him all the very best."

How is that we continue to heed the words of the third conservative in that lineup and ignore the first two?

As recently as May, the Obama administration was considering reaching out to coax “moderate” elements of the Taliban into laying down their arms. The Afghan government at the time was negotiating with the Taliban, whose initial demands included a total withdrawal of U.S. troops. In early June, Gen. Stanley McChrystal told the Senate Armed Services Committee he wasn’t interested in talking to the Taliban. McChrystal’s new command is still on track to grow by 21,000 troops. Funny how that worked out, eh?

McChrystal now says he intends to shift the Afghanistan strategy away from remote regions of the country to concentrate on protecting population centers. Funny how we tried that before and it didn’t work out, so now we’re doing it again. UPI calls McChrystal “a Special Forces expert schooled in the counterinsurgency doctrines employed in Iraq.” That’s the kind of remark UPI probably derived from the press kit McChrystal’s public affairs people handed out.

The Pentagon has successfully pushed the media into parroting the “successful” Iraq strategy of Gen. David Petraeus line, which even Petraeus acolyte Tom Ricks admits “succeeded” because Petraeus gave everybody guns and bribed them not to shoot at anybody. Ricks also confesses that, “U.S. soldiers will probably be engaged in combat there [Iraq] until at least 2015.” Ricks says that conclusion reflects “The quiet consensus” of many soldiers who have served in Iraq. But it’s actually the “consensus” of Iraq commander Gen. Ray Odierno and the rest of the long war cabal, who have used Ricks and the rest of the media as a stenography pad to shill their agenda for eternal low level conflict.

And it appears that they now own the pulpit lock stock and bullhorn.

Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes at Pen and Sword and Jeff's novel Bathtub Admirals (Kunati Books), a lampoon on America's rise to global dominance, is on sale now.


  1. I read that the withdrawal strategy (never a brilliant option in many circumstances and dependent on exquisite timing) required a redrawing of the boundaries of cities in Iraq. Thus to "withdraw" from Baghdad, which has bases on its outskirts, they simply said that the base real estate was no longer within Baghdad city limits. Hey, presto! The soldiers are no longer in the cities.

    Orwell would be overjoyed.

    And the soldiers who are supposedly leaving Iraq aren't going home. They're going to Afghanistan.

    A link on to the Army Times says that the camo used in Iraq is no good in Afghanistan, so they need new uniforms.

    Reminds me of Thoreau and his "beware of all enterprises that require new clothes". That works in all sorts of circumstances.

    I bet Stan the Man doesn't have Thoreau audio books on his iPod.

    Thoreau also said, "Many go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after."

    That has nothing to do with anything in particular, but it's a nice quote, very in keeping with the yearning mood of many people right now.

  2. Fab post, Fil. Thanks.


  3. Anonymous7:46 AM

    Thank Dog I voted for the lesser of evil but evil just the same. Sad and with the $ thing happening we in the US are about or already have become another banana republic.
    Thanks Jeff

  4. You've probably already seen this piece by Gareth Porter on McChrystal , Jeff. Seems like the war on terrorism is turning into the war on journalism. Why let the facts get in the way of a good story, eh?

    On a lighter note, did you ever feel the need to do something like this during your naval career?

    British navy captain bans 'devil's vegetable'

    "He said: 'The only thing I have banned on board is Brussels sprouts. They are the devil's vegetable and the only thing I do not like, and the only thing I hate.'

    Commanding Officer Wayne Keble made the order to his 390-strong crew on HMS Bulwark because he "hates" the vegetable, the Daily Telegraph reported."

    What would I ban? Hot dogs, maybe. Never could stand them. That might cause a mutiny in certain quarters, though.

    Or deep-fried Mars bars. Take a Mars bar, dip in batter and deep-fry. Can't you just feel your arteries clogging up at the thought of it? It's a delicacy in Glasgow, apparently, with the "after the pubs shut" crowd. I don't even want to think of effect of too much lager followed by this indigestible delicacy.

    Off-topic again. One of my few failings.

  5. Anonymous5:21 PM

    They're baaaaack!

    We can't cede air superiority to the flying carpets. We obviously need an additional order of F-22's.

    Son of Neptune

  6. PeeDee8:16 PM

    You and Bill Easterly are on the same wavelength. As am I.


  7. Interesting piece
    by Chris Hedges about the coming dollar defenestration. I've thought for some time that this would likely be Obama's biggest challenge on the world stage: what to do when the rest of the world tries to cut the legs out from under the U.S. currency. I wonder how Petraeus et al. will react to a forced downsizing of their "corporation." Badly, I expect. Here's hoping there is no "use it or lose it" mentality with these characters.

  8. Great stuff, gang. Thanks.


  9. "Russia and China won’t ever be military competitors, and we’ll never have another Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan to fight."

    True. Yet the arrogance of assuming that there will always be plenty of energy supplies for this massive amount of energy that the US consumes seems a bit foolhardy, no?

    " Hu wraps up 'breakthrough' visit to Russia
    By Alissa de Carbonnel – 1 day ago

    ..The leaders have been keen to play up the importance of gas and oil from Russia to energy-hungry China, including a loan deal worth 25 billion dollars for Russian oil supplies over the next 20 years through a new pipeline.

    "We have started a complex cooperation in the oil sphere and reached an important breakthrough in the energy sphere," Hu said..."

  10. Nunya,

    Yeah, the Cold War bad guys we beat are kicking us back now, eh?

  11. I suppose you could look at it that way. Bidness is bidness is how I'm looking at it.

  12. I often read these days, on USA sites, the question: "Why do they hate us so much?"

    As a non USA-inhabitant I would like to invert that qeustion into:
    Why do Americans hate us, in the rest of the world, so much?