The Happy Slave

This is my surrender to the Powers that Be, who wish we all were just happy little slaves, tooling along without a care in the world, doing what our better-educated masters tell us to do, not daring to step out of line. I'm so bad at surrender...

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Location: Indianapolis, United States

I'm an old-fashioned Get-out-of-my-face-atarian. So long as the gubmint left me alone, I had no problems with it. Gubmint wants to run my life, so I'm doing something about it. (Not just blogging, either.)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Idealists make bad leaders

Those of us who have not turned politics into a religion are not at all surprised at what is happening right now in the Middle East. But for totalitarian cultists, the only response to failure is to indulge in the mental disease of "harder–faster", as my old fencing master used to put it. What I mean by harder–faster is to respond to failure by merely repeating the exact same failed act, but just do it harder and faster. Then it must work, since there is no way that your dearly–held political dogmas could ever be wrong–headed and outright delusional. According to political cultists, the only way to get a failed policy to work is to just do it over and over. In other words, indulge in mental illness—do the same thing over and over and expect different results.

Today, the current crop of cultists in charge are proving that dogmatic politics and mental illness are pretty much the same thing. As George Will mentions, radical voices are calling for the USA to start yet another war. This time, the lunatics are gunning for Iran.

Yes, Iran has a nasty government, indeed it's exactly the sort of theocratic nightmare that we would have, ourselves, if certain self–appointed arbiters of public morality had their way. Yes, Iran does sponsor terrorism, probably worldwide. Yes, Iran's pet yap–dog, Hezbollah, is currently trying its best to ignite a general war in the Middle East. Nevertheless, none of that is grounds for insisting upon starting a third land war in some of the most rugged and hostile territory on the planet.

As Mr. Will aptly points out, "…the U.S. military has enough on its plate in the deteriorating wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which both border Iran. …containment, although of uncertain success, did work against Stalin and his successors, and might be preferable to a war against a nation much larger and more formidable than Iraq. …if Bashar Assad's regime does not fall after the Weekly Standard's hoped-for third war, with Iran, does the magazine [Weekly Standard] hope for a fourth?"

I'd say that the neo–Soviets who now call for war with Iran probably do hope for a fourth war, and a fifth, and a sixth—even more. War is an excellent way to distract ordinary Americans, who are pretty patriotic people, from realizing just how much of our Founder–recognized liberties are being stolen from us in the name of "security".

The only ways we could, even in theory, mount a credible assault upon Iran are to either institute a universal military draft, which would guarantee that whomever happened to be in the Oval Office would not be there after the next election, or that his hand–picked successor would never get elected, or to remove all our forces from every other garrison and theater. In other words, we would have to hand Afghanistan back to the Taliban and hand Iraq back to the Ba'ath Party. As things now stand, we are already so badly undermanned in Afghanistan that the Taliban is taking part of it back. Afghanistan wasn't even really a county, and we're losing it back to the Taliban.

Iraq was a compete administrative and military mess, and we are still stuck there without any real pacification. Imagine what Iran will be like, a country with fairly widespread support for an elected (if rigged election) government, a well–trained, and well–equipped army that does not spend most of its time in suppressing its own population, and complete access to all of its cash reserves and the world's oil markets, which it can use to buy all the weapons it wants. Where will we get the manpower?

There comes a time when we need to stand up and tell the idealists and academic politicians to shut their damned mouths an let people who have actually lived in the real world run things for a while.