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“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Monday, September 29, 2014

the unwanted word

Frank Kermode begins The Genesis of Secrecy with an invocation of Hermes, the god of Hermeneuts, and thieves, and crossroads, and puns, to name just a few of the worthy causes he patronized. In enumerating his qualities, Kermode writes: “He also has to do with oracles, including the dubious sort known as klēdōn, which at the moment of its announcement may seem trivial or irrelevant, the secret sense declaring itself only after long delay, and in circumstances not originally foreseeable.” Oh the Greeks, with their eternally fascination terms of art! I couldn’t quite figure out, from Kermode’s elegant but ambiguous gloss, what a klēdōn was. Was  it the kind of insignificant minutia that the murder leaves behind him and is spotted by the sharp eyed police inspector? Was it a clue, such as the track left behind by a hunted animal? To find out, I looked up the word in William Halliday’s 1913 Greek Divination, a study of its method and principles. Halliday evidently was of the Golden Bough school, where one folk practice initiates comparisons to other folk practices among widely disparate people. Thus in discussing kledonomancy, he goes from Homer to a custom on the Isle of Man. His example of divination by kledon is clear enough, though:   “At Pharai in Achaia an analogous rite was practised under the official patronage of Hermes, the market god. “In front of the image is a hearth made of stone, with bronze lamps clamped to it with lead. He who would inquire of the god comes at evening and burns incense on the hearth, fills the lamp[s with oil, lights them, lays a coin of the country called a copper on the altar to the right of the image, and whispers his question, whatever it may be, into the ear of the god. Then he stops his earss and leaves the market-place, and when he is gone a little way outside he takes his hands from his ears, and whatever words he hears he regards as an oracle.”
This is more like it. As a latter authority, Ogilvie, writes (in relation to Aeschylus’s use of the kledon): “It was a form of divination to pick up a chance word or remark and to accept it in a sense other than that intended by the speaker.”
Overhearing, eavesdropping – I have long thought that these are severely neglected topics in the philosophy of language and literary criticism.  In the Pharai example, the inquirer intentionally overhears. He or she intentionally appropriates the word spoken and applies it to the question asked. But of course that an utterance can be inhabited by a wholly other spirit than that in which it is spoken gives us an eery sense of how the gods operate in the world. There is a great deal of this in the modernist novel. To give just one example that occurs to me right now, this was the sort of thing Evelyn Waugh loved. In Black Mischief,  Basil Seal, making love to Prudence Samson, the daughter of the British envoy to Azania tells her she’s a grand girl and “I’d like to eat you up.” A phrase that the reader is not especially called upon to remember – it is all just lovey-dovey, innit?  Yet, in the final chapter, when Basil attends a dance of the Azanian tribe that has overthrown the Azanian emperor and captured his entourage, including Prudence, he  is treated to a feast at which he asks the headman where the white girl has gone, and the headman responds by rubbing his belly and saying “why here – you and I and the big chiefs have just eaten her.”  
This is the overheard word that is not overheard by the person who speaks it – it is rather commandeered. All of us have surely had those moments when, in the thick of some bad situation, we think back to something we have said without thinking that seems to point to the future mysteriously.
However, I would like to broaden the idea of eavesdropping, or overhearing, to the “ontogenesis of language”, as Quine puts it in Words and Things – that is, to how babies learn to talk. I’m going through this now, and the lesson is rather un-Quinian. Classic scenari: the parent at the computer encounters some glitch that he can’t figure, out, and knows is going to take an hour to repair. He says “fuck”, with conviction – only to hear the baby repeat it. Scene ends with parents laughing and telling each other that they will have to watch their language.
Interestingly, it is dirty words, cuss words that make the parents aware of eavesdropping and its power. It is as if, from the first, there is a portion of language learning that is cursed –that the word overheard is the shadow-sibling of the word pointed out. The latter is the wanted word, the former the unwanted one.
The primal writer’s act, in my opinion, is a fierce fascination with and loyalty to the unwanted word. The unwanted word comes to us as a riddle, and seems inhabited by something else, some future we can’t otherwise see.
This is why I, at least, have a harder time with edifying literature, the literature of order – the police procedural with the inevitable catching of the culprit, or the novel that follows closely its time’s norms, whether these are the identity politics of today or whether they are the Victorian eras Christianity-n-Capitalism. These strike me as the progeny of the wanted word. Of course, in all literature, mostly it is the wanted word, mostly the social order as it is triumphs. But I like to think that the rarer literature of the unwanted word has a more long distance say, and that it propounds riddles that are never quite completed. It is a literature by and, to an extent, for the pre-eminently unwanted: the outsider.

Friday, September 26, 2014

D.C and the secret

It is sort of like Comedy of Errors - if it were staged in a butcher shop.
Apparently if you chose to intervene in a chess game by knocking black players off the board, the white side will gain. This is coming as a great shock to D.C. Nobody loses in the political elite. Oh sure, you lose an election, but this just allows you to pluck a desireable job in lobbying or wall street and buy a bigger house. It is a world of up and up!Meanwhile, the US effort is premised on the idea that when a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, it didn't fall. So, we watched 3000 to 10000 ISIL "terrorists" decisively defeat an Iraqi army of 500000 armed with 30 billion dollars of US military equipment and benefiting from five years of training. What does this mean? Why it means we put our fingers in our ears and go nah nah we can't hear you. Then we pump some stateless "freedom fighter" group up with 10 million dollars and weapons captured in Libya and they will just blow a hole in IS and we are done. And of course said group will then easily defeat Assad.
Back in the benighted days of George Bush, one of the tells that the Iraq war was going to go wrong was the inability of the US to credibly mount a force that could both defeat Saddam H. and occupy the country. The US didn't have the soldiers and refused to institute a draft. After all, patriotic Americans wanting to taste Saddam's blood might not be so thirsty for it if their sons and daughters were out there in the desert being blown up. So the US waged a war on the cheap, which both blossomed to a trillion dollar war and was decisively lost by the US side.
ISIL shows what you can do if you have dedicated troops and enough money to take advantage of shock troop tactics, but they still don't have the kind of troops to occupy their territory. Eventually I expect they will dissolve in some civil broil. At the moment, though, they represent the Sunni part of the breakup of Iraq. Pretending this isn't so because where's the happy ending, Uncle Sam? And don't we have to do Something? doesn't change the facts that are kicking us in the face.
I sorta blame Oprah. At one point in her show, she publicized a woman who wrote a book called The Secret. The secret consists of cutting out pictures of things you want, pasting them to a piece of paper, and wishing very hard to have them - and presto, you'll get them! Obviously, the Secret became the playbook for the State Department and the D.C. press corps and establishment.
There ain't no Secret.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Karl Marx on how to start a flame war and sell your book

Marx is not often pointed out to aspiring writers for his imitable work in publicizing his masterpiece. However, the correspondence of Marx and Engels, in 1867 and 1868, is filled with strategies for making Capital known on a broad scale – from Engels suggestion that Marx should take seriously the idea of a “portrait” in the Leipzig Illustrated Paper to the campaign of reviews meant to pump the book.
Among the letters is one that is quoted extensively by Schlomo Avineri in his essay trying to prove that the connection between  Marx and Darwin came about as the result of a hoax. Avineri cherrypicks a bit in this essay: Marx, who was no biologist, was alternatively impressed by Darwin and scornful of the way he took Malthus’ method and applied it to nature (I should say, from comments of Darwin’s this is what Marx took Darwin to be doing, although of course the issue is more complex than that). Still, it gave Avineri the chance to quote a quite amazing letter in which Marx pens a review of Das Capital that criticizes its “subjective” anti-capitalist tendencies while praising its general tenor. Its quite an amusing text:   

“As regards the little Swabian paper, it would be an amusing coup if we could hoodwink Vogt’s friend, the Swabian Mayer. It would be easy to contrive the thing as follows. D'abord to begin by saying that whatever one may think of the draft of the book, it is a credit to the ‘German spirit’, for which reason, too, it was written by a Prussian in exile and not in Prussia; Prussia having long ceased to be a country where any scholarly initiative, especially in the political or historical or social field, is possible or is actually to be found, it now being the representative of the Russian and not of the German spirit. In respect of the book itself, a distinction has to be drawn between two things, between positive developments (’solid’ would be the second epithet) given by the author, and the tendentious conclusions he arrives at. The former are a direct addition to the sum of human knowledge, since actual economic relations are treated in an entirely new way by a materialistic (‘Mayer’ has a liking for this catchword, on account of Vogt) method. Example: 1. the development of money, 2. the way in which co-operation, division of labour, the machine system and the corresponding social combinations and relations develop ‘spontaneously’.
Now as regards the tendency of the author, another distinction has to be drawn. When he demonstrates that present society, economically considered, is pregnant with a new, higher form, he is only showing in the social context the same gradual process of evolution that Darwin has demonstrated in natural history. The liberal doctrine of ‘progress’ (c'est Mayer tout pur) embraces this idea, and it is to his credit that he himself shows there is hidden progress even where modern economic relations are accompanied by frightening direct consequences. At the same time, owing to this critical approach of his, the author has, perhaps malgré lui , sounded the death-knell to all socialism by the book, i.e. to utopianism, for evermore.
The author’s tendency to be subjective, on the other hand — which he was perhaps bound and obligated to assume in view of his party position and his past — i.e. the manner in which he represents to himself or to others the ultimate outcome of the present movement, of the present social process, bears absolutely no relation to its real development. If space permitted this to be more closely examined, it could perhaps be shown that its ‘objective’ development refutes his own ‘subjective’ fancies.
Whereas Mr Lassalle hurled abuse at the capitalists and flattered the backwoods Prussian squirearchy, Mr Marx, on the contrary, shows the historical necessity of capitalist production and severely criticises the landed aristocrat who does nought but consume. Just how little he shares the ideas of his renegade disciple Lassalle on Bismarck’s vocation for ushering in an economic millennium he has not merely shown in his previous protests against ‘royal Prussian Socialism’ but he openly repeats it on pp. 762, 763, where he says that the system prevailing in France and Prussia at present will subject the continent of Europe to the regime of the Russian knout, if it is not checked in good time.
That is my view on how to hoodwink the Swabian Mayer (who did after all print my preface), and small though his beastly rag is, it is, nevertheless, the popular oracle of all the Federalists in Germany and is also read abroad.”
This purely gleeful side of Marx is what makes him a manyhandled author – note the scorn connected with the world “materialist”, and the surprisingly turn at the end of the pseudo-review in which Capital is taken as the death knell of socialism. In fact, this view of the book has, outside of Marx’s “hoax”, endured, with the “rational expectations” Marxists of the 80s – I’m looking at you, Jon Elster – making it the centerpiece of their radicaly purified Marxism.
So, here’s Marx’s advice to young writers: get your friends to write reviews of your book in which they praise it for its objective merits, but qualify the praise by saying that the author’s viewpoint is, unfortunately, completely wrong.
Marx was ahead of his time: what he was doing was inventing the flame war as a way to sell his book.

Monday, September 22, 2014

heidegger as stinker

As every sentient human adult (and especially department secretaries) knows, intelligence doesn’t exclude stinkerhood. Many are the geniuses who are also stinkers.
I think these remarks are pertinent to the latest round in the Heidegger controversy. There is a suprisingly good essay about this in the current NYRB by Peter Gordon.  With the publication of the black notebooks, we have even  more evidence that Heidegger was a Nazi all through the Hitler years. Of course, Lowith back in 1935 proclaimed that Heidegger’s “lean” towards naziism was no temporary aberration, done for the sake of the university. To that kind of special pleading, I think we can all say: suck my cock! But of course in a genteel and philosophische way. The black notebooks apparently add more proof to the case that Heidegger was also a provincial anti-semite as well. Case closed.

Of course, the Heidegger controversy has its political coloring. The same people who use Heidegger’s Nazi-hood to hit deconstruction or France or continental philosophy on the head – usually american academics traveling between the New Criterion and the New York review of Books circuit – have little to say about, say, Werner von Braun, or the whole flotilla of Nazis that were calmly taken up by the Americans in Operation Paperclip. Say what one will about Heidegger, he was not an SS commander in a concentration camp, which is what von Braun was at Peenemunde. It was Braun, not Heidegger, who was photographed with American presidents. But you very rarely see American intellectuals slagged for Braun, whereas French intellectuals are supposedly crypto-collaborationists for using Heidegger.
However the outrage, if outrageously selective, is still justified. And it is a good question as to how much Naziism penetrated Heidegger’s philosophical writings.
However, here is where the history of philosophy, as it is usually told, misleads us. As it is usually told, the history of philosophy is a pageant of heads. Here’s Plato, then his “student” Aristotle, and so on. Each great man clutches a book, and “influences” or “refutes” other great men.
This is a pitifully sad way of doing intellectual history. Great heads are as mired in their contemporary circumstances as little heads. To talk about Heidegger’s philosophy and Naziism, one has to foreground that philosophy in the tendencies with which it was contemporary, and with which it had dozens of capillary relations. A materialist history of philosophy would do away with great heads and insert innumerable small ones, looking for intellectual patterns that interpenetrate economic, political and social ones.  Sein und Zeit is properly placed with, for instance, Franz Rosenzweig’s Stern der Erloesung, and with Bloch’s Geist der Utopie, and with  Mann’s Betrachtungen der Unpolitische, and with essays of Simmel’s and Lukacs’. It means putting it in relation to the anxieties concerning mechanization that were a commonplace of newspaper feuilletonists pre-1914 – notably Kraus’ notion of the “black magic” of the press. It means even looking at the severely marginalized, figures like Ludwig Klages. Etc. Heidegger didn’t come up with his texts in splendid isolation, after all.
In other words, it means pulling apart Heidegger’s philosophy like Roland Barthe pulled apart Balzac’s Sarrazine in S/Z. This isn’t to dispute that Heidegger’s philosophical texts were often full of genius, but that it was, so to speak, the genius of the clinamen – the genius of the swerve that is left after the combinatorial elements are mapped.
In a sense, one could say of Heidegger what Nietzsche said of the New Testament – that one should read his works wearing gloves. And I think that one should read them against the grain of the author’s stinko intent. Sometimes – as in the lectures on Nietzsche, which were so full of grandiose cliches that I have never been able to finish them – stinkerism overrides thought, here, for sure.
To return to the greater themes – definitely, in the world of philosphy, something was happening that all the figures I have named were responding to. On the one hand, there was the revolution in logic that seemed to allow philosophy to be dissolved in science, and on the other hand, there was the return to the transcendental thematic – shared by Husserl and the numerous graphomaniac neo-Kantians – which seemed to offer a discursive escape route from the positivist prison – which was a species of the iron cage of modernity that Weber was writing about. In Weberian terms, the philosophers and writers I’ve named were trying to carve out a region for charismatic legitimation, and in so doing often reified charisma as something that resisted and opposed the technostructure.
Retrospectively, it is easy to see that instead of opponents, these movements were often secret allies.

But this gets me far from where I wanted to go, which is simply: yes to Heidegger as a stinker, but also yes to Sein and Zeit, alas alas. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

blood from a stone

Saakashvili, in his time, was a favorite of both the NYT and the Bush Whitehouse. Now we know that he fortified his backbone with “bite massage” while he was standing tall for democracy and against the current incarnation of Satan, Hitler and Stalin – Putin is who I’m obviously talking about, for those of you who are behind on today’s fave devils. Of course, being in power and challenging the enemy of all mankind is a tiring job, and we shouldn’t question the perks of office, like the state paying to fly out the  masseuse that gave him the said bite massage, Dorothy Stein. In fact, we shouldn’t question any of the money that disappeared during his time in office.
It is a funny thing about mysteriously sourced wealth. When it flies out of a country by way of dictators or funny presidents, the U.S. and Western european media people and scholars and governments tut tut about the corruption of these backwaters. They are so corrupt! And yet, apparently there is no taint in taking that mysteriously sourced wealth. Nicholas Shaxson, in Treasure Island, tells the story of the Corruption Index – a way of mapping the peculation of countries that receives a lot of press attention, and that lets us know just how filthy Nigeria or Iraq or Georgia is when it comes to bribe taking and the lot. This index, concentrating on that kind of dirty money, usually makes the US, the UK, Switzerland France and all the others seem like wholesome and uncorrupted paradises. But a lesser known index was established by the Tax Justice Network in 2009, to rank countries according to how much secrecy they provide to global finance. In other words, how many hidey holes they have for just that dark money. And on this index, the US is no. 1. The UK is number 5. And so on.
If, as some estimate, trillions of dollars have been taken out of the poorest countries over the last three decades, we know where it went. Miami. Houston. London. Paris. Geneva. Mysteriously funded Williamsberg.
And this is, somehow, not as funny.

It is not bite massage, but the vampire’s kiss.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

fictionable world

“Life's nonsense pierces us with strange relation.” This is one of the wonderful lines in Wallace Stevens “Notes toward a Supreme Fiction” – a poem that makes much of that “toward”, that motion which, seemingly, is oriented towards an endpoint that is itself on an absolute scale – it is supreme – and at the same time – being “a supreme fiction”  – seemingly, diminishingly, not the only one, leaving us rather puzzled about the entire movement and meaning that will be convened in the poem’s sweep.  
 I am thinking about this poem in relation to Michael Wood’s Literature and the Taste of Knowledge. The book gestures a lot to Empson, since it is made up of Wood’s Empson Lectures given at Cambridge. Levi-Strauss once said that totem’s are good to think with, and one could say the same for this book: it is in that way evidently totemic. Like a good totem pole, it mounts one head on another, beginning with Henry James and ending with John  Banville – it is mostly novelists – and so we have can think of the tradition that is being performed. But there is also the strange notion of the taste of knowledge. Wood  procedes to mutilate or distort the idea of knowledge until we give up our simple idea that we know what knowing is, and take another look.
It is a book that quotes philosophers, but isn’t philosophy – rather, it is at the crossroads of philosophy and literature, which is not a spot haunted by many philosophers, unfortunately.
But here’s the thing I latched onto in reading Wood’s book – the idea of fictionable worlds. The lovely phrase comes originally from Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake, where it is a play on the fashionable world. Wood sees the immense idea that could be here, and how it helps us to think about fiction by asking whether there could be a world without fiction. How could a world actively resist its fictionability? Perhaps this is the melancholic idea behind Adorno’s famous phrase about there being no more poetry after Auschwitz.  There is a point in which the fictionable impulse dies.  
That at least is one possible reading of the limits of the fictionable world. However, realistically,  there has been poetry after Auschwitz, and there have even been novels about Auschwitz.
So lets find another point of entry to the fictionable world, one that Wood doesn’t deal with, even as he intimates the direction I want to go in. That point of entry is the error, the mistake, the misperception.
The comedy of errors is, in Shakespeare, essential to comedy at all. Without mistakes of identity, disguises,  mishearings and misinterpretations – think of Malvolio, for instance -  there would be no comedic business.
Two of the great novelists of the twentieth century – Nabokov and Queneau – are specialists in the mistake. Pnin, for instance, is wound around a mistake that is signaled at the very beginning of the book by the omniscient and ominous narrator – Pnin is on the wrong train. From whence he proceeds to the wrong bus. Queneau, in Chiendent, sets the plot in motion with a mistaken inference by the terrible Madame Cloche, who thinks that Pierre Le Grand and Etienne Marcel are planning to rob pere Taupe. This misunderstanding has many levels. It derives from a misunderstanding of a phrase that Cloche overheard; and it leads her to infer that Pere Taupe, contrary to his appearance as a miserable quasi-bum, is actually a mythical miser.
If the world and logic were one and the same thing, these errors would cancel themselves out. They couldn’t cause anything, because they wouldn’t have any substance. From the moment that we see that logic and the world are two separate things, we see how the world is fictionable.  We see the work of error, we see how it blooms in the world. Michael Wood touches briefly on a question that was once vexatious – what use is art, or how can art be useful – to get to the question of how literature knows things. This locution – taking an object that is known and making it a knower, as in such book titles as “what buildings know” or “what poems know”, etc., is a contemporary fashion that, I can’t help but think, was helped along by the fact that computers, which we all use, seem to do things like knowing. In the early modern era, the displacement of knowing from the consciousness to the object was a principle in alchemy and, in general, occult knowledge. Even then, the fact that a place “has a memory” – a theory of Cornelius Agrippa – was not attributed, ultimately, to the place, but rather to spirits.  The question of the cognitive function of literature is, though, a bastard continuation of the great aesthetic debate between the old purists, the high modernists, for whom literature was autonomous and removed from the world of use, and the counter-modernists, the realists (socialist and otherwise), for whom literature was a means to an end – usually consciousness raising, sometimes outrage, sometimes pointing out a social ill.
That debate, while it is no longer conducted on the lofty, Adorno-ian plane, is still definitely around. My own tastes are mostly for the high modern monuments, but I don’t think my tastes encompass all literature, and it is easy to see how a literary work  could also be didactically important, or raise consciousness, etc.
We could look at this another way by using elements of Victor Turner’s idea of “ritual process”, and in particular the ideas of anti-structure and liminality. Turner writes of these things under the general notion of communitas – a non-structured, non-hierarchical gathering that inevitably hardens into organization.  But I think of this non-structured thrusting of the liminal as something larger than communitas. It is, in fact, the fictionable world, the world in which mistakes actually produce ontologically real events – in which the nothing of falsehood is a cause. The world in which we pretend logic and the world are identical bears a name: the serious world. But the world in which logic and the world suddenly separate is harder to name. It is the ludicrous world. It can be terrible, or terribly funny, or both.

That is an aspect of the world that fascinates me. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

the war of the geriatric fantasists

Going to war with ISIS without even a discussion seems to be the order of the day.
Myself, let me play the crow and croak doom upon the whole business.
There were two news items recently that made me think that, once again, the war will be fought in such a way that it will be unwinnable. Not that IS might not collapse, but it will only give way to some similar organization.
The two news items are:
1.      The NYT story about IS oil that includes this graf:
Western intelligence officials say they can track the ISIS oil shipments as they move across Iraq and into Turkey’s southern border regions. Despite extensive discussions inside the Pentagon, American forces have so far not attacked the tanker trucks, though a senior administration official said Friday “that remains an option.” 

And the hearings today included this passage:      
2.    “It really comes down to building a coalition,” Dempsey replied [to senator Lindsey Graham], “so that what the Arab Muslim world see is them rejecting ISIS, not us…”
“They already reject ISIL,” Graham interjected. “Do you know any major Arab ally that embraces ISIL?”
“I know major Arab allies who fund them,” Dempsey replied
Yeah, but do they embrace them? They fund them because the Free Syrian Army couldn’t fight Assad. They were trying to beat Assad. I think they realized the folly of their ways. Let’s don’t taint the Mid East unfairly.”
I don’t think a lot of people have noticed the undercurrent in that exchange. They don’t just fund them because they were trying to beat Assad, they were urged on by Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator McCain to fund them. The tainting Graham doesn’t want is the tainting of his own hideous record. There was a nice article about it in the June Atlantic.

It will of course go down the memory hole that today’s hawks were yesterday’s material allies of ISIS. Today’s doves – myself for instance – will of course be lined up as avid supporters of our beheading friends when we point such things out, now that we have decided, in the typical American way, to declare war (except not a really really war so we can tiptoe around the constitution) against those terrorists.
The American way of war, both in D.C, and the press, is to look at it like a video game. And like a video game, the forces appear where they are when you turn it on. They are programmed into the game. Thus, there is no real history between the players.
And since they are programmed in, there is no need to ask questions about even the recent past. You would think, if we are at war against IS, that we would talk about their run of luck. After all, what we are proposing is that our allies come up with forces and throw them into battle against ISIS. Hmm, but what we are ignoring is… we already have trained allies and they have already thrown themselves into battle against ISIS and so far ISIS has destroyed them. I have not read all the transcript of the Senate hearing, but I can’t imagine that any senator spoke up and asked, let’s go over what happened in Mosul, when ISIS took it in June, and then proceeded to grab most of the Sunni heavy region of Iraq. Patrick Cockburn put the case very well back when that happened in the Independent, June 15, 2014:
“It is difficult to think of any examples in history when security forces almost a million strong, including 14 army divisions, have crumbled so immediately after attacks from an enemy force that has been estimated at between 3,000 and 5,000 strong.
But once again, this fact – that the US not only assembled an army but a huge army, armed it with the latest equipment, and trained it, and watched it fall to pieces against ISIS – is treated as an irrelevancy, a little something to be sucked down the memory hole and not bother an important general with. Because this time we are going to train an army, a huge army, from various moderate terrorist groups on our side – oops, I meant freedom fighters – and this army, which will have had no experience, is going to be vastly well equipped, and it wil just roll ISIS like a heavyweight KOing a featherweight. Now, that the recent past shows that this is an absolute fantasy doesn’t mean that we can’t turn off the video game and then turn it on again and start over. And besides, as I have read in many a news report, it is the “universal” conviction in DC that we have to stop the ISIS.

We’ve been at war for thirteen years. We’ve learned absolutely nothing, and we are still led by geriatric fantasists.