“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

Sunday, December 04, 2005

patriot's point

We went to Patriot’s point and toured a sub and the U.S.S. Yorktown yesterday. And today, I read the revealing column by Robert Kagan in the WP, which probably reflects the type of tough bar talk that gets up on its hind legs and presents itself as foreign policymaking in D.C., where any idiot with a belligerent enough world view can rise to the top of somebody’s vanity project for massacring the natives and inflicting unnecessary injuries and death upon America’s military men.

This is our favorite part of Kagan’s column. Rather like an epicurean cannibal explaining the delicate tints of his favorite repast, Kagan simply oozes disdain about lesser meats in his poetic evocation of years and years of war crimes in Mesopotamia, thinly disguised with a peek-a-boo rhetoric of democratization, his like, botched and boiled in think tanks, eternally pulling the strings:

“Talk of reductions and withdrawal is as unhelpful as it almost certainly is ephemeral. For 2 1/2 years, despite the endless promise of reductions, despite election battles, scandals and shifting political fortunes, the United States has maintained a steady force of 130,000 to 150,000 troops in Iraq. You can bet that the numbers will not be dramatically smaller a year from now or even two years from now. Wouldn't we be better off, wouldn't our prospects for success be greater, if we just admitted it? Better still, the administration could explain why it is so important to keep these troops in place so that the public understands the long road ahead. It could start taking steps to increase the overall size of the U.S. military so that the sustained deployment doesn't "break" the Army. And it could stop making false promises of reductions that cannot and should not occur until Iraq is indeed secure and stable.”

That graf stands for itself, the internal, ulcerous chatter of the D.C. clique, with its illusions as to its own powers, both intellectual and political, and its ability to inflict these illusions on an international scale. Touring the Yorktown is a reminder of where that delusive mindset came from, as today’s epigones imitate yesterday’s giants. The Yorktown I toured was the second Yorktown – the first went down at Midway. The second was online in less than a year – which is an example of what happens when you attack a country with the largest manufacturing base in the world, as Japan (with something like ¼ the American economic reach) did in 1941. Yorktown’s history tracks the history of Pax Americana since, and one gets a 900 foot slice of it, from the radar room to the hospital quarters, when one tours the ship – sending a ping of military pride through even such an unlikely tourist as yours truly. And sixty odd years later, the healthy part of that American manufacturing base is oriented to the production of military wares for cheap imperialist visionaries, a sort of deathgrip of the death industries, while the unhealthy part dies in the Rustbelt or is sent to cheaper labor markets elsewhere.

4 comments:

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winn said...

Make sure you have some seafood on Shem Creek, while you're there.

I miss Charleston so much.

roger said...

Winn, I wish you had said that in your previous comment! I'm back in Atlanta. I did nose out a nice dive in Charleston on King and Ann streets - a studentridden place with malfunctioning pool tables and palmetto amber. Seafood, though -- well, I we bought it from some seafood shacks and cooked it ourselves. Although my bros aren't big on oysters, and I missed that.
I loved Charleston myself, but have a feeling it is getting resortified fast. In that narrow path between the supersized zombie death of a thousand urban outfitters on main street and the no jobs death that every American metropole must tread, it is tending towards the supersized pole. One hopes that the swamps and the storms will provide some natural limit.

winn said...

It has been going the zombie death for a while now. I remember when they started cleaning up the upper reaches of King Street and driving out the old merchants.

It's sad.

I know nothing about food in Atlanta other than that you should get some chili dogs at Varsity.