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17 June 2010

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Walrus

At the risk of raising the Colonels ire, I am reminded that I raised the logical conclusion to the trend Flynn is writing about some time ago.

"
When and if Fascism comes to America it will not be labeled "Made in Germany"; it will not even be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called fascism; it will be called, of course, "Americanism"

The high sounding phrase "the American way" will be used by interest groups, intent on profit, to cover a multitude of sins against the American and Christian tradition, such sins as lawless violence, tear gas and shotguns and denial of civil liberties.

There is an obligation resting on us all to dedicate our minds to the hard task of thinking in terms of Christian objectives and values, so that we may be saved from moral confusion.

For never, probably, has there been a time when there was a more vigorous effort to surround social and international questions with such a fog of distortion and prejudice and hysterical appeal to fear."

Extract from a sermon by Professor Halford E. Luccock of the Divinity School of Yale University at Riverside Church, quoted in the New York Times Sept 12 1938.

Can America not see where this behaviour is leading it yet again? Will common sense and Christian values always prevail?

A Petreaus/Palin Republican ticket in 2012 looks unbeatable.

What happens after that is predictable and unpleasant.

Patrick Lang

walrus

My "ire?" I have said the same thing before. pl

jonst

I think it is lost Col. There is no one, nor, at the moment, repeat, at the moment, any entity in DC that can appear to take on the Pentagon. The flag waving makes the weak minded drunk with cheap patriotism. And the money waving makes the shrewd lose their perspective (let's forget about their alleged sense of decency) and do things that in the long run are against even their interests, to say nothing of the tottering Republic. This is a very dangerous period. Obama is big trouble. Trouble he mostly put himself into. He is weak. And he is ambitious. And craves acceptance.

Lysander

"A Petreaus/Palin Republican ticket in 2012 looks unbeatable."

While I worry about rising militarism and jingoism as much as the next guy, my guess is that such a ticket will go down in flames. My guess is that by 2012 few will want to be reminded of Iraq/Afghanistan.

The problem is that Obama/Biden can be every bit the "war president" as petreaus/palin. Or anyone else for that matter.

J

Colonel,

Think-tanks are a necrosis upon the thinking matter of D.C., and a gangrene to our U.S. national sovereignty and soul.

Think-tanks need to be outlawed, and sent packing to the shards of Hades.

JohnH

Policy has been replaced by the ambitions of powerful interests. All that matters is the prosperity of defense contractors, supported by their legions of "retired" military officers, Christianists, think tanks, lobbyists, suppliers, and talking heads and hired pens.

National interest and supporting strategies and policies RIP.

Castellio

You both have said the same thing before. But, of course, the Petreaus/Palin ticket would be received as Christian values personified, not so? How you going to counter that?

clifford kiracofe

Good article, well written.

In my book Dark Crusade (London: Tauris, 2009) I do get into the matter of think tanks like CSP and JINSA, the Neocons, their link to the Christian Fundis, and the takeover of the Republican Party foreign policy by them.

On the think tanks, from an analytical perspective, one simply looks at the Board of Directors, the Officers, the financing, the staff and the "experts" present. It is fairly straightforward analysis if you know what you are looking at and how things work.

My understanding is that Petreaus is of Dutch ancestry. Would anyone know with which particular Dutch church (if that is the case) his family and he have been associated with? If he is so associated, it could be revealing.

In my book Dark Crusade I get into the extreme right Dutch church of the 19th century in the Netherlands and in the US and its influence in the US and on the modern day fundis, the issue of Dominionism and so on. It is technical but important.

clifford kiracofe

On Palin, I think she has just visited or will visit Margaret Thatcher in the UK.

Deatils on the contacts she makes with various persons and organizations would be "of interest."

Politically, we might posit a Reagan-Thatcher revival in a Palin-Thatcher thing...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/14/sarah-palin-margaret-that_n_611561.html

Anglo-Zionists hard at work???

Fred

Wow, two comments on an unbeatable "Petreaus/Palin Republican ticket in 2012 , one positing it as “Christian values personified, not so?” Not quite. What is Petreaus going to promise? To 'win' the war in Afghanistan and cut spending to eliminate the debt (both right wing talking points)? He'll do that with Palin and all her baggage? Gingrich might not be able to beat Palin but he'll sure trounce the General, I don’t see him staying in the shadows this time out.

Speaking of Christian values personified, plenty of Christians voted for Obama that had previously voted for Bush. Plenty of Christians who didn't vote for Bush either time voted for Obama, too. I also believe plenty of Christians are tired of being played by professional politicians, (just as some ‘tea baggers’ are getting tired of the $12 million book deal ex-governor.).

Just check the website of the Presidential Prayer Team. Aren’t they praying for President Obama like they did for President Bush, or are they just putting a seal of approval on some talking points? And speaking of generals, the PPT can’t seem to understand that we haven’t had a 5 star general since Omar Bradley passed away. (I can’t imagine him getting used like some, or putting up with some of the incompetence that has gone on this past decade.)
http://www.presidentialprayerteam.com/armedforces
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omar_Bradley

Bradley is known for saying, "Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than about peace, more about killing than we know about living."[11] That about sums up D.C.

steve

Lysander--

I agree with you about Obama's capability of being every bit the "war president" as Petraeus/Palin.

In fact, I think an administration such as Obama's is in some ways as insidious as a Palin administration could be in the sense that Obama is far more cleverly packaged and marketed--yet it all seems to be to the same end.

Jackie

I never thought I'd type the words "poor Margaret Thatcher", but she has Alzheimers and doesn't need to be used as a photo prop for that woman from Alaska. If fact, if Thatcher was all there, I'm sure she would have something interesting to say about this. (Snark alert: maybe Reagan shared his disease with her). Sorry, that was mean.

Adam L. Silverman

Sir,

There seems to be some overlap with some of the discussion in the previous posts and comments thread - both the McChrystal post and the Cordesman one. The people that both you and Mr. Flynn are referring to here are essentially the selectively chosen and promoted subject matter experts that no matter how wrong never seem to go away.

When I was deployed in Iraq the Kagans and General Keane came through a part of our OE for a quick tour. It was a comparatively stable and secure area. I found out about it a couple of days after the event when reading the battalion commander's weekly summary. This coincided with the WSJ op-ed that the three authored about how Iraq was well on its way to becoming a peaceful, successful democracy and how the Surge was working and showing real benefits all because of what they had observed at their visit. I forwarded the op-ed to the battalion commander and his XO, who were both amused to see what their guests had written. Certainly their portion of the OE was largely stable, but to use it as an indicator for all of Iraq was a bit much. The XO then asked me what I knew of the Kagans. So I informed him that Dr. Mr. Kagan is the AEI Freedom scholar and their expert on Iraq and Iraq, though by training he's a historian, specializing, if I recall correctly the Soviet Union, Russia, and the Cold War (I've seen reporting indicating that these were the subjects that he taught on at West Point, as well as the history of military art). I explained that Dr. Mrs Kagan runs the Institute for the Study of War, which is a neo-Conservative oriented organization that promotes the use of the military to solve any and all of America's problems. I also informed him that while I was completing my pre-deployment training I found the Operation Iraqi Freedom 2008 Order of Battle into and out of Iraq posted on the Institute's website, which was an operational security breach. It had been posted by an intern who was identified as an ROTC cadet. I turned this into the security officer we dealt with, but don't know if anything came of it.

Similarly I caught the Long War Journal, which appears to be tied to Frank Gaffney and Cliff May's Foundation for the Defense of Democracy, and a similar outfit to the Institute for the Study of War, also posting classified information. About 1/2 way through my tour in Iraq I was looking for something using an open source search on the unclassified side. One of the links that came up was to a Long War Journal piece that had a jpeg image of a strip map of Baghdad, which I recognized. I recognized it because I had seen it a couple of weeks before while catching up on the intelligence summaries - it was a hand drawn map, made by an intel source, of anti-Iraqi forces infil and exfil routes for Baghdad! And off again I went to the security officer - this time my BCT's, who took it so seriously he got mad at me for forwarding him the link to the article from my unclassified email, because the article was on the unclassified side!

Unfortunately, and ultimately, I don't think any of this made any difference. None of these folks seem to have been stopped from having access or getting war zone junkets or cheerleading. Its all well and good to have real forums and discussions that deal with these topics, like the one we participated in at NYU last year and that happen here all the time. Its quite another thing to do one sided presentations that are basically marketing and sales.

The real question I have for those who were very supportive of the surge like efforts in Afghanistan, but have begun to argue that they won't work for a variety of reasons and who advised on those decision making processes, is: when you all were on the advisory committee helping GEN McChrystal develop his courses of actions and ways ahead did you tell him this or are you now preparing the ground to throw him under the bus to protect your own reputations and your brand(s) such as COIN, irregular warfare, etc? I have no problem with outside experts being consulted, either formally or informally (full disclosure: I've done some informal/unpaid advising for some folks in both Iraq and Afghanistan as follow ups to work I did for them when I was working with HTS), but the person providing the advise and expertise has special responsibility to tell those consulting him what they need to know; not what they want to know or what they want to hear. The unfortunate reality is that many of these experts and consultants seem to tell those they're interacting with what they want to hear in order to preserve future access, which is, of course, the profitable way of doing things.

Adam L. Silverman

Professor Kiracofe:

My understanding is that former Governor Palin actually initiated the contact and requested the meeting, which is not exactly how she billed it. Apparently several commentators in both the US and UK are not very amused by this attempt to co-opt PM Thatcher, especially as she is no longer in the most lucid of conditions much of the time and this meeting is perceived as an attempt to take advantage of a sick old lady...

Here's some links, which I originally found by clicking around and then through Andrew Sullivan's blog (so he gets the hat tip). Also, I think at least one of these, the last one, has taken some revisionist liberties with PM Thatcher's rise to prominence that really doesn't line up with what I learned when I lived in the UK, which was just as her tenure as PM was coming to a close:
http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/06/palins-next-prop.html
http://opinion.latimes.com/opinionla/2010/06/thatcher-and-palin-out-of-frame-out-of-bounds.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1286223/Sarah-Palin-lines-UK-trip--visit-Lady-Thatcher--looking-buoyant-recently.html
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/jun/15/sarah-palin-meets-margaret-thatcher

Grimgrin

Thatcher reminds me of Reagan in the way that their period in office is likely to be described completely differently depending on the political leanings and views of the speaker. My aunt describes her as the best PM in English history. Other people I've met from the UK describe her with an opprobrium usually reserved for serial child molesters and war criminals.

Jackie: Far meaner things have been said about Thatcher, and will be said about her for a long time after she's dead and buried.

Roy G

Mr. Silverman, thank you for your first-person reportage in re the Kagans and the neocon think tank apparatus.

The Kagan family, father, sons and Dr. Mrs., are a collective piece of work. Despite all their academic and intellectual 'fruit salad,' has there ever been a family so myopically wrongheaded about contemporary history and foreign affairs?

I'm not sure how seriously the neocons are taken these days within the decision-making structure, however, their propaganda structure continues to prop them up to the public as experts, despite a horrific track record--with disastrous results for the US as a whole.

To paraphrase the right-wing snuff queen, 'How's that 'New American Century' thingie workin' out for ya?'

Castellio

Anonymous is refering, I believe, to Kiracofe's request for a NIE on Israel. It was a good post, covered a lot of territory very efficiently.

Anonymous is using terms and presenting an argument that I associate with the website http://eaazi.blogspot.com/ I'm curious why the posts at that website seemed to have stopped... perhaps anonymous knows?

Fred: if a broad based and roughly liberal (non right wing evangelical) Christianity is going to "wake up", it will take some kind of leadership. Many thought that Obama was that force... but no longer. Where will that leadership come from... who is sowing the seeds? What might it look like? I am not cynical or trying to catch you out... I am sincerely interested.

clifford kiracofe

Anonymous,

Thanks for your comment. Well the dissident intelligentsia didn't do so well in Russia, for example. Perhaps President Palin will create a Gulag in Alaska.

Adam Silverman,
Thanks for your comment and data. Good indicator of the cynicism of Palin's handlers and herself. I did not know Ms. Thatcher has Alzheimer's. I am sorry to hear this as my mother had that condition and I know what it does. Palin and her handlers are truly evil.

Carl O.

Dear Col. Lang,

It is not correct to say that John Nagl left the Army to start his own think tank. CNAS was started by Michelle Flournoy in 2007. She sponsored Nagl's work while he was still in the Army, and then he joined CNAS when he left the Army. When Flournoy went to the Pentagon, Nagl became president of CNAS.

James Joyner

Actually, Nagl was still in the Army when CNAS was founded, by Kurt Campbell and Michele Flournoy in February 2007. When they both got appointments in the administration -- the point of establishing CNAS -- Nagl, who had joined the organization in July 2008, took over as president.

William R. Cumming

First follow the money as to think tank thinking! Second, the biggest problem in US foreign policy and foreign relations is the starvation of the State Department and civil agencies (INTEL?) with respect to supporting foreign policy and foreign relationships without relying first on military solutions. Luckily for the military/industrial/acacademic complex it was able to convince American that 9/11/01 was a unique and defining event even though the first attack on WTC was in 1993 and domestic terrorism was a huge issue for Governors in the 70s. Proof is that the NGA [National Governors Association] produced a study of domestic terrorism which in part led to the formation of FEMA.

William R. Cumming

For a chronology of FEMA's involvement with domestic terrorism see the following URL:

http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/dhs/fema/chron.pdf

Fred

Speaking of neocons, looks like someone's running from potential federal indictments:

http://www.thenation.com/blog/blackwaters-erik-prince-moving-united-arab-emirates

Jackie,

Former President Reagan did develop Alzheimer's. It is one reason his wife Nancy decided to support stem cell research. My father developed the same disease. I would not wish it on anyone, though I think the caretakers tend to suffer the most.
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/05/10/health/main616473.shtml

Patrick Lang

Joyner, Carl O et al

You caught me. You caught the "tater." pl

Anthony

Pat, Michael Rubin is on to you! lol

http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=NmI4ODIxYTYzZDEwZDE0NjdkNmFiODZjNWEwMzJiN2E=

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