Folks, you can expect these missives to come almost daily, till the election. It is, after all, the little that I can do... in the fight for our civilization’s life.
The worst sin of the Democrats - failing to protect the US Officer Corps:
You’ve heard it from me before. But this is the Best ammo to use in confronting those sincere, Goldwater Republicans, who know that something horrible has happened to their movement, but who need an excuse to change their lifelong habits on election day. It hits home even more strongly than hammering on, say, today’s GOP spendthrift budget-busting or string of outrageous scandals.
Moreover, alas, it is a crime that the Democrats have been too wussy to raise as a foremost issue. So you must do it yourself.
war against the United States Officer Corps. Against the brilliant and dedicated men and women who - following the tradition of George Marshall - have honed skill and discipline while forsaking immature ambition, abandoning the age-old warrior testosterone and bluster in favor of professionalism, becoming the third best-educated clade in our entire civilization.
Under-appreciated and ignored by the left, while they are being harried and bullied by the right, they are the very people who stand between us and a very, very cold wind.
But there are exceptions, of course. You can guess that the promotion rosters have been filled, lately, with the kind of men who will turn away from Marshallian maturity and instead help usher in the era of Nehemiah Scudder. If they possibly can. For example, recently: the top US general defended the leadership of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, saying it is inspired by God.
"He leads in a way that the good Lord tells him is best for our country," said Marine General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”
Exceptions like these will grow ever more common and terrifying, if we citizens do not stand up and take notice. (And then, when that happens, will liberals suddenly turn around and embrace the Second Amendment? Hm?)
Again, this is about protecting a treasure that millions of Americans do not even know they have. These men and women have focused on accountability and mature professionalism to a degree that most civilians cannot begin to grasp. Their depth and caliber of intelligence, perception and dedication. It will take a lot of hard work for the neo-feudalists to cull the Officer Corps down -- pushing down past Marshall and all the way past the Cincinnatus example of Washington -- before finally returning the military to its ancient and traditional role in most other civilizations. That of lickspittle attack dogs.
A long, hard task. But, clearly, if history is any guide, it is possible. Especially if you bear in mind the other end of this program: an ongoing campaign by more than a hundred fanatical members of Congress to stock our military academies with cadets who are religious zealots, more loyal to a fanatical agenda (looking eagerly toward an imminent and much-desired end-of-the-world) than they are faithful to either progress or the U.S. Constitution.
Yes, it is possible...
... or is it?
See: Revolt of the Generals by Richard J. Whalen [from the October 16, 2006 issue of The Nation]
“In late September Batiste, along with two other retired senior officers, spoke out about these failures at a Washington Democratic policy hearing, with Batiste saying Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was "not a competent wartime leader" who made "dismal strategic decisions" that "resulted in the unnecessary deaths of American servicemen and women, our allies and the good people of Iraq." Rumsfeld, he said, "dismissed honest dissent" and "did not tell the American people the truth for fear of losing support for the war."
“This kind of protest among senior military retirees during wartime is unprecedented in American history--and it is also deeply worrisome. The retired officers opposing the war and demanding Rumsfeld's ouster represent a new political force, and therefore a potentially powerful factor in the future of our democracy. The former generals' growing lobby could acquire a unique veto power in the future by publicly opposing reckless civilian warmaking in advance.
“The dissenting retired generals are bent on making Iraq this nation's last strategically failed war--that is, one doggedly waged by civilian officials largely to avoid personal accountability for their bad decisions. A failed war causes mounting human and other costs, damaging or entirely destroying the national interest it was supposed to serve.”
“Retired Lieut. Gen. William Odom calls the Iraq War "the worst strategic mistake in the history of the United States" and draws a grim parallel with the Vietnam War. He says that US strategy in Iraq, as in Vietnam, has served almost exclusively the interests of our enemies.”
...”The military's senior active-duty leadership will not openly revolt. "We're not the French generals in Algeria," says Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, now retired. "But we damned well know that the Iraq War we've won militarily is being lost politically." The well-read retired Marine Lieut. Gen. Gregory Newbold wrote in a Time magazine essay: "I retired from the military four months before the March 2003 invasion, in part because of my opposition to those who had used 9/11's tragedy to hijack our security policy." Newbold calls the Iraq War "unnecessary" and says the civilians who launched the war acted with "a casualness and swagger" that are "the special province" of those who have never smelled death on a battlefield.”
... “Says retired two-star General Eaton: "The repeated rotations of Army Reservists and National Guardsmen are hollowing out the US ground forces. This whole thing in Iraq is going to fall off a cliff.... Yet we have a moral obligation to see this thing [the Iraqi occupation] through. If we fail, it will cause America grave problems for several decades to come."
... “We have "paid" for the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan by borrowing heavily from foreign dollar-holders, such as China, that are awash in trade surpluses, and have left debt service to future US generations.
A key argument in the ex-generals' indictment is this undeniable fact: Our armed forces are too small to police and reorder the world and intervene almost blindly, as we have in Iraq. That invasion acted out the world-changing daydreams of pro-Israel neoconservative policy intellectuals like Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and others who gained warmaking power and influence atop the Pentagon but who evidently never asked themselves, Suppose we're wrong?
What happens then? Sober, realistic Israelis privately fear the neocons' "friendship," and where it has led America, more than any Arab enemies. In the inevitable post-Iraq War tsunami of US political recrimination, such Israelis foresee Christian Zionist evangelicals, whose lobbying muscle in Congress was decisive in the run-up to the Iraq War, attempting to scapegoat the high-profile neocons and endangering Israel's all-important security ties to the United States.”
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Strong stuff. Nor do I agree with absolutely everything.
Many of you know that I firmly separate the Afghanistan intervention -- which was planned in detail by Clinton-Clark, not by Rumsfeld -- from Rummy’s own loony imbroglio in Iraq. Afghanistan (at least in its first year) seems to have been much more like our Balkans Campaign -- efficient, effective, professional and very easy on costs (lives, dollars and prestige with allies.) Still, that only makes Whalen’s point stronger.
An added thought. Whalen's article points out that Israel was never a "winner" out of the neocons' mad adventurism. Now it is clear to anyone with three neurons to rub together (and who doesn’t live in the Carolinas) that the real winners in the last six years have been Iran and the Saudi Royal House...
...whose proteges fill this administration so perfectly that it is the statistical scandal awaiting some reporter's careful analysis. (Find one top administration security appointee who has not taken copious amounts of petro$ in consultancies etc. I defy you to find more than one or two. Colin Powell is the only exception I know of, after two years asking this question.)
Unfortunately, it will take a reporter. Because America’s counter-intelligence agents are probably cowed, keeping their heads down, dominated by bosses who were virtually appointed by a hostile foreign power, unable to lift their eyes enough to track blatant patterns that would have set off a million alarms, if a similar fraction of our highest security officials had been appointed (or at least approved) by the Soviet KGB.