Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Rushing about smartly.

Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, referred to people who were very, very busy with trifles as people who are “rushing about smartly.” A similar idea is expressed in the so-far-as-I-know apocryphal story of the WWII U.S. bomber pilot in the Pacific who radioed that “We’re lost but making great time.”

Charles Hugh Smith makes a similar point about our 15-year war in Iraq:

As for Iraq, the implicit gain was supposed to be access to Iraqi oil. As near as I can make out, the U.S. imports about 600,000 barrels of oil per day from Iraq, a relatively modest percentage of our total oil consumption of 19.7 million barrels a day.

(Note that the U.S. was importing around 700,000 barrels a day from Iraq before Operation Iraqi Freedom was launched in March 2003 -- and imports from Iraq declined as a result of the war. So what was the energy-security gain from launching the war?)

To my chagrin, I bought the WMD justification for invading Iraq. But the “Axis of Evil” deal from Bush was just too ridiculous even to my credulous soul. That bit of juvenile nonsense was launched and then just slipped beneath the waves. But it did shine a light into the geostrategic mindset of George W. Bush. Run that by me again, George. I swear you just said "Axis of Evil."

N. Korea sat there ever since developing its nuclear program with some very stern finger wagging on our part during this period. And, of course, our doing all in our power to enrich China, N. Korea’s No. 1 protector and enabler. Some evil you just leave well enough alone.

Fast forward to Son of Iraq War where we added Bashar ("the mad dog ophthalmologist") al-Assad to the list of really bad people whose grip on state power is a direct threat to the people of Memphis. He’s got to go, that's sure, and if over 400,000 Syrians have to die, millions be turned into refugees, and thousands of GIs be killed or wounded to make that happen at immense cost, well, that, a la Madeline Albright, is just not too high a price to pay. No, it isn’t.

It’s the same mindset at work now as when Bush was bringing light to the world (and keeping those borders wide open). And it’s no better now than back then. Here’s a superb article by a former special operations guy wherein he describes the stunning confusion and absence of strategic vision involved with the DOD and CIA efforts in Syria to defeat ISIS and, respectively, bring down Assad. Nothing like spending millions to fight ISIS while you also also expend millions to bring down the one force absorbing the blows from ISIS and taking the fight to them, namely, the Syrian government.

It’s the first account I’ve read where you can actually get a close look at the thinking of our troops involved in this tragedy in Syria. The Special Forces guys come off looking good for their realization that they were being asked to train future jihadis – and their admirable contempt for that mission. Also, Delta Force distinguished itself by, say it isn’t so, executing mssions for which they are trained. What will they think of next?

The article is remarkable as well for the light it shines on the sentiment one sees in a lot of comments on the web, namely, that military people are stupid and nothing but former ghetto rats. Read it an ask yourself who’s stupid exactly.

Well, enough of my usual “it’s all lunacy” ravings. On the question of where America has gotten after more than 200 years of its grand experiment in self government you just can’t find a better way to sum it up than this title to one of Caitlin Johnstone's articles:

"Dear America: Please Stop This Shit. Signed, The Rest Of The World."

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