“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

Thursday, May 25, 2006

those chains aren't dissolving fast enough

When I look into history and see the multitudes of men, otherwise virtuous, who have died, and their families been ruined, in the defence of knaves and fools, and which they would not have done, had they reasoned at all upon the system; I do not know a greater good that an individual can render to mankind, than to endeavour to break the chains of political superstition. Those chains are now dissolving fast, and proclamations and persecutions will serve but to hasten that dissolution. – Thomas Paine

The AEI is a national treasure. As some will remember, it was the AEI who sent the eagle eyed Ken Zinsmeister to Iraq in April of 2005, and his results were summed up in the title of the article he wrote: The War is Over, and We Won.

It is this uncanny ability to find the story that others miss, and to make the hard, hard proposals that makes AEI a factory of opeds for places like the Washington Post. As is well known, editor Fred Hiatt is fatally attracted to the movers and shakers of the terrifyingly brainy inner court around our very own Good Leaker, POTUS extraordinaire, with their high idealism about putting freedom first around the world -- for which cause they are willing to sacrifice any amount of freedom in these here States.

Which is why this counter-intuitive, excellent op ed by Dan Blumenthal should get the ball rolling. Having won the war in Iraq, and making this economy sing, we need level headed people to patrol the precincts of paradise and run back to us screaming, Danger, Danger when they see Danger. And Blumenthal fills that task by spotting one of America’s biggest problems: we are not spending enough on the military.

It is scandalous. It turns out we are seriously underfunding the forces we will need to bomb China to fuck. Little tears, red white and blue ones, leaked from LI’s peepers as we read:

“The latest Quadrennial Defense Review states that China "has the greatest potential to compete militarily with the United States." The Pentagon seeks to "shape [China's] strategic choices" and to "dissuade any military competitor from developing disruptive or other capabilities that could enable regional hegemony." The Bush administration has taken some concrete action toward these ends. An upgraded alliance with Japan will improve our deterrent posture. The opening of a strategic relationship with India reflects in part an American desire to ensure that China does not gain hegemony over South or Central Asia. An increase in the size of the U.S. Navy's attack submarine fleet in Guam also brings more American capability into the Pacific. A nascent defense relationship with Vietnam may over time provide the American military with what it needs most in Asia -- more bases.

But our China policy leaves us a day late and a dollar short when it comes to the challenge posed by the speed of Beijing's military buildup. We still have restrictions on relations with Taiwan dating to the Carter era that make the island more difficult to defend. A stronger commitment by the Pentagon to developing long-range surveillance and strike capabilities would make Beijing less confident that it could use its vast territory as a sanctuary for its missile and other "disruptive" forces. Upgrading our undersea warfare capabilities will improve our regional freedom of action.”

LI has a few disagreements. For instance, we think we should gut the Department of War, destroy all of our missiles, shrink our navy by half, and take that money that doesn’t go to support Veterans benefits and devote it to investment into greening our infrastructure. We should simply give up on trying to be the world’s supreme military power. Completely. And we should pay no attention to China’s military whatsoever, but ask ourselves about using our own territory as a sanctuary for disruptive forces. We should downgrade our undersea warfare capability so radically that future generations will marvel that we ever spent money launching the useless, rusting flotillas we can, perhaps, display in various seaside parks.

Not that we do not appreciate the AEI’s absolute vigilance, putting the interest of Defense Industries before everything else on the planet. The A stands, for those in the know, for Alien. And special thanks from LI to WAPO for its endless willingness to make its editorial pages a soapbox for the rants of any and every two penny hawk to come down the pike. If you froth at the mouth, if you want to nuke Iran, if you consider Chavez a dictator and Iraq the free-est country in the Middle East, come on down – the WAPO editorial page has kept open a special place for you.

After you’ve treated yourself to the Blumenthal op ed, the second funniest piece on the web, at the moment – via Crooked Timber – is the Squirrel Leadership Council page, which declares the Euston Manifesto a hopeful sign that the European left is moving away from knee jerk Anti-Americanism. Surely the best thing about the piece is this sentence. Can self parody get any richer?

“It is, of course, an article of faith among Europe's lefties that America is a cultural and intellectual wasteland. But this, too, is beginning to change. A stream of Europeans passing through Washington this spring expressed surprise at the quality and variety of the debate in the city's dynamic think tanks.”

The land of dynamic think tanks. This is the true voice of a court society so sunk in the narcissistic stupor of admiring its face in the mirror that surely, as in all fairy tales, the time is coming when that mirror will tell the truth -- the dyanmic think tanks aren't the fairest in the land. They stink up the city. They are a pest and a menace, compounded out of an ambitious, unscrupulous lot of pecksniffs whose collective advice leads invariably to public disaster and the aggrandizement of their own private interests, giving them a relationship to this country much like the one between plasmodium falciparum and the anopheles moquitoes.


Amie said...

LI, if one were to listen to you there would be no one to defend the Fatherland from the barbarian hordes of Islamo-fascits, the yellow plague, etc.
And please don't bring up that the good folk of the Army Corps of Engineers did a bang-up job constructing the dikes in New Orleans, or that little ol Netherlands ( how big is their defense budget? ) seems to have been able to build dikes that work as well as preserve their wetlands. For some reason they don't want to hand over their wetlands to oil companies, how backward of them. But then they ride around on bicycles, the healthy bastards who also boast a public health plan. I do so hope there were some dutch among the 'stream of europeans' impressed by the dynamic think tanks in DC, and can go back and set things straight on militarism, ecology, public health, etc.
But to give you credit where due, I do realize after reading your post why I have been suffering from recurring bouts of fever, shivers, nausea...

Brian Miller said...

I guess my only response, roger, would be that your proposal would mean the utter collapse of the illusionary pyramid scheme we call the American economy. Because, we don't produce anything or manufacture anything that anyone wants-except weapons. The Asians have the consumer goods markets sewn up, the Europeans the luxury goods and environmental technology, we have...smart bombs.

roger said...

Amie, according to LI's Booke of Nostroms and Potions, the fevers you are suffering from stem from 'Newes poisoning'. Alas, sufferers sometimes reach a point where they actually want to hear speeches by our Prez out of a masochistic desire for the worst. Symptoms are laughing or crying hysterically in public places, having a strong desire to hit people who say things like, I'm a skeptic about global warming, and a desire to jump through the radio when NPR is interviewing another flack from the Heritage foundation, come out the microphone, and dance with cleated shoes on his head.

Unfortunately, the Booke's cure is a basalisk oil combined with "the monstrous root of Briony described in Aldrovandus." I'm not quite sure if you can get that at Whole Foods. The other thing I'd recommend is reading The comte de Monte Cristo before bedtime, if you haven't read it. It is pretty entertaining, especially if, like me, you've never seen a movie version. Not Balzac, but not bad.

roger said...

Since I wrote this post, I learned, via Fromkin, that Karl Zinsmeister, the man who wrote the "The War is over and we won" article, has just been appointed to a job at the white house.

LI wants to wish him the very best in his job. Apparently, Zinsmeister is going to be the White House point man for the tough ones. Tomorrow he is issuing a press release: U.S. deficit all paid off!, next week is "global warming: case closed, and of course he is going to keep a special watch on the gulf coast this summer to issue releases like: 'lack of hurricanes over past five years due to President's prayers' and 'Katrina in retrospect called minor, gusts up to 20 mph at the very highest.' With a man like Karl helping out the country, we are bound for glory!