why do the troops hate the troops?
"We're not making any progress," Hedin said, as he recalled a comrade who was shot by a sniper last week. "It just seems like we drive around and wait to get shot at."
The incredible collapsing rhetorical bullshit dodge: If you question the war, you demean the service of the troops (who, uh, question the war). Anyway, eventually we'll look back on these days and...uh...yeah.
In other news, posting will be light for a few days. End of the school year! Writing! Grading!
Yeah, blech. But at least we have a variety of tasty booze.
As the disaster in Iraq metastasizes, look for a lot more of this
Messengers will be shot daily.
let me see if I have my arms around these cones
"All right, so the next – do we – okay, lost the slide, there."
"I think the –"
"Is it –"
"Yeah, I think the, just, the battery thing –"
"To save the –"
"Yeah, to save the – just, just the mouse, just bump – It’s for the battery, to save the battery. So if you –"
"Right, okay, good, got it. Uhh – so next slide, we’ve got – we’ve got cones."
"Now, these are orange – Major Davis, did you want to take this one?"
"I think I’ll uh – we’ll defer to Colonel Mattis on this one."
"Colonel – Dave? Want to walk us through this one?"
"Right, thank you, uh. Orange cones. These are safety – We’ve identified, Major Collins at the Area Support Group passed on a comment from Sergeant Major Ashe, at Third Army –"
"That’s the CSM?"
"Sergeant Major Ashe, the CS – the command sergeant major there, over at Third Army, basically he came through on a dog and pony, and what his comment was to us was that we have some significant vehicular traffic –"
"Non-tactical vehicles, tactical vehicles, things of that nature –"
"Right, a variety, really, of vehicular, vehicular – of numerous vehicular vehicles
, uh, vehicular-type traffic, of a vehicular nature, moving and so forth in the vicinity of some fairly dense foot traffic –"
"Pedestrians, correct, things of that nature, uh, on foot –"
"Correct, correct, yes, walking. Conducting pedestrian activity
. In the vicinity of vehicular traffic."
"Correct. And there’s some concern, some, some concern about – about a vehicle-on-pedestrian."
"Basically an accident."
"Basically a collision, something of that nature, with potentially injuries."
"Or a fatality."
"A fatality-type event, sure. Definitely. And the CSM, he made that observation to us on his visit, and that comment has generated – uh, some substantial discussion at his headquarters, and at our headquarters, and elsewhere."
attention, on several occasions. Signif
icant discussion. Lot of stars on this. And there is some fairly significant consensus that now would be the time to move forward with some fairly significant safety measures."
"Cones were mentioned."
"At the general officer level. Several times. Lot of stars with their eyes in this direction."
"Now, these would be – these would be orange, orange safety cones, something fairly sturdy, something fairly attention-getting, and basically – uh, essentially, the thought, the intent, was that these cones would be distributed in such a fashion as to warn, to indicate, to drivers
, that –"
"Look out. Because there are – there are, uh, numerous – numerous pedestrians
in the vicinity."
A tense pause. Eyes around the table.
"John, you look troubled."
"Colonel, you want in on this one?"
"I – I’m just – let me see if I have my arms around these cones. Would these – would these be, for example, in the nature of a reflective-type
"Correct, unknown at this time. Not among the knowns."
"We would need to workshop that issue."
"The sign-off would be fairly substantial – we would need consensus from CFLCC, ASG, Third Army, CENTCOM –"
"Mayor cells to start."
"And definitely mayor cells, to begin with, right here on the camps."
"Can we set that meeting up?"
"Maybe a preliminary, go in with it as a question –"
"Not a, ‘here are the cones we want,’ but a, ‘what would you want in a cone?’"
"Absolutely. What would you want in a cone. Solid approach."
"Absolutely, because I tell you what: If I’m gonna put this on a desk in front of a general officer, two or three stars looking at this –"
"Ducks in a row."
"Ducks in a row
, absolutely, we don’t wanna free-ball this one at that level."
"Okay, so here’s where I think we are on this. I’m gonna ask – Jack, what if we task this over to Captain Melendez, over in your shop?"
"You bet. Although I’d want to ask Major Anderson to have overwatch on it, to be cautious."
"Sure, and just have him basically – we want to shepherd this through the various steps, put together a schedule, basically something like a – a –"
"Like a flow chart
"Absolutely. Like a flow chart, just –"
"Some graphics. PowerPoint it out, on a preliminary basis."
“To begin showing us where we are, where we need to get to."
"See it on a page."
"See it on a page, just one good clear page, how we’re gonna get there."
"Ducks in a row."
"Ducks in a row."
"Well that’s a –"
"That’s a good start."
"That is, and I definitely feel better, you know, knowing that the ball is rolling on this one. Because we need to –"
"Now, what about purchasing authority?"
"Now, hold on, because – that’s not a step I think we’re ready to take, just yet."
"Nail down the –"
"That’s right, nail down what we’re buying
before we talk about how we’re, how we’re, you know –"
"You bet, absolutely."
"So Tim –"
"Tim’s gonna – Captain Melendez, let’s get him in here next week, begin to put some pictures on the wall, get the path in front of us, and we’ll – we’ll go from there. Okay. So. We good? Any alibis? No? Good. Next item?"
"Okay, let me just get this slide – this thing, it – okay, right, so we’re considering some just exploratory discussion on some potentially non-slip-type surfaces around the urinals."
"Major Richardson, wanna take us through this one?"
"You bet, sir, and let me just start off by saying that there’s some controversy about this one between the various headquarters. ASG and CFLCC are not on the same page, urinal-area-wise."
A hand goes up.
"I do have an alibi, Jerry, if we can just – I need to go back to the cones. Could we just nail down the type of orange we might be looking at, here?"
maybe someone could explain
According to this
February press release from the FBI (scroll down in the linked document), a civilian employee of the U.S. Army took $50,000 in bribes -- or "illegal gratuities" -- while working at Camp Arifjan, the headquarters of the army's Area Support Group-Kuwait
, prior to his March 17, 2006
According to this
Army fraud prevention newsletter, a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel was videotaped by federal agents accepting a $3,400 bribe while working at Camp Arifjan, the headquarters of the army's Area Support Group-Kuwait
, prior to his August 18, 2006
arrest. The lieutenant colonel died soon after of ethylene glycol poisoning, at another U.S. Army camp in Kuwait, under circumstances that the Army has never explained. Following a FOIA request, I have this officer's death certificate; the "mode of death" boxes are covered with redaction marks, making it impossible to tell if the medical examiner believes that the officer killed himself, was killed by someone else, or died accidentally. He died of poisoning in the same country he took bribes in, while awaiting prosecution, so that would seem to me to be an important distinction.
According to this blog post
, assembled from U.S. Army procurement fraud reports, a Kuwaiti company "provided gratuities to [unnamed] Army personnel assigned to the Camp Arifjan, Kuwait
, finance office," leading to the company's debarment from government contracting in June, 2006
According to this
U.S. Army procurement fraud newsletter, a chief warrant officer assigned to Camp Arifjan, the headquarters of the army's Area Support Group-Kuwait
, was debarred from government contracting on March 6, 2006
, after being caught signing a "bogus 'loan contract'" with Kuwaiti contractors.
According to this
news story and this
Department of Justice press release, another
chief warrant officer pled guilty to accepting a $50,000 bribe while assigned in December 2005
to Camp Arifjan, the headquarters of the army's Area Support Group-Kuwait
Anyone seeing a pattern, here?
The hell of it is that I visited Camp Arifjan fairly often during late 2005 and early 2006, and not one person ever handed me an envelope full of cash. Which appears to make me the exception, I guess. Was it something I said?
The Area Support Group-Kuwait had the same commander during all of these instances of corruption, by the way. He's a colonel in the U.S. Army. And he's not that hard to find, if some sort of journalist somewhere would like to ask him why so much corruption happened in the same place, at the same time, and on his watch
decades of successful failure
Dear sweet fucking All That Is Holy
, does Joe Klein make my eyes bleed
, Lord Baby Jesus Help Me. He's been so entirely and consistently wrong for such a long time
that he...yeah, is one of our leading journalists. Hold me while I vomit?
still another piece of evidence.
moving toward dien bien phu
In a recent post
, I suggested that we're entering a new phase of the American war in Iraq -- one that will be characterized by the growing (possibly metastasizing) sophistication, discipline, and effectiveness of the many organizations that are trying to kill Americans (and one another). Here's some new evidence
that this interpretation is at least partly correct, and the violence against Americans in Iraq is becoming significantly more serious:
With eight days still to go, May 2007 caps the deadliest six-month period for America of the entire Iraq war -- 540 dead, and counting. May also ends the first six-month period during which at least 80 American service personnel (never mind contractors) died every single month. It's been quite a Friedman Unit. Hopefully, there won't be another fatality the remainder of May; but if the pace continues at the present rate, April and May will also become the first back-to-back triple-digit fatality months.
I think the bottom is a long way off. But I also think the bottom is coming up on us, and can't be avoided if we stay in Iraq.
Also see this
, which suggests a growing friction in the U.S. military's long supply line between its war in the middle of Iraq and its base of logistical support in Kuwait.
ADDED STILL LATER:From the AP
"In the period from Memorial Day 2006 through Saturday, 980 soldiers and Marines died in Iraq, compared to 807 deaths in the previous year. And with the Baghdad security operation now 3 1/2 months old, even President Bush has predicted a difficult summer for U.S. forces."
that about sums it up
Love the quote here
from a Marine Corps spokesman about the year-long delay in fielding bomb-resistant vehicles requested by commanders in Iraq:
A lack of manufacturing capability kept the Marines from issuing that request, Johnson-Miller adds. "There just wasn't anybody that could meet those requirements," he says. "The industrial base wasn't there."
The United States built 100,000 warplanes during its four-year-long involvement in WWII. Before plunging into profound economic decay and industrial backwardness, apparently.
The comments to the linked post are also incredibly telling, by the way.
rotting from within
"Bribery (Kuwait): On 5 September 2006, the Army SDO suspended Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Marshall A. Gutierrez, United States Army, who was assigned to the U.S. Army Area Support Group Kuwait (ASG-KU), located at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, as Director of Logistics. On 18 August 2006, LTC Gutierrez was arrested by CID agents based on allegations that between 1 July and 18 August 2006, he offered to disclose procurement-sensitive information to an employee of a contractor currently providing logistics support to the U.S. Army, in exchange for a cash payment of approximately $3,400. Immediately prior to his arrest, LTC Gutierrez was observed and recorded by CID agents receiving a cash payment of approximately $3,400 from the contractor. On 22 August 2006, the Commander, ASG-KU, preferred charges against LTC Gutierrez. (Mr. Persico) Bribery (Kuwait). On 11 September 2006, the Army SDO terminated the suspension of LTC Marshall A. Gutierrez, United States Army. On 5 September 2006, the Army SDO suspended LTC Gutierrez, who was assigned to the U.S. Army Area Support Group Kuwait (ASG-KU), based on allegations that, between 1 July and 18 August 2006, he offered to disclose procurement-sensitive information to an employee of a contractor providing logistics support to the U.S. Army, in exchange for a cash payment of approximately $3,400. LTC Gutierrez died on 5 September 2006."More here.Also useful.
stand there long enough, and someone will figure out where you're standing
1) State Department employees in the Green Zone now in helmets and body armor at all times while outdoors, due to increasingly effective mortar and rocket attacks.
2) Successful smash and grab attack ends in the capture and disappearance of U.S. soldiers, who now cannot be found by thousands of searchers; the quick reaction forces responding to the attack both slowed by roadside bombs, suggesting that their routes were known or anticipated by shrewd guess work. Or luck, in which case there are just a lot
of roadside bombs scattered around.
3) "In the northern city of Mosul, more than 200 Sunni Arab insurgents mounted a sophisticated attack on several targets using suicide car bombers, rocket-propelled grenades, assault rifles and improvised bombs, said Maj. Gen. Watheq al-Hamdani, the top police commander in Mosul."
Company-sized elements launching combined arms attacks. Those dead-enders are really dragging out their last throes.
So: I think we may be entering a significant new phase of the war, here, as multiple contenders have reached a critical level of discipline and cohesion. They've got the range on us, is what it looks like to me, and can begin the real work.
Or not, and here's hoping I'm wrong. But the next few weeks will be interesting to watch. And my sense grows that our departure will take place under uglier circumstances the longer it's delayed.
I would like to hear from anyone who worked in or for the Area Support Group-Kuwait, as a government employee or as a private contractor, who can offer credible information about allegations of padding and kickbacks in military contracts. I have a death certificate for a senior officer in that command who apparently committed suicide by drinking antifreeze, and I'd like to develop some good information on what happened with taxpayer money in Kuwait. I can be reached by email: chrisabray (at) yahoo dot com.
Please don't leave comments here that contain unproven or unprovable accusations, or accusations containing specific names or identities, but do use the comment thread if you can point us to credible evidence of corruption. For other information, use the email address above, and thank you.
of course, they were asking on the venice boardwalk...
race you to the bottom
Moderator: Okay, our next question is for Governor Romney. Governor, what steps will you take with regard to the American prison at Guantanamo Bay?
Romney: Bigger! I'll double it.
Moderator: Yes, Mayor Giuliani, I see you have your hand up.
Giuliani: I'll triple it!
Moderator: I see. Governor Romney, would you care to --
Giuliani: Twice! I'll triple it twice!
Moderator: Yes, I see. Gov--
Giuliani: Infinity-billion! With waterboarding!
Romney: I can't -- excuse me, I can't allow that. That's a despicable attempt to distort the record, and if I can just --
Moderator: Go ahead, governor.
Romney: Yes, thank you. Mr. Giuliani claims that he will take a tougher position with regard to Gitmo, and that's just -- that's just outrageous. I stand before you tonight with a plainspoken pledge to grow that prison by, by... infinity squared-billion
, with waterboarding and, uh, and electric shock to the genitals.
Moderator: I see. Mayor --
. Hourly electric shock to the genitals! For randomly chosen Muslims!
Giuliani: Well, I'll personally torture Muslims in the White House!
Romney: I --
Giuliani: In my bedroom! In my bedroom at the White House, with -- with -- with toilet plungers and red-hot pokers
, and --
Romney: I'll personally skull-fuck a Muslim baby to death! On national television!
Giuliani: I'll randomly slaughter ten -- uh, fifty
Romney: I'll drink the blood of a million Muslim elderly!
Giuliani: I'll wade
in it! Swim in it! Swim in the blood of millions of Muslims! I, I, I -- I AM BECOME DEATH, DESTROYER OF WORLDS!!! I WILL PERPETRATE A SLAUGHTER, WITH UNRELENTING TORTURE AND AGONY, NEVER BEFORE SEEN ON THE -- uh, yeah?
Moderator: Red light, Mayor Giuliani, thank you. That's time. Our next question is for Representative Ron Paul. Congressman Paul, what premises will be the foundation of your foreign policy?
Paul: Well, I believe in moderation and restraint.
Moderator: Uh, come again?
Paul: Moderation and restraint, Brit, I said I believe in --
Moderator: No, no, I got it, I just, uh -- wow. So, uh. Hmm.
Paul: What I'm saying here is that we should be mindful of unintended consequences, and recognize that an aggressive American military presence in the Middle East may be provocative, and cause us more harm than good in the long run.
Paul: Is this thing on?
Giuliani: Heh. Heh.
Giuliani (circling temple with finger): Cuckoo! Cuckoo!
Romney: Hey, who let the crazy guy
Romney: I mean, are they having auditions for the nuthouse
? Who is
(The moderator signals for silence.)
(Laughter dies down slowly.)
Moderator: Ladies and gentlemen. Ladies and gentlemen. Let's -- okay, we have limited time, so let's -- okay, good. Now, another question for Representative Paul. Congressman, can America afford due process of law?
Paul: Well, Brit, I'm on record as saying that I support habeas corpus.
governing for the convenience of government
Here's my favorite ongoing example of government putting its own wants ahead of the interests of the people it serves. And you probably don't know about it, is the best part.
In 1993, the California legislature "decriminalized" parking citations, freeing the state's crowded courts from hearing most challenges to those tickets. The state instead developed a new system of checks and balances to protect wrongly cited drivers, requiring that contested tickets be reviewed by the agencies that issued those tickets
. Drivers are allowed an appeal, also to the same agency that issued the ticket, and then may finally take their tickets to court as a second
But the gate to the courthouse is strong: Drivers have to pay the ticket and a court filing fee to have their challenge heard as a civil matter, and the appeal to the court has to be properly formatted and collated before the court clerk will accept it. Given the barriers to entry, I suspect that most people with bullshit tickets don't bother to take them to court. Remarkably, I haven't been able to find any study by the state or a court on the number of parking citations being contested; the law was implemented and forgotten, left to run however it ran.
Fourteen years after decriminalization, most cities don't employ their own parking review "adjudicators." Rather, an industry of for-profit contractors has grown up from the rich soil of effectively unreviewed and lawless "citations" issued by cash-hungry cities and other government organizations. I emailed a sales representative at one of those companies, ACS
, to ask for the marketing materials they send to cities that are looking for parking management services. The brochure they emailed -- not available online, sadly -- predictably promises that ACS will maximize fine revenues for client cities. And, yes, they offer "adjudication" services.
So here's your protection against wrongful citation and the government bullshitting up a ticket so it can get into your pocket for forty-five dollars: A private contractor, who works for the people who ticketed you and has sold his or her services by promising to squeeze more cash out of your pockets, will evaluate your claim that you have been mistakenly cited.
What could go wrong?
Better yet, other safeguards are also eroding. The state Vehicle Code requires that citations include the last four digits of your car's vehicle identification number, or VIN, in addition to your license plate number, to help catch license plate transcription errors. I got a ticket, a few weeks ago, and my VIN -- my plainly readable
VIN -- didn't appear on the ticket. So I used the state's public records law to review other citations written by the same officer, and guess what?
And I can't say that I blame him. If you knew the "adjudicator" was on your side, would you bother to follow the law?
So here we have a perfect example of an instance in which government, finding it inconvenient to follow the law, and finding it time-consuming to provide a system of due process, opts out. Shuts down its checks and balances. Tips the scales in its own direction.
And the result?
More revenue, more easily obtained.
And how many people even realize what happened, or why it matters?
curiouser and curiouser
Would anyone care to speculate on what Douglas Lute is thinking
? Because I'm pretty confident that a guy with three stars on his shoulder is not, in fact, going to whip the war bureaucracy into shape. A bunch of retired four-star types recognized
that the job was a cul
-sac, so they gave it to someone farther down the food chain? Somebody has a masochism problem.
somewhat related topics
Visitors reached Historiblography today by googling the terms "larry king chocolate cake" and "sociological study on coprophilia."
hey john doe
back when war was shiny and neat and fun and everybody laughed and played and fought like a big fun game hooray!!!
Annnnnd finally, we arrive at the last post about Frederick Kagan's The Military Reforms of Nicholas I: The Origins of the Modern Russian Army
So. The book was greeted with highly favorable reviews in the history journals, and appears to be -- I'm no expert on Russian history -- a well-researched, well-argued piece of scholarship.
It also starts with a clammy-handed fanboy introduction of the sort written by war bloggers after a day spent watching the History Channel or reading Victor Davis Hanson, and please do try to hear this in your head in the voice of Buster Bluth:
The Napoleonic era was one of the most dramatic in European history. New ideas, social structures, military organizations, and, of course, exciting military campaigns followed one another with bewildering rapidity. To many, and especially to modern students of those times, the drama that Napoleon brought with him was a breath of fresh air sweeping away the stagnation of the eighteenth century. By contrast, the period following the collapse of Napoleon's empire seems a dark and dreary time...
This perception has seemed equally valid to many students of the military history of the period. It is a commonplace that Napoleon introduced radically new ways of waging warfare that put an end to the stagnant "limited war" of the previous century and pointed the way toward modern warfare: fast, mobile, decisive, and dramatic. Napoleon and his dashing marshals impressed themselves upon history in memorable campaigns such as Ulm, Marengo, Austerlitz, and Jena. By comparison, both the generals and the limited conflicts of the next three decades would seem dull, pedestrian, and fruitless. It was as though generals and statesmen after Napoleon vied with each other to return to the old, futile ways, ignoring the path to the future he had shown them.
Get the picture? "Dashing" warriors in "exciting" campaigns versus the dullness of limited war
. (I have an idea: Let's take our military advice from this
guy.) Real war is all shiny helmets and pretty ponies, and what a shame that our toy soldier people don't wear big handsome plumes in their shiny helmets, anymore, hooray! Shiny helmets! (And booooo, mean Mr. Metternich, 'cause of he made everybody have to have all those stoopid decades of boring stoopid peace, and it was soooooo boring
I picture him actually jumping up and down and clapping, flushed and pie-eyed. And then cookies, and straight to bed.
exterminate the brutes
A respectable American journalist openly calls for
the, ahem, existential solution
to the problem of Sunni Arabs in Iraq. (Via.
Maybe we can combine this smart idea with Thomas Sowell's proposed military coup/crackdown on liberal degeneracy in the United States, soaking the earth in blood and ushering in the utopian dawn when all who walk the surface of the scorched remains of the planet will wear "I am John Doe" buttons.
And people say the American right doesn't have creative solutions to offer.
I don't agree with every word, but I still love this
snoopy hat tips the red baron
"I could never have completed this work without the support of a great number of people. From the outset, Lt. Gen. William E. Odom (U.S. Army, Ret.) has been a source of inspiration and encouragement. His enthusiasm and repeated reassurance that this was a valuable project that should be seen to its conclusion has been a mainspring of my efforts."
-- Frederick W. Kagan, The Military Reforms of Nicholas I: The Origins of the Modern Russian Army
(New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999), xi.This guy
thanks this guy
. It's like finding out that Ashlee Simpson learned to sing at Patsy Cline's house.
even the terrorists are john doe
High fucking comedy:
Back in November one of the plotters called a Philly police officer and told him that he'd been approached by someone [i.e., the government informant] "who was pressuring him to obtain a map of Fort Dix, and that he feared the incident was terrorist-related."
One of the suspected terrorists called the police to report that he'd been approached by a possible terrorist, who was an undercover cop responding to a tip about possible terrorists.
Somewhere in New Jersey a defense lawyer is laughing.
the kuhnian paradigm shift (cont)
Same players, same events, but the tragedy is turning to comedy
i am, rest assured, sighing heavily
john doe versus jihad 4-ever!!!
For years, Cooter lived out behind the bowling alley on Willowtree Boulevard, getting by off an insurance settlement and the income from the aluminium cans he fished out of his neighbor's trash cans. Cooter watched TV, spent a lot of time surfing the Internet, stared out the window all day, and drank as much cheap beer as he could afford.
And one other thing: Cooter called the police. Cooter called the police two or three times a day, reporting trucks with bad mufflers, people who walked their dogs through the neighborhood and looked a little shifty, loud noises of unknown origin (which was usually someone at the bowling alley throwing trash in the dumpster), and squirrels that seemed a little crazy and might have the Black Death on 'em. Once he called the police seven times in one morning to report that a crowd was gathering for a riot; the dispatcher finally sent a sergeant out to make sure Cooter understood that his neighbor's four-year-old was allowed to have a birthday party without multijurisdictional riot control in place. Eventually everyone who answered the phone at the police department got to know Cooter's phone number, and they got used to ignoring his calls.
Then one day a group of bank robbers swooped in on Littleburgh to take down the town's biggest credit union. But right before the robbery, one of the criminals dropped his gun in a gas station parking lot while fishing out his wallet to pick up a pre-heist tallboy of MGD. The robber picked up the gun real fast, but the gas station owner saw the gun and called the police. When the officers arrived, they realized that the car in that gas station parking lot was the very same Ford Fairmont that had just been used during a robbery in a neighboring town, and they arrested every single one of those bank robbers before they had a chance to rob the credit union. The whole town was very happy.
That night, Cooter was watching TV and staring out the window, wondering if he should maybe call 911 to report the Toyota that just drove by the house and maybe seemed a little hinky for reasons he couldn't quite put a finger on. Then a stray cat ran across the roof, and Cooter never got to report the Toyota, because he was running to the phone to call in what he was pretty sure was the opening moments of a home invasion robbery.
As he hung up the phone, Cooter heard the anchor on the TV news talking about the robbers. They would have taken down the credit union, she said, if the gas station owner hadn't called in on that gun. Cooter's eyes went wide.
"You see that?" he said to his imaginary friend, a shiny silver iguana with spinning lollipops for eyes. "That gas station fella, he called the police, and he saved the whole town!"
Cooter looked around, his face shining. He felt, for the first time, that his life had meaning
"Always call the police
," he told his imaginary iguana friend, pride animating his voice. "That's how me and that gas station fella do it, you see. We're a... we're a band of warriors
, standing up to all the evil in the world! Him and me, stopping robbers and everything
The iguana nodded sagely, in an imaginary way.
And then the night manager at the bowling alley brought out another load of trash, and Cooter called 911 to report in on the sound.
freedom is on the mar- ahh, fuck it
Don't tell the other fanboyz
, but the Iraq War's number one fanboy doesn't believe in the premise of the war
What is here suggested is that in Russia the very process of "westernization" helped preserve autocracy and repression.
The reason for this apparent paradox is that the first part of "westernization," the creation of the rechtstaat, the state ruled by law, in fact strengthens the autocrat's ability to control his state, implement his will, and crush other opinions if he so chooses. The development of modern, efficient, "western" methods of government, in other words, can serve an autocrat just as well as a democrat.
-- Frederick W. Kagan
, The Military Reforms of Nicholas I: The Origins of the Modern Russian Army
(New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999), 8-9.
More to come, and I'm withholding the funniest parts for now. I'm gonna milk
this one. But here's a fun Historiblography
quiz, and no fair looking:
Who's the first person Kagan
thanks in the acknowledgements?
but my daddy said he liked it
If you're anywhere near a decent library, I so so strongly encourage you to get your hands on a copy of Frederick Kagan's 1999 book The Military Reforms of Nicholas I
. Read the first pages of the acknowledgements and the introduction, and see if you don't actually laugh out loud.
More later, but wow
In 2004, Michael Moore compared Iraqi insurgents to the Minutemen of the American revolution. This meant
that he was a massively deranged far-left lunatic, well beyond the boundaries of polite discussion.
In 2007, the person making that comparison
is a general in the British army.
What we have on our hands here, ladies and gentlemen, is the political equivalent of a Kuhnian paradigm shift
. There will be no going back to the old paradigm. The language of the old paradigm
, no matter how aggressively re-asserted, will be experienced by most people as something quaint and sad, like a rusted Edsel or a presidential candidate who raises his hand when asked who on the stage doesn't believe in evolution. The premises have changed, down at the foundational level.
It's all over but the inevitable part
where the king and his ministers are compelled to accept their failure.
And that last part is pretty much the big problem.
because it hurts, is why
I have a bunch of long posts in my head, and just can't find the energy. And here
, in a nutshell, is why.
Doesn't it feel like we've just been having the same discussion over and over again for the last two or three years?
Meanwhile, at the LAPD blog, the comments
to a post on the MacArthur Park "disturbance" open a curious window onto a world of people who wish
the United States were more like a banana republic:
Only in America are illegal imigrants granted the right to protest act like jack asses and then be commended or defended when they get the hammer! In other countries we would be jailed and then you would never hear about it, but not here.
I particularly like the accidental "we," but yes: What a disappointment that our government doesn't disappear protesters in ways that you would never hear about.
Or even simpler
: "The LAPD should have opened fire on them for real." Exactly right! We need a government that regularly mows people down
! Not enough gunfire, I say!
And then there's this one
, which I won't even try to summarize.
I find that I'm frequently reminded, these days, of the rant
delivered to a column of German prisoners in Band of Brothers
: "Hey, you! That's right, you stupid Kraut bastards. That's right. Say hello to Ford, and General fuckin' Motors. You stupid fascist pigs. Look at you. You have horses. What were you thinking? Dragging our asses half way around the world, interrupting our lives. For what, you ignorant, servile scum. What the fuck are we doing here?"
If it bothers you that you live in a country where protesters aren't shot, you might consider moving.
why i love blogs
In the comments to this post
, a reader from the UK offers a couple of smart posts to defend and discuss the National Health Service. Scroll down for Sharon's two comments toward the bottom, and thanks to Sharon for taking the time.
See also this
recent item on the NHS for discussion, via
"A person doesn't have to be in the military or government to support OPSEC...As a Nation, we are in this fight together, and all Americans are encouraged to practice OPSEC."
-- Major Ray Ceralde
, United States Army
the road to newburgh
I have a new post
up at Cliopatria, in case anyone cares.
hans miklas has a stirring in his pants
The funny thing about Thomas Sowell's "hmm, maybe ve should overthrow der government mit ein military coup" comment
isn't the, you know, comment itself, or even the late-Weimar focus on the "degeneracy"
of liberal culture. It's the chin-scratching, middle-distance-gazing posts
in response from people who think that he just might be onto something
I just ate, so I haven't had the stomach yet to look in on Dan Riehl's reaction.
(*Insert own mental image of Strangelove biting gloved fist.)
health services, state power, and social control (3)
Great Britain, where illness is a lifestyle failure that the government should punish:
A survey of more than 1,000 GPs and hospital doctors showed that 70 per cent said that the NHS should not pay for every type of operation but there was no consensus on what the NHS should fund.
When asked if patients should pay for treating accidents or illnesses caused by lifestyle choice, 38 per cent were unsure, 33 per cent said the NHS should pay and 28 per cent said patients should pay.
The online survey by Doctors.net.uk for The Daily Telegraph, shows that doctors continue to support the health service, but are increasingly concerned about how it can be afforded. There was support for asking patients to pay for all or part of their treatment as a means of deterring time-wasters, with 70 per cent agreeing this would be an effective measure...
Dr Tim Ringrose, the director of professional relations at Doctors.net.uk, said the large number of respondents "illustrated that the profession has widely differing opinions about how far the NHS can go to provide "cradle to the grave'' care. "The vast majority of doctors still believe that the NHS should fund the majority of care for surgical procedures, but only a minority think that fertility treatment, gender reassignment and illnesses related to lifestyle should be fully funded by the public purse.''
-- The Daily Telegraph
, March 31, 2007.
I invite you to imagine our own legislators parsing these categories of "accidents or illnesses caused by lifestyle" and "time-wasters."
So the question to me is not about the potential for "misuse" of state medical power, nor of "oversight" and "checks and balances." Normative practices aren't policable as malfeasance
; moral judgments in the political realm don't trigger protections against unlawful abuse of state mechanisms.
Reproductive medicine, for example, was born as an instrument of power -- not because government officials broke laws and overstepped legal boundaries, but because that was the established practice. That power doesn't just switch off; history continues. In Great Britain, government doctors believe that the state shouldn't pay to treat your illness or injury if it can be construed as having been caused by your "lifestyle." And what does that mean? And who defines "lifestyle" versus "non-lifestyle" illness?
There's no way to answer that question without awarding moral power over your body to politicians.
Anyway, more later. I'm just getting started (he said, to a collective groan).
health services, state power, and social control (2)
Great Britain under the National Health Service (all ellipses mine, with emphasis added and the last paragraph broken in two for ease of reading):
With each new service provision, technological advance or development in medical knowledge, the very concept of health expands and widens. Once could argue that the concept of health has recently expanded to include the right of women to have children (IVF and advances in reproductive technologies); the right of men to have an erection (Viagra); and the right not to be unhappy (Prozac)...
The UK government has responded to this in a number of ways, including increased finance. However, two particular responses regarding responsible citizenship are the focus of discussion here. The first response is emphasizing citizens' role in promoting and maintaining their own health. The New Public Health (NPH) has been a key vehicle in this response...
The NPH approach focuses on identifying and tackling factors that underlie the causes of illness -- the upstream factors. While this is an important part of any public health model, the upstream factors being identified are less the structural inequalities of society and more the action of individuals. In an increasing number of UK government initiatives, concerns about the structural causes of ill health have been replaced by a focus on individual action and upon individual's social capital... People are being encouraged to rely more upon themselves. A key feature of this argument is that the NPH (including health promotion) is adopting a neo-liberal approach to achieve its own objectives, particularly when faced with the fiscal concerns of increasing demands upon health services.
This ideology is trying to break the link in public perception between provision of services and demands for health improvement. The value of access to services is being replaced with a new preoccupation with controlling at risk behaviors. Despite the language of empowerment, the agenda of NPH still reflects government objectives laid out by professional experts. The NPH can be regarded as a moral enterprise, promoting prescriptions for how we should live our lives. This is politicization of the self, through discourses of empowerment.
-- Ian Shaw, in Harvard Health Policy Review
, Vol. 6, No. 1 (Spring 2005), 87-96.
health services, state power, and social control
the first of many in a coming series
Ellipsis from original:
In 1937, North Carolina became the first state to sanction the provision of contraceptives with tax dollars; it was soon followed by six other southern states. Fear of black population growth during the hard times of the Depression encouraged the move toward state-supported birth control. As an official in North Carolina explained, "on one occasion a health officer didn't think his county needed contraception... When he discovered that the Negroes were accounting for 85 percent of the births, he quickly changed his mind."
-- John D'Emilio and Estelle B. Freedman, Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997), pg. 247
More, in more detailed posts, to follow.
four years of peace
I almost forgot: Happy Mission Accomplished Day
Too tired to develop this thought fully, but what if it turns out that the growing potence of technologically empowered terrorism and systems disruption
represents a democratization of mutual assured destruction, and so ends up creating a kind of long nervous peace?