Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bull Feather Merchant Marines

The New York Times continues to serve as headquarters of the Pentagon’s bull feather merchant marines.
The headline of an Oct. 20 Times piece by Carlotta Gall on the Kandahar offensive read “Coalition Forces Routing Taliban in Key Afghan Region.” Nothing in the text of the piece supported the conclusion that anything remotely like a “rout” is taking place.
“NATO commanders” told Gall that they are making “deliberate progress.” Maj. Gen. Nick Carter, the British commander of NATO forces in the Kandahar offensive, says, “We now have the initiative. We have created momentum.” Lt. Col. Rodger Lemons, who commands Task Force 1-66 and who may or may not also be a Brit (Gall doesn’t tell us), says that “a lot” of the Taliban “are getting killed.” In my day we called those sorts of remarks “condemnation by faint praise.”
It tells you something that Carter and Lemons aren’t altogether giddy about the operation’s prospects even though they both have a serious stake in its outcome. Lt. Col. Lemons has reasonable expectations of becoming full-bird Col. Lemons unless he screws up by, say, blurting the truth to reporters from the New York Times. Maj. Gen. Carter may have ambitions to become Lt. Gen or even just plain Gen. Carter. Carter’s wish may come true if he can walk out the Khyber Pass smelling like the man who saved NATO.
For a lot of war wonkspreserving the NATO alliance is the only remaining legitimate objective of Obama’s War. The project to save NATO is doubtless the reason Gall referred to Carter’s command as NATO and not as ISAF, an acronym that officially stands for “International Security Assistance Force.” The war-friendly mainstream media regularly referred to Carter’s command as ISAF until Michael Hastings revealed in his June Rolling Stone article that U.S. troops had taken to deriding ISAF as being short for “I Suck at Fighting.” So I guess we’ll hear the coalition referred to as NATO until somebody figures out that it really means “Needed for Afghanistan, Terminated Otherwise.”
Alas for Carter and Lemons, they’ve probably already achieved their terminal ranks, because the Helmand operation is going down just like the rest of the offensives we’ve conducted in Afghanistan since March 2009 when President Obama’s national security “Chess Masters” came up with their own original plagiarized version of the clear-hold-build strategy. The Taliban, savvy Maoist guerrillas that they are, are avoiding a direct confrontation with a superior force, moving on to strike undefended targets, while our generals, who make Gomer Pyle look like Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, continue to adhere to a doctrine that’s been a proven failure since Vietnam.
But that makes no never mind because the New York Times says we’re routing the Taliban in Kandahar, and hey, the Times is one of them liberal newspapers, so if they say we’re winning it must be true, right? (Huh!)
On Friday afternoon I heard the in the background news noise about how WikiLeaks had released a billion or so new documents showing how the war in Iraq was even worse than we had thought and how our military and government had lied to us and other ho-hummery. I switched on the Nightly News to see how the Pentagon’s spin commandos were going to fight their latest fire, and, sure enough, NBC trots out military correspondent Jim Miklaszewski. Jim’s looking, as he always does, about 49 minutes into happy hour with his brows slightly knit from the effort of trying to remember what his Pentagon pals told him to say when he got on camera. Oh, yeah, he remembers now: The Pentagon is very concerned, Brian, very concerned, that this unauthorized leak of secret information will put their sources in danger, dire danger, Brian, they’re very concerned, very dangerous, very concerned, very concerned and dangerous…
I got up early Saturday to see what kind of damage control the New York Times had done for the Pentagon, and sure as death and tax cuts there was the headline on page A1: “Leaked Reports Detail Iran’s Aid for Iraqi Militias.” Then I glanced at the byline, and, lo and behold, the first name on it was Michael R. freaking Gordon.
Michael R. Gordon, chief military correspondent for the New York Times, is the epitome of access-poisoned news reporting, and he has likely done more harm to the world he inhabits than any other living journalist. He and fellow Times reporter Judith Miller helped the neoconservative cabal spearheaded by Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld to pull off the Nigergate yellowcake hoax in which documents later proven to be forgeries became a major justification for the invasion of Iraq. A Sept. 8, 2002, Gordon-Miller Times piece announced, “Iraq has stepped up its quest for nuclear weapons and has embarked on a worldwide hunt for materials to make an atomic bomb.” Gordon and Miller supported this explosive assertion by citing anonymous “officials” an eye-watering 31 times, setting an all-time low, and lamentably the new standard, for phantom sourcing in American journalism.
Gordon has remained a trusted gunman of the Long War mafia. He aggressively marketed the Iraq surge for his war-mongrel cronies, publishing stories like “Grim Outlook Seen in West Iraq Without More Troops and Aid” and “General Warns of Risks in Iraq if GIs Are Cut” and “Get Out Now? Not So Fast, Some Experts Say.”
Gordon has also been at the forefront of aiding the Pentarchy’s push for war with Iran, filing front-page Times stories like February 2007′s “Deadliest Bomb in Iraq is Made by Iran, U.S. Says,” and bolstering his assertions with his trademark citations of unidentified “senior administration officials.”
His latest shenanigan follows his established modus. Gordon reports that Azhar al-Dulaimi, an Iraqi Shi’ite militia commander who was accused of being involved in the kidnapping and murder of four American soldiers, was trained by Iran’s “masters of the dark arts of paramilitary operations” (yes, masters of the dark arts, those were Gordon’s exact words).
This revelation is based on a report written by an unknown party, presumably an intelligence analyst who could have been a buck private for all we know. The report, drawn from unidentified sources and peppered with mumble modifiers, states that Dulaimi’s superior, Jaysh al-Mahdi, “allegedly planned to attack U.S. Humvees traveling in two to three car convoys with the intent to kidnap U.S. soldiers in Baghdad.” Al-Mahdi chose Dulaimi to plan and execute the plot, the report says, because Dulaimi “allegedly trained in Iran” and he “reportedly obtained his training from Hezbollah operatives.”
Gordon uses several such reports to back up his latest anti-Iran screed. Every one of them is the sort of thing that competent senior intelligence analysts take home and put in their parrot’s cage so the paper they’re written on doesn’t go completely to waste. They’re laughable as pieces of intelligence, but they’re more than sufficient for a propaganda pimp like Gordon to spin a front-page Times article out of.
To get a feel for how quickly the Gordon piece was being picked up on by the echo chamber, I flicked on the Saturday version of Nightly News just in time to catch The Mick, and sure enough I got an earful: Oh, the released documents revealed that Iran was doing bad things all along in Iraq, very very bad, very bad bad, very very very bad bad bad (hic!).
Originally posted @ Antiwar.com.  

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Care

The righteous are wailing like zombies from sea to shining sea over the recent federal court decisions striking down the cockamamie "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" law that allows homosexuals to join the military but forbids them from being homosexuals.  An exemplar of this sanctimonious outrage is Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian advocacy group.  According to his official biography, "Tony has a tremendous burden to reclaim the culture for Christ." 
Tony is also a former member of the Louisiana legislature and he’s also a former Marine. He has been affiliated as well with the National Rifle Association, The American Legion and the Christian Coalition.  He’s been associated with the Council of Conservative Citizens, a leading white supremacy group, and in 1996 he was the campaign manager of a right-wing Louisiana politician who paid Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Dukes $82,500 for his mailing list.  Tony is elbow-deep in the Council for National Policy, a secretive Republican political forum with a membership that includes religious-right luminaries like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell and (heh) Sarah Palin.  Tony, apparently a Palin admirer, calls the Tea Party a "civil awakening."  
To clarify, the Tony Perkins we’re talking about is not the same Tony Perkins who starred in the Alfred Hitchcock film Psycho.  The Tony Perkins we’re talking about is, however, mad as a herd of homeless hornets about the rulings by Federal District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips that allow "open" homosexuals to serve in the military — but he’s angry in a caring, redemptive sort of way.  In an October 11 Washington Post piece, Perkins wrote "The most important thing that Christians can offer to homosexuals is hope — hope that their sins, just like the sins of anyone else, can be forgiven and their lives transformed by the power of Jesus Christ."  Once homosexuals have been transformed, they have Tony’s blessing to die for their country in self-defeating wars, one supposes.    
Like so many Americans of his socio-political persuasion, Tony doesn’t let reality intrude on his opinions or clutter his arguments.  Tony told the New York Times that an unspecified number of "Americans are upset" because the Phillips decisions reflect the skullduggery of "activist judges and arrogant politicians" who don’t heed "the Constitution’s limits on what the courts and Congress can and cannot do."  
In a September 9 ruling, Judge Phillips declared don’t-ask-don’t-tell unconstitutional based on its violation of the rights to freedom of speech and due process, both of which are guaranteed by the Constitution’s Bill of Rights
Article III of the Constitution vests "The judicial power of the United States" over "all cases" arising under the Constitution in the federal courts, like the federal court where Judge Phillips does her judge stuff.  So when federal judges, activist or otherwise, make rulings on whether a law is constitutional or unconstitutional, they’re doing it because the Constitution says that’s their job. 
Like so many of his pious peers, Tony delights in parroting the phrase ""There is no constitutional right to serve in the armed forces" from the text of Don’t Ask.  Just because the Constitution doesn’t mention a specific right doesn’t mean that right doesn’t exist.   As Amendment IX assures us, "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."  The Constitution doesn’t specifically allow heterosexuals the right to serve in the armed forces, for example.  For that matter, it doesn’t grant heterosexuals the right to marry one another either. 
Plus, when exactly did serving in the armed services become a "right?"  When I was a kid and people were being drafted to fight in a stupid war in Asia, uniformed service was an obligation that an awful lot of people, most notably the people who started the stupid wars we’re fighting in Asia now, managed to wiggle their ways out of.  Involuntary service was an obligation, and I don’t recall the Tony Perkins types of the day saying that heterosexuals were obligated to serve but homosexuals weren’t.  In fact, I remember quite a few upperclassmen from my high school trying to duck the draft by pretending they were gay, and it didn’t work.    
Don’t Ask is doggerel from top to bottom, and as Judge Phillips has wisely ruled, it’s an unconstitutional law.  Nonetheless, Congress had every right to pass it because Article I of the Constitution tasks the legislature to "make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces."  That same clause makes it equally constitutional for Congress to repeal Don’t Ask whether doing so bends Tony’s nose out of joint or not.   
Tony says getting rid of Don’t Ask defies "the convictions of most Americans."  Tony must have been tied up in a phone conference with God and St. Peter and several archangels in November 2008 when most Americans voted for a presidential candidate who made repeal of Don’t Ask a key plank of his platform.  
Tony says there is "strong opposition" to scrubbing Don’t Ask from military leaders.  I guess Tony missed it back in February when defense secretary Bob Gates and Joint Chiefs chairman Mike Mullen — the military’s top two leaders — told the Senate Armed Services Committee that repealing Don’t Ask was "the right thing to do."  They must not have covered those hearings on FOX News or CBN.    
Tony accuses Judge Phillips of "playing politics with our national defense."  Tony is, not surprisingly, unaware that history’s fiercest fighting men have had a thing for other fighting men.  As the warrior king of Macedon Phillip II (382 – 336 BCE) told Plutarch, "It is not only the most warlike peoples, the BoeotiansSpartans, and Cretans, who are the most susceptible to this kind of love but also the greatest heroes of old: MeleagerAchillesAristomenesCimon, and Epaminondas."  Alexander the Great, the most victorious general of all time, was queer as a pink dollar bill.   
At the opposite end of the spectrum from Alexander we have the presumably heterosexual David Petraeus.  King David manufactured a reputation for himself as a military genius by arming Sunni "Awakening Councils" and bribing them into forming a "grass roots" anti-al Qaeda movement.  Now we’ve broken all our impossible-to-keep promises to the Awakening dudes, everyone’s acting surprised as a birthday girl that they’ve turned against us and joined the rebels.  Jesus in a little black dress, Richard Simmons could have seen that one coming.  Petraeus is now pulling the same shenanigan in the Bananastans and Tony Perkins is worried that our national defense will suffer irreparable harmed when a few green berets confess they’re a little light in the jump boots.  Where do we find such homophobes?  
Fellow citizens, the state of our national security system teems with weighty concerns that demand your earnest consideration.  The demise of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is not one of those concerns.   
And when Tony Perkins makes a last ditch appeal to your sense of "traditional values," take another look at the roster of hooligans he hobnobs with and remember that the values he’s talking about are steeped in a tradition that involves burning crosses and poplar trees.  
Originally posted @ Antiwar.com

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Watch This Cyberspace

Sorry, folks, we're having a slight delay getting this week's piece mounted due to some publishing world high jinks.  "Don't Ask, Don't Care" should be up at this site shortly.

Thanks for your patience.



Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Long Warfare Theory

“No nation ever profited from a long war.”

- Sun Tzu
Sun Tzu’s immortal The Art of War translates into a shade over 10,000 words of American English, roughly 40 pages of aphoristic wisdom presented in language that probably 75 percent of public-school third-graders could understand. One hundred percent of our military officers should understand it, but they don’t, partly because fewer than 10 percent of them have read it.
The single-mantra version of Sun Tzu’s philosophy is “charge downhill, not uphill.”* You’d think that even cadets at West Point and Annapolis and Colorado Springs who graduate at the bottoms of their classes could retain such a short and sweet maxim and comprehend its gist. Yet the history of war is choked with case studies of generals who paid the consequences of attacking uphill when they had every opportunity in the world not to. Perhaps the most celebrated example of this was the Battle of Gettysburg, where Robert E. Lee insisted, despite the strong objection of his deputy James Longstreet, on attacking up not just one hill, but three of them (Little Round Top, Culp’s Hill, and Cemetery Hill).
The drubbing Lee invited on himself at Gettysburg was the turning point of the Civil War and the beginning of the end of the Confederacy. That Lee continues to be our most revered and respected general despite having lost both a war and a country by violating the most common gem of military wisdom should tell us something about the kind of reverence and respect we show generals, especially the Long War hooligans we have now.
A comparison between Lee and David Petraeus is as unavoidable as it is ludicrous. If we rate Lee, his singular lack of judgment at Gettysburg and all, as a 10, Petraeus weighs in somewhere to the right of the decimal point, and maybe to the right of zero.
Petraeus is a bull-feather merchant who gained primacy in the U.S. officer corps through sheer genius for self-promotion and wizardry at public relations. Though he is celebrated as our “best general” and enjoys a reputation as the military genius who “wrote the book” on counterinsurgency, he has in fact been singularly and purposefully responsible for entangling us in a long war that he himself admits cannot be won but that we will likely continue to fight for at least another generation.
Bob Woodward’s latest book-length spin surgery, titled Obama’s War, quotes Petraeus as saying “I don’t think you win this war. I think you keep fighting. … This is the kind of fight we’re in for the rest of our lives and probably our kids’ lives.” Petraeus supposedly blurted this and other uncomfortable revelations to Woodward “after a glass of wine on an airplane.” If Petraeus’s tongue can be yanked that loose with a single glass of wine, the guy’s as much of a drinker as he is a general. Maybe that explains a few things, like how the 190,000 AK-47s he handed out to Iraqi security force recruits vanished like a wallet on a New York City sidewalk and wound up in the hands of militants.
If, as prominent warmonger Lindsey Graham suggests, King David Petraeus is “our best hope,” our ship of state is already on a bow-first vector for the ocean floor. Lamentably, the state of American military wisdom is so pitiable that Petraeus may in fact be the sharpest utensil in a drawer otherwise inhabited by spoons.
This is, in part, because of a lack of intellectual integrity in our so-called war college system, the most prestigious icon of which is the U.S. Naval War College (NWC) in Newport, R.I. NWC is home of the annual Global War Game, the template from which all other U.S. military warfare simulations are modeled. Lamentably, NWC war gaming hasn’t been a legitimate test bench for actual war since the 1930s, when the likes of Chester Nimitz and Ray Spruance devised War Plan Orange to defeat the Japanese in the Pacific. During the Cold War, the Global game was rigged to “prove” that the U.S. Navy would only lose a handful of aircraft carriers in a toe-to-toe slugfest with the Russkies. After the Berlin Wall went Humpty Dumpty, the Global game turned into a venue for validating whatever cockamamie doctrines and weapons systems the three-star in charge of the college wanted to verify.
Arthur Cebrowski, president of NWC from 1998 to 2001, used the Global game – and every other war game he could influence – to promote his pet “littoral combat ship” project, a key component of his project to transform the Navy into a worldwide Coast Guard. After retiring from active duty, Cebrowski became his pal Don Rumsfeld’s czar of military transformation, a platform from which he propelled his network-centric warfare concept past everyone’s tonsils. NCW (not to be confused with NWC, mind you) became the new truth among the defense intelligentsia. Cebrowski declared it to be “an entirely new theory of warfare,” one that involved a “system of systems” and that turned “complexity” into a decisive principle of warfare. Cebrowski himself confessed that NCW itself was too complex to define, but that whatever it was, it made all previous thought about the art of war obsolete.
NCW critics correctly guessed that Cebrowski was displaying symptoms of a decades-old dose of the bends. Indeed, NCW has never panned out to be anything more than net-eccentric rapture designed to help a good-old-boy network of networks sell pricey hardware like the littoral combat ship to Congress.
Harlan K. Ullman and James P. Wade of the National Defense University developed an NCW competitor doctrine now known far and wide as Shock and Awe. One can most accurately understand Shock and Awe by picturing John Candy and Joe Flaherty of the old Second City Television show sitting in front of a flickering TV screen and chortling, “That Baghdad blowed up good, blowed up real good.” Shock and Awe looked real good on cable news until we discovered Operation Iraqi Freedom hadn’t given us anything but sticker shock and buyer’s remorse.
But the most virulent warfare theory to infest our New American Century to date has been the Army and Marine Corps’ “new” counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine, as manifested in “the book,” Field Manual 3-24. Contrary to the details of his manufactured legend, the only part of FM 3-24 that Petraeus actually wrote was his signature on the cover page. Maybe he did that so everybody would have an autographed copy. The book’s real authors were a team from the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa., who plagiarized much of its material from older doctrines like the ones that worked out so ducky in Vietnam.
COIN doctrine suffers from a fatal internal fallacy. A successful counterinsurgency, the field manual insists, requires a legitimate host government that is in control of an effective security force. But major insurgencies do not occur in states that have a legitimate government and a functional security apparatus. Attempting to create those two entities in a country where they don’t already exist but an insurgency already does is futile, as proven by our experiences in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
America’s finest military minds (heh) have committed the best-trained, best-equipped armed force in history to an unending, ruinous war against an enemy that doesn’t have a single tank or airplane or ship and is led by a handful of cave dwellers who don’t even have a fort to fart in.
We have to give Lee credit for one thing: in charging uphill at Gettysburg, he was at least trying to gain a decisive victory because he knew his country didn’t have the strategic depth to fight a long war. Petraeus and his extended entourage in academia and defense think tank-dom not only want to charge straight up every hill they encounter, they want to make absolutely certain that their Long War lasts long enough to accomplish what Lee could not: the collapse of the Union.
*The Lionel Giles translation reads, “It is a military axiom not to advance uphill against the enemy, nor to oppose him when he comes downhill.”
Originally posted @ Antiwar.com

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Uncle Bob Wants You

Uncle Bob Gates wants more young people to join the military. In a Sept. 29 speech at Duke University, Defense Secretary Gates asked students, “If America’s best and brightest will not step forward, who will?”
The likes of you, Uncle Bob, that’s who.
By way of seducing another generation into the generational war his generation created, Gates told Duke students that talented young people who served in the military are “given extraordinary responsibility at a young age” and get to lead troops “at an age when their peers are reading spreadsheets and making photocopies.” Gates failed to mention that with the exception of the very few who lead troops in combat, junior military officers spend an inordinate amount of time tweaking bull-plop PowerPoint presentations for their bosses to impress their bosses with.
If Gates wants young people to take responsibility for the disasters he and his contemporaries hatched, it’s because he’s part of the “buck stops there” generation that never has and never will take responsibility for any of its own actions.
Gates, who has announced that his long-overdue retirement from the Pentarchy may or may not finally occur sometime in 2011, was a key member of the ungodly squad that transformed a defeated Rumsfeld regime into a lean, mean, Long War-fighting machine. Well, not lean, exactly. For all his sound and fury about reducing defense spending, Gates has actually managed to increase the defense budget. His standing offer to Congress is that if they pop for an annual 1 percent increase in defense spending, he’ll try to reinvest some of it in the military. If the Secretary of Health and Human Services offered to use a 1 percent annual raise to modernize public health services, he’d get the Torquemada treatment from rabid radio and Fox News. But Congress will probably take Gates’s offer seriously, even though it’s basic premise – spending money to save money – is nonsense and despite the obvious fact that even if his offer had any merit, Gates won’t be around to hold up his end of the bargain.
Regardless of how many sacred-cow weapons programs get sacrificed, wars cost lots of money, and Gates was a major force in the establishment of America’s “era of persistent conflict.” He helped Petraeus dupe the public and Congress into believing the purpose of the Iraq surge was, as Petraeus told the House Foreign Affairs committee, to create “conditions that would allow our soldiers to disengage.” As Petraeus hagiographer Tom Ricks confessed in The Gamble, a historical fiction disguised as book-length journalism, the real aim “was not to bring the war to a close, but simply to show enough genuine progress that the American people would be willing to stick with it even longer.”
Uncle Bob and King David, mentored from behind the curtain by retired Army three-star and uber-neocon Jack Keane, helped young Mr. Bush stiff-arm the Iraq Study Group and usher in Freddie Kagan’s A Plan for Success in Iraq. Gates played a material role in convincing Congress and the public that the surge was an enormous triumph even though it failed to achieve its stated goal of political unity in Iraq. Gates also helped Petraeus camouflage the surge’s strategic breakdown by fabricating a tactical measure of success: reduced violence statistics that Petraeus achieved bybribing the warring factions into not using the weapons he gave them.
Uncle Bob came out foursquare against Iraq withdrawal timelines when Candidate Obama announced he favored having one. He pushed for escalating the Bananastans festivities even though none of his generals could explain to Obama what they wanted the extra troops for or what they saw as the end state in that conflict. Gates backed the sacking of Bananastans commander Gen. George McKiernan and pushed for the appointment of Petraeus’s pet assassin and torturer Stanley McChrystal to take McKiernan’s place. Gates presided over son-of-the-surge in the Bananastans and the replacement of McChrystal with his mentor Petraeus, who is now repeating his Iraq modus, happily handing out guns and bribes to merry Afghan militiamen. Uncle Bob, predictably enough, thinks the Bananastan surge is going swimmingly.
I often suspect that the clouds in Uncle Bob’s sky are paisley, or magenta maybe, and that his worldview is a concoction derived from the breakfast mushrooms he’s had every morning since his William and Mary days. The latest catastrophe to erupt in the Bananastans is the disruption of our supply line through Pakistan. Folks: the entire U-Boat corps of Hitler’s Kriegsmarine couldn’t disrupt our maritime supply line to Europe in the Second World War’s Battle of the Atlantic, and Nazi Germany’s very survival depended on severing that vital sea line of communication. Now we can’t even keep open a land line that goes through a country that’s supposedly our ally, and to round out the ignominy, it’s the allied nation itself that’s shutting down our supply line. That’s like Churchill loaning Hitler a few extra submarines until the German shipbuilding industry could catch up.
Iraq’s elusive political unification will come, if indeed it ever arrives, attached to a dope deal with Shi’ite cleric and head of the Mahdi Army and Iran’s biggest, bestest buddy in Iraq, Muqtada al-Sadr. Irony is rolling on the floor of its coffin laughing. Our longest war ever will result in handing control of the country we liberated over to our supposed worst enemy.
(Never mind that “no greater challenge” country Iran has a defense budget that’s less than 1 percent of ours, and that it has no nuclear weapons program, and never mind that its army and navy and air force are incapable of projecting power significantly beyond its borders and coastal waters. And never mind that if we really wanted to take Iran down, the best way would be to give them free ride into Iraq and let them have a taste of what we’ve been through for the last seven-and-a-half years. Those poor saps wouldn’t last a month. But Iran’s president says really stupid things in public, and look what we did when we had a president who said really stupid things in public. So beware!)
And if the purpose of our war on terrorism is or ever was actually about countering terrorism, it’s the biggest military failure since the Spartans sank the Athenians’ ship of state in the Aegospotami River. We already knew our efforts were creating more terrorists than they eliminated, and that historical analysis proves that military force is the worst possible means of fighting terrorism. But if we needed a reminder of just how pathetically ineffective our use of armed force has been at achieving our national security goals vis-à-vis terrorism, our government just issued a “terrorism alert” for travel to Europe, ostensibly because of the threat posed by al-Qaeda, the cave-dwellers who were responsible for the 9/11 attacks and who, now as then, number several hundred at most.
So when the likes of Uncle Bob exhort the students at Duke and the rest of their generation to join the military, he’ll appeal to their sense of duty and responsibility to make the world a better place, but it’s just a stratagem. He’s drilling for fresh fuel to sustain the present generational war into the next generation and the one after that, and he’s doing so by telling our future leaders a fairy tale about how they bring the war to a conclusion by joining the military.
It’s not true, kids. You can’t kill an insatiable monster by feeding it to death. Uncle Bob isn’t the nice old guy he looks like when he gives a speech in your auditorium. He’s that man standing on the other side of the playground fence who has a pocketful of candy and who wants to take you for a ride to a magical place where you and a bunch of other kids just like you can play and play and play all day and you’ll never have to stop.
Don’t get in that car, kids. Don’t get in that car.

Originally posted @ Antiwar.com